Christa's Home Buying Story

My husband works in Queens, so we had been living in Northern Yonkers which offered a friendly commute for him. Our intention was to move to Tarrytown, NY as we had grown to love it over the years and it offered an express train into the city. Once the pandemic hit, we still had the goal of moving but learned that we would have to adapt to the current market’s conditions. There were a few factors that drove our search. We knew we were looking for a home that we would stay in for around 3 years without kids, so the school district was not a driving factor. We also knew we wanted to renovate so we weren’t set on finding something turn-key. My husband began working fully remote so the commute was no longer a concern. Because of these factors, it made sense for us to look in places beyond Tarrytown.


In this market, cash is king. But because we wanted to renovate, we didn't want to put all of our cash into a down payment. So we kept our search broad and focused on the lower end of our budget. Ultimately it was a townhouse in South Salem that was checking off all of our boxes. I visited it myself and submitted an offer within a day.


We had a number in mind that made sense for us on this property and stuck to it in our offer. Having confidence in what was best for our personal situation kept us from second guessing our decision. Ultimately, it was accepted by the sellers. After an eventful two months (no transaction will ever be perfect!) we finally closed in January and began our renovations shortly after.

Christa's Advice

Maintain the goal, adapt the strategy.

Take time to understand your situation and prioritize your wants and needs. This is key in this market. Factors outside of our control caused us to adjust where and when we moved, but we remained focused on our singular goal of finding a home that met our most important needs at this time. Decide whether this is going to be your forever home or a 3-5 year home. Do you need that highly rated school district now (which can come at a higher price) or can you build equity in a different neighborhood now and move to that school district later? 

Find a lender and loan type that is best for your situation.

Your available cash, debt-to-income ratio and employment status will determine your eligibility for certain loans. (Freelancer or self-employed? We have some great information on loan programs coming your way soon!) Reach out to multiple lenders to get the best rate, ask about different programs based on your situation and whether a pre-approval requires a hard or soft credit inquiry. Most sellers won’t even show a home without a pre-approval or proof of funds in this market, so it’s best to start this process sooner rather than later.

Prioritize equity and consider your monthly payments.

While renting may be a good option for many, we both prefer homeownership because of the equity it offers. Even though home prices are increasing, mortgage rates remain historically low which means homeowners can save hundreds on their monthly mortgage payments. Here's what I paid for rent in Brooklyn compared to my mortgage payment (at both my rate of 2.99% and 4% for comparison):

Work with Us

If buying a home is one of your immediate or long term goals of yours, we’re here to chat through some strategies that may be best for your personal situation and timeline. Schedule a call on our calendly link.


Brought to you by
Brittany + Christa


As former city dwellers, we appreciate the qualities that make city lifestyle so unique-- from the convenience of walking to your favorite restaurant or corner store to the vast and diverse cultural and entertainment activities. But we’ve also experienced the challenges and frustrations that might be motivating you to seek change. During our transition from the city to the suburbs, we had the same thoughts, concerns and questions, prompting us to create a better way to navigate the suburban home buying journey for others.

"Wholeheartedly recommend Christa and Brittany! As first time home buyers relocating from the city to the suburbs, we didn't know much about the buying process. Christa and Brittany were wonderful each step of the way. They were incredibly knowledgeable and came up with creative solutions to navigate a tough buyer's market. They listened to our preferences, were always available and responsive, and helped us find just what we were looking for. I can't say enough good things about Steps to Suburbia with the Ursini team!"