December 10, 2010

Easy living in maintenance-free association

For many first-time homebuyers, the idea of caring for an entire home and a large yard can be overwhelming.

One solution is to consider purchasing a condominium for maintenance-free living. Residents take care of the interior of the home, but for a low monthly fee, the condominium association handles all exterior maintenance. Many condominium communities offer other amenities, like a tennis court and pool for the residents to use.

It was this maintenance-free lifestyle that attracted Russell and Rachel de Luca to 703 Williamsburg Ridge. The couple met while students at Pelham High School, and purchased their townhouse from Rachel's mother five years ago.

"Everyone came up here a few years ago because it was more affordable than Westchester," said Russell, whose parents live in Pound Ridge. "We had visited my mother-in-law here many times, and knew it was a nice neighborhood." Moving north was not without some changes for the couple, though. "We were used to having everything very close together in southern Westchester, and at first it was very different up here. Now, though, I like having the extra privacy."

The two bedroom townhouse has been thoughtfully kept and tastefully updated over the years. It is also the only unit in the complex to have wide-plank flooring, which was installed upstairs and downstairs before the de Luca family arrived. Russell said the unique flooring has been a big hit with guests, who think it makes the home cozier and more country-styled. The second level of the house features a master bedroom suite with a full bathroom, and a second bedroom and hall bathroom. The two-bedroom set up is the perfect size for a new family.

Downstairs, the home opens up with a slate foyer that complements the beautiful wood flooring. The eat-in kitchen has a cutaway to allow for conversation between the kitchen and the dining area. This cutaway also allows a busy parent to watch children playing in the adjacent living room while cooking. This living room opens up with a sliding door to the deck, where a view of forest awaits. A finished basement features a laundry room and full-bath, and opens onto the backyard, which, thanks to the condominium association, never needs mowing.

"Not having to do any work outside is definitely my favorite part of the house," Russell said. "They're so good about keeping the lot and walkways free of snow, and maintaining the gardens. We've added some plants and flowers to customize, but they're always doing lots of new things outside and it looks great."

Williamsburg Ridge is centrally located near a variety of shops and the highway. It also features tennis courts and a community pool, something the de Luca family began using more when they had their son, Aniello, two years ago. The community is very family-friendly, and children often play outside together. The adults often become friends as well, and Russell said he and his wife have become close with another couple a few houses away.

Though the de Lucas have enjoyed their time at Williamsburg Ridge, they are planning to expand their family and want to purchase a small house in Somers to fit their growing needs. As a result, this wonderful townhouse is available again for an owner who wants a stylish home without the hassle of outdoor maintenance. With so many amenities and freedom from yard work, real estate agent Maria Makaj says this house is "perfect for the first time homebuyer."


• List Price: $319,703 ($375 monthly fee)

• Year Built: 1986

• Townhouse

• School District: Mahopac

• 2 Bedrooms

• 3.5 Bathrooms

• Square Footage: 2,014

• Lot Size: 0.04 acres

• No outdoor maintenance

• Wide-plank hardwood flooring

• Central air

• Finished walkout basement

• Main floor deck


Maria Makaj of Houlihan Lawrence




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