WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Families who rent homes find value in Westchester County, so Tony Berardi and Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty developed a website last year that helps them cut through the mountain of information to locate what they need.
Berardi, who manages the Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty New Rochelle office, is also the manager of the rental team for all of the Westchester offices. Each office has designated rental agents, each of whom have received training and closed multiple rental deals.
The new Rand website , unveiled last year, has also been helpful for homeowners trying to pin down properties. Search functions allow rental prospects to search by town, price, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms and more. Renters can also immediately connect with a rental specialist.
Prices vary widely, but most renters find value and like the lifestyle in Westchester, especially if they commute to New York City for work.
“The bottom line for renters is you don’t get a better location,’’ Berardi said. “They don’t have to spend $2,000 a month for a 300-square foot studio. We also have the best rail lines. If we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t have that kind of desirability.”
Berardi said White Plains is booming with renters. Three new buildings opened late last year. La Gianna at 10 DeKalb Ave. has 56 units. The Dylan at 42 Waller Ave. has 24 units, and The Reed at 115 North Broadway has 23.
Berardi said New Rochelle, Dobbs Ferry, the Rivertowns, Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown are among the other communities that have seen growth in popularity among renters. “They’re very good for people coming from New York City,’’ Berardi said. “People like New Rochelle because it’s much more aggressive as far as price. The other communities provide that Tribeca feel with the night life and cafes.”
Berardi said the rental market in Westchester is stable and in 2010 there were 4,241 total rentals, and 4,064 last year.
Northern Westchester has not been as hot for renters, most of whom prefer a shorter commute to New York. And while Westchester rentals are not as expensive as New York City, renters should be prepared for the cost.
“Everybody is watching HGTV a little too much,’’ Berardi said. “They’ll come in and say they want granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and wood floors for $1,500 a month, but they won’t find that here.”
Berardi said owners have two concerns. Will the renter pay on time, and will they take care of the property? Most owners do extensive background and credit checks.
Berardi also warns people who may be thinking about renting to do their homework now. “Summer is our peak time,’’ he said. “Rentals follow the purchase market. Last summer, we had a bit of a crisis. There were a lot of people out there looking and the inventory just wasn’t there. They had to settle just to get into something so they had a place to live. Hopefully these new apartments in White Plains will make things a little easier.”
For more information on renting in Westchester County, visit the Rand Realty rental website or contact Berardi at 914-576-1112 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.