Finding the Perfect Home: Why A Retired Couple Relocated to Fishkill
Baby boomers on the move, Charlie and Lynne Raver, find the perfect townhouse right under their noses
Baby Boomers On The Move: Fishkill residents Lynne and Charlie Raver lived for 36 years in the Beacon Hills neighborhood and were ready for a change — but not too big a change. The retired baby boomers, who had previously worked at IBM East Fishkill, started looking around the area — with surprising results.
Where They’re Coming From: The couple built their three-bedroom, two full-bath, 1,796-square-foot home on three-quarters of an acre in 1978. In recent years, they added central air, updated the baths with ceramic tile floors, added custom molding, and redid the kitchen with stainless steel appliances for their own comfort, but also with an eye ahead to a future sale. Other features include a lower level with a Vermont Casting wood stove, a back deck, and a private wooded yard.
What They’re Looking For: Any place with less maintenance and a different setting, for change’s sake. “We’ve always been looking around,” says Lynne. “But it had to be a special place.” At one point, they’d considered going south — maybe to Florida or the Carolinas — but decided to stay in this area for the sake of family. Moving to another freestanding house was a possibility, but after medical issues made it clear that Charlie shouldn’t take on a full house workload, the focus shifted to a more maintenance-free townhome.
A Surprising Sale: In early January, on Minogue’s advice, the couple put their home on the market. “She was very encouraging,” recalls Charlie. “She had a professional take photographs. In the first week we had an offer, and we came to an agreement pretty quickly.” The couple was amazed — especially when the buyer turned out to be a couple from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Realtor’s Take: In The Winter, Let It Show! “I have many sellers say, ‘I’m just going to take it off the market for January and February and put it back in April.’ But I tell them not to do that. You have less competition in the winter months, and you have serious buyers — people aren’t trudging around in the snow if they’re not serious. I can think of three homes that had dramatic upswings in activity in winter, and two of the owners wanted to take them off the market. Remember: You only need that one buyer.”
What They Got: Even before their house sold, the Ravers had put in an offer in late November on an end unit townhome with river views in the town of Fishkill. “The owner had lowered her price a few times,” says Charlie. By early December their offer had been accepted. Located less than 15 minutes from their previous house, the unit is nestled in a small neighborhood of 24 single-family residences. It had all the perks they were looking for: a first floor master bedroom/master bath, tiled seamless shower and Jacuzzi, open floor plan, family room with gas fireplace, cathedral ceilings, and a security system. At 2,400 square feet, it is actually larger than their previous home.
Realtor’s Take: Trends In Townhomes: “In this case, I feel the extra space is accidental. Most retirees do downsize when they move,” says Minogue. “This townhome is rare because it has a master bedroom on the first floor. Those are in limited supply. Also, it is in a small community and not urban.”
Realtor’s Take: Townhome vs. Condo: When you have to choose between a townhome and a condo, the terminology can be a little confusing, says Minogue. “There are condos that are townhouse style, which means you’re up and down, no one’s above you.” A true townhouse, which the Ravers bought, is “fee simple.” “When you go for financing, you’re not going for condo financing but for single-home financing. These are single homes, even though they’re attached. You’re responsible for your whole unit, inside and out. In a condo, you’re only responsible for the walls in — the roof, the deck, the yard are all taken care of.”
For this reason, the Home Owners Association (HOA) fee is typically higher in a condo. For instance, the HOA fee for the Ravers’ townhome is $160 a month, compared to $350-$450 for condos. Townhome owners often hire their own services for shoveling, raking, and mowing, as is the case with the Ravers’ new digs.