Josh Fox and David Kanfer's house looks like a million bucks. More precisely, $1.1 million, the asking price for the Hampton Bays residence that's a second home for Fox, a financial adviser, and Kanfer, a lawyer, from Manhattan.
That figure will buy someone four bedrooms, an office,
3 1/2 baths, an 1,800-square-foot unfinished basement, an outdoor Jacuzzi, a pool, a basketball court and a plot of land just shy of an acre.
For anyone house-hunting, Fox and Kanfer's home answers the question: "What can you get on Long Island for $1 million?" If the neighborhood is Sea Cliff, Islip, East Patchogue or East Williston, the answer may differ.
"You can still get a lot for $1 million, but there have also been houses that I've sold for over a million that really needed updating," says Elaine Flynn, a real estate agent with Eric G. Ramsay Realtors in Bay Shore. "There are many people in Brightwaters with old-fashioned homes that sold for a million or more and people had to redo them. Certainly 10 years ago, you would have gotten a lot more property for $1 million."
Upkeep on those homes calls for a hefty six-figure income, says Peter Elkowitz, chief executive of the Long Island Housing Partnership, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, based in Hauppauge. "With $1 million, you're talking about larger estates. Most people have to put up a very substantial down payment, $250,000 to $500,000," he says. "You really need about a $400,000-a-year salary to afford it."
Also attached to the $1 million price tag is a mansion tax, which calls for the new owners to pay an additional 1 percent of the home's sale price. "People who can afford over a million dollars don't mind paying the mansion tax," Flynn says.
Most of these million-dollar manses are "step-ups," Elkowitz says, the next level from that median-priced home. Much of the down payment usually is from the sale of the buyer's current residence, he says.
At press time, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island's Web site had 914 homes listed for $1million to $1.5 million in Nassau and Suffolk. These five are examples of what a price tag of roughly $1 million can get you.
Islip: 4 bedrooms, complete renovation
John Russell, 46, and his wife, Michelle Polidoro, 45, purchased their Islip Victorian 14 years ago for $265,000. Since then, they've spent about $500,000 more to completely remodel it.
"We renovated every floor, every wall, every ceiling. We did all the wiring. We probably spent $100,000 just on the kitchen," Russell says. "Our plan was never to leave here."
Polidoro, an obstetrician-gynecologist, was hit by the epidemic forcing many doctors to leave Long Island - escalating malpractice insurance rates. So, the couple decided they wanted to move to North Carolina with their three young sons. Their house is now on the market at $999,000.
"I am actually a Realtor, so I think I priced it attractively," Russell says. "Last October, we did a refi and I had an appraisal come in at $1.1 million. Those comparisons are still good, but I wanted to get it in under a million so there wouldn't be a mansion tax."
The 4,000-square-foot renovated home, which is listed with Eric G. Ramsay Realtors, sits on a 1-acre plot, has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a refinished kitchen with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, full basement, a new boiler and oil burner and central air. The annual taxes are $16,400.
"I poured my heart into it. I was the general contractor for the job, so I was involved every step of the way. That gave me an absolute custom job," Russell says. "I was able to say, 'I don't like the way you do that' and had it done my way. I feel like I've created a great house to pass on."
Hampton Bays: 4 bedrooms, built in 2005
Josh Fox and his friend David Kanfer were looking for a summer house in the Hamptons where they could get away from the grind of working, respectively, as a financial adviser and a lawyer - just a place to kick back with a glass of wine on the patio or lounge in the pool.
They're selling the house for $1.1 million, which Fox says was how much it cost them to build it in 2005. "That was at the height of when things were great. Then it was like, 'Hey we're done and let's watch the real estate market plummet,'" Fox, 31, says.
Fox, whose primary residence is in Manhattan, spent two summers at the Hamptons house, which is listed with Prudential Douglas Elliman Realty and has annual taxes of $9,300. His plans for this summer might point toward Miami, provided they can find a buyer for their second home. As a bonus, the furniture is part of the deal.
"The clocks have finally moved ahead, summer's almost here, and people are thinking they've got to do something," he says. " The Hamptons is also becoming more of a year-round community. More people are staying here in December, January and February. Businesses out here are also staying open in the winter months. So there's a huge change where people are using their second home all year-round."
Sea Cliff: 4 bedrooms, Southern-Shaker style
Dominic Candido and a friend designed Candido's two-tiered home from a house pattern they had found. Construction took about a year, but Candido, 50, a psychologist, and his wife, Teresa, 53, a social worker, have called it home for 11 years. Now they're headed for New Hampshire, where he has a position as a college professor. They've just reduced the price from $1.095 million to $995,000.
They'll be saying goodbye to four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, unpainted cedar clapboard, a galvanized aluminum roof, hand-oiled Southern yellow pine floors throughout, custom Marvin windows and doors, a sauna, two wood-burning fire- places, natural Vermont slate throughout, 10-foot ceilings and about 1/4 acre of property.
The house has 800 square feet of wraparound porch on two levels. "I spend most of my summer on that outdoor porch," Dominic Candido says.
Taxes on the home, which is listed with Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, are $12,000 a year. Since January, buyer traffic has been sporadic, he says. "We know we're in that million-dollar range, which does preclude some buyers. But we're hoping there's a unique buyer for the house, someone who will appreciate it."
East Williston: 4 bedrooms, historic touches
Anthony Lucchese, 38, and his wife, Joanna Paolilli, an obstetrician-gynecologist, 32, moved from Manhattan to the suburbs in 2004, when the housing market was at its peak. For $775,000, they purchased this eight-room Colonial built in 1926, the year the Village of East Williston was incorporated.
But New York's rising malpractice insurance rates are forcing the couple to relocate to New Hampshire. The house, listed with DePinto Realty, is on the market for $989,000. Among its features are four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a fireplace, a finished basement, an office, a brick patio and an attic. It sits on a 101-by-131-foot lot.
Lucchese, a compliance officer for a brokerage firm, says they've spent about $150,000 on new windows, wall-to-wall cherry flooring upstairs, central air conditioning, crown molding and mahogany trim around doors and windows, and more. Taxes are $13,000 a year.
Mixed with the new are historic touches such as antique doorknobs and the original wood front door with a stained-glass window that came from Hurley's steak house in Manhattan. "This house has lots of history and charm," Lucchese says.
East Patchogue: 4 bedrooms, custom built
Mike and Peggy Mastrotti own a contracting business, so it's no shock that in 2001 they decided to build a nine-room home of their own. More surprising to Peggy Mastrotti is that seven years later, the house is selling for $1 million.
"I was astounded when the market changed and houses began going for as high as they did," she says. "But I think the house is worth it. It's a peaceful place."
Besides the four bedrooms, the house, which is listed with Coldwell Banker, also has three baths, a formal dining room, oak flooring, a four-seasons room with Italian porcelain, an office, custom hardwood maple cabinets and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, a closed-in brick porch, a bi-level deck and a lagoon-shaped pool with a waterfall. The property is also on a cul-de-sac.
Annual taxes are $14,700.
Since January, the Mastrottis have had several open houses even had a few prospects who never followed through with an offer, but the couple is still optimistic they'll find a buyer.
"The combination of the winter and the tough market has been difficult," Peggy
Mastrotti says. "Perhaps with the holidays past and the weather starting to break, we'll find someone."