Lorraine and Joseph Marcone are renting a home in Locust Valley, where they live with their sons, Zak, 13, and Max, 9, and their two dogs, Mary, a beagle-shepherd mix, and Xena, a tea cup Chihuahua. They want to stay on the North Shore, where Lorraine, 48, and Joseph, 51, both grew up, either in eastern Nassau or western Suffolk. But with more than 18,700 properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island’s website alone, the task of choosing the right property to buy seems daunting. “I’m afraid to make the wrong choice,” says Lorraine, a homemaker, who’s been married to Joseph, a statistician, for 26 years. They don’t want to spend more than $550,000; taxes should be less than $15,000, they say. They’d like anything but a fixer-upper or a high-ranch, and they'd like at least three-quarters of an acre. Space for an office as well as an in-ground pool, a fireplace and a large kitchen with a center island are musts. Their non-negotiables? “A lack of privacy, a declining school district, a busy, main road, industrial parks and high taxes,” says Lorraine.
Three Realtors were asked to sort through listings and pick the perfect home for the family: Cori Kaplan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Maria Boccard of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, and Paula Johnson of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates.
1. Kaplan chose this four-bedroom, 2.5-bath ranch at 18 Village Dr. West in Dix Hills. Listed for $599,000, the house is located in the high-ranking Half Hollow Hills school district on .87 acres with a deck. “It has an updated kitchen with a center island, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances,” Kaplan points out, as well as “a fireplace and beautiful hardwood floors.” She acknowledges that the price is higher than what the Marcones want to spend, “but the prices these days are negotiable.”
2. Boccard chose this four- bedroom, 2.5-bath splanch at 3 Butterfield Ct. in Greenlawn. On the market for $529,000, the house is in the well-regarded Harborfields school district on a quiet cul-de-sac, she points out. Although the .47-acre property is smaller than what the Marcones want, it is large enough to accommodate a pool, she says. “The kitchen could use some upgrades, but is of a good size,” she adds. “As the asking price is below what the Marcones are willing to pay, they could likely use the extra funds to make improvements to the home.”
3. Johnson picked this four-bedroom, three-bath ranch at 4 Woodfield Ave. in Northport listed for $649,000 because it’s “close to the beach, a park and parkways.” Also, she says, the taxes at $10,184 are lower than what the Marcones want to spend. Other pluses include the size of the property — three quarters of an acre — and the location on the North Shore — although, she admits, it’s “a bit far east.”
The Marcones like the location of all three houses, but say the Greenlawn property is smaller than they want. Even though the Dix Hills house doesn’t come with a pool and is farther south than they want to be, they say they want to see it — and, with a higher asking price than their budget, are “glad it’s negotiable,” says Lorraine. The Northport house is also out of their price range, but they also want to schedule a showing because it has “mostly what we want.” For them, it’s about the location. “We like the rustic feel and the proximity to the water, and the location is not too far east or west,” Lorraine says, adding, “The North Shore is where we feel most at home.”
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