How to Find the Perfect House in the Hudson Valley

According to Beacon transplant Maria Hart, the easy part was deciding to move to the Hudson Valley. The hard part for her and her partner was figuring out which of the dozen or so river towns was the right one for them.

 “I read everything I could about these towns, including the “Living In” series published by the New York Times, trying to collection information,” she said. “Ultimately, we narrowed our search to a few towns, including Tarrytown, Beacon, and Wappinger Falls.”

The couple eventually decided to focus their attention on Beacon, where they moved to in 2022. Hart said that focusing on one or two communities was the key to finally finding the “house of our dreams.”

Are you looking for the perfect home in one of the communities along the Hudson Rail Line? Here are a few pieces of advice that will help you zero in on the home that’s right for you.

Pick the right community

With a region that’s known for its string of ravishing riverfront communities, it’s not easy to select just one. After all, many of them have bustling main streets, tree-shaded parks, and walks along the water’s edge. How can you choose?

You’ll want to start off by taking a long look at a town’s housing stock. Are there homes there that are a good fit for you and your family? Are they within your budget? How about when you factor in the property taxes? 

But the housing stock is just one of the variables. What are the schools like? Are there amenities like parks and playgrounds nearby? Once you start comparing one town to the next, you’ll be able to start narrowing down the field.

Next, consider the amenities a town has to offer. Are you a person who prefers to do their shopping downtown? Do you want restaurants around the corner? Is an easy walk to the train station important to you? If commuting is in your future, taking a train ride to the city and back is an absolute must. 

Spend time in the towns that are on your short list. Hang out in the local coffee shop, join the locals at a popular restaurant, or end the evening at a craft brewery. Better yet, spend a whole weekend. There are an enormous number of Airbnb properties in the area, so you can easily get the feel for living here. Ask yourself: Can you see yourself calling this place home?

Prioritize your needs

Next, move onto the house itself. Are you dreaming about a condo that’s a stone’s throw from the waterfront? A stunning Victorian that’s just a block or two off the main drag? A sprawling home on a hillside with views of the river?

Once you start looking around, you are likely to find that your vision of the perfect home isn’t so perfect anymore. You might realize that the condo lacks privacy. The architectural showpiece could require a long list of renovations. The house in the hills might not be walking distance to anything.

Of course, the style of house you want is important. But even more important is whether the house meets your needs and the needs of your family. Begin by making a list of your must-haves, starting with most important and moving onto the less important. Include the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and other features you can’t live without, such as a home office. Need a two-car garage? Put that on the list. A yard where the kids can play? That goes on the list as well.

Next, make a list of your nice-to-haves. This includes things like a deck, a screened-in porch, or a swimming pool. It would be great to have these things when you move in, but you can always add them later. Your nice-to-haves also include things like a stunning view or a double-sized lot. You might find that a house’s other selling points outweigh these.

With these nice-to-haves, it’s a good idea be flexible. You’re probably not going to find a house that has everything on your list. But if it’s the right house, that won’t matter so much in the long run.

Let your agent do the heavy lifting

At this point, you could start scouring the real estate listings for homes that are the right size, the right price, and have everything on your must-have list. But you can save yourself so much time and effort by letting your buyer’s agent do the work.

A buyer’s agent is an expert who can guide you through the entire buying process. Share your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves with your agent. Every bit of information you provide helps them narrow down the search. 

Using their expertise in the region, a buyer’s agent helps you hone your list of needs and wants. They’ll be able to help you understand what you’ll kind of a house you’ll be able to find in your price range.

Once they know your must-haves and nice-to-haves, your agent will identify the homes in the area that fit your criteria. They will set up appointments for you to see these homes in person. They will be there when you view the homes, keeping an eye out for potential problems that you might not notice on your own.

When you find that perfect house, your agent will walk you through the bidding process. They will make sure that all the right paperwork is filed, negotiate any deals on your behalf, and keep all the channels of communication open as the sale moves towards the closing date.

Since you don’t pay for a buyer’s agent — their fee is paid by the seller at the closing — there’s really no downside the having a seller’s agent. The benefit is finding exactly the right home for you. That’s why finding an agent that understands you and your needs is so important.