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Nancy Bashian Bunin Named Business Development Director

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty today announced the appointment of Nancy Bashian Bunin as director, business development, responsible for leading the firm’s recruiting and retention efforts and growing market share.

“Nancy is a seasoned professional experienced in direct sales and sales management,” said Richard Ellis, owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. “She will tap into her vast experience- notably her eight years with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand- and understanding of an agent’s needs to recruit, retain and train top sales associates. Her diverse background affords her valuable insight into how to help agents build their businesses.  Her efforts will help us maintain and grow our number one market share position in Rockland’s luxury real estate sales over $1 million.”

A 20-year industry veteran, Bunin began her association with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand in 2006 when she joined Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Tenafly, New Jersey, as broker associate and office manager, driving the growth of the start-up office to number one on the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service in 2011.  She served the company until 2014.

Bunin previously served Keller Williams Valley Realty in its Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, office as team leader and chief executive officer. In that role, she oversaw the office’s development and growth.  She also recruited, retained, coached and supervised all associates and staff and opened the brand’s Tenafly office.

Bunin began her real estate career in 1996, obtaining her real estate license followed by her broker’s license. A lifelong resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, she holds a master’s of public administration degree in health policy, planning and administration at New York University’s Graduate School of Public Administration.  She is recognized as a top producer and award-winning professional, earning recognition for her sales and customer service while an agent with several top-tier real estate companies throughout her career.

 

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A View of Rockland County’s Luxury Real Estate Market

HamidWith 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial real estate, Hamid Moghadam has witnessed first-hand how the Rockland and Orange county markets have changed. He earned his masters’ degree in mechanical engineering from the City College of New York and worked for the Metropolitan Transit Authority as a project manager for 12 years before becoming a full-time associate broker with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. Hamid is ranked fifth among Rockland county’s top 25 agents in 2015 with sales over $25 million. In today’s blog, we sit down with Hamid to get his unique perspective on the market.

 

What major changes have you seen in the market over your 30 years in real estate?

Buyers from New York City looking in the $1 million- and-up range are attracted to the river towns like Nyack and Piermont. They are looking for privacy and a more secluded area like those found in the western part of Rockland County.

6 Tompkins Court

6 Tompkins Court, Upper Nyack

Our school system also has improved a lot over the years, and today Rockland has some of the top schools in the United States. Public transportation has grown and developed, and you can be sure the new Tappan Zee Bridge will serve to further solidify Rockland as one of best places to live near New York City.  

What sale have you been most proud of over the course of your career?
Pretty Penney

Pretty Penny Estate

I am proud to have sold the former estate of legendary actress Helen Hayes, known as Pretty Penny, twice. It last sold in 2006 for $5.8 million. The six-bedroom home is one of the best-known properties in the lower Hudson valley, hosting the likes of President Ronald Reagan, actresses Marilyn Monroe and Rosalind Russell, Hollywood power couple Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and composer Cole Porter. Edward Hopper even painted it in 1939.

 

 

Lords Castle

Lord’s Castle

I also sold the most expensive home in Piermont, known as Lord’s Castle, this September for $5.025 million. At 18 acres and 15,000 square feet, the home was built in 1845 for Eleazar Lord, the first president of the Erie Railroad. It has 30 rooms and 15 fireplaces as well as massive stone archways and Beaux-Arts columns.

 

Your wife, Flora, also is a real estate agent. How do you balance two industry professionals in one house?

Flora joined me in the business 15 years ago and is a certified Eco Broker. She is very successful at what she does. I find that we help each other in different ways in the course of day-to-day business. She truly is my right-hand lady and provides tremendous support for my everyday business in addition to handling her own work.

Rumor has it you are an outstanding cook. What are some of the top kitchen amenities out there today?
Chipman

4 Chipman Road, Palisades

For starters, any cook needs to have a kitchen stocked with the proper accessories: Good pots and pans, spices and quality products. You also need space and storage, and top-of-the-line appliances certainly don’t hurt! One of my favorite listings, 4 Chipman Road in Palisades, features the perfect gourmet kitchen for both the professional and at-home chef. The kitchen’s state-of-art design features a farm sink and soapstone counters, which offer a smooth matte feel, are resistant to acid etching and are great for baking.

As any chef will tell you, a proper dining place is essential to presenting the final product. For me, no meal is complete without a nice glass of wine to enjoy with my lovely wife and close friends.

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Tuxedo Park: Life Behind the Gilded Gates

Barbara-du-PontTuxedo Park, New York, a refined and private community less than an hour from New York City, dates back to the 1880s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In this blog, we will go on a virtual tour of the market with Barbara du Pont, a veritable expert on the gated enclave’s real estate sales, trends and historic homes. She is responsible for the two highest sales in Tuxedo Park since 2006.

 

 

What is so compelling about Tuxedo Park that residents often enter the market as secondary residents and then transition to full-time?

Tuxedo Park is simply a magical place. Descriptions and even pictures cannot do it justice. People who come to look at houses are captivated by the beauty of the scenery: the serenity of the three lakes, hills and winding roads, vistas of private gardens and untamed natural surroundings. “The Park” has a rich history and surprisingly diverse inventory of houses, many of them designed by famous architects from the Gilded Age, but also converted stables and carriage houses as well as a sampling of contemporary homes.

Luxury homes for sale in Tuxedo Park

4 Ridge Road, Tuxedo Park, New York

But it is not just about the landscape and homes. Tuxedo Park is a wonderful community to live in. It is small enough that you feel part of a community. You can, as many residents do, get involved in local government and institutions. While the residents are welcoming, they also respect one another’s privacy. Some start out with Tuxedo Park as a weekend and summer retreat and then decide that The Park is really their primary residence, possibly keeping a pied-à-terre in the city or just moving here full time. It is no accident that many residents have moved two, three and even four times within The Park, choosing to upsize, downsize, move for lake views or lake front. But they stay in the community throughout lifecycle changes.

How long have you been serving the market, and how have you seen it change over the years?

I have been a resident for almost 20 years and have been in the real estate business for the last decade. In that time there have been three significant changes, all for the better. First, while the residents span all ages, younger couples have moved here, adding to the vitality of the community. Second, some of the most beautiful historic houses saw a time of neglect over the years, and under new ownership there has been a resurgence of thoughtful, high-quality restorations, which is thrilling to see. Finally – and here is the best news for prospective buyers – prices have come down significantly in the last eight to 10 years, making Tuxedo Park not only affordable, but an outstanding value compared with other markets.

Why is now a good time to invest in Tuxedo Park real estate?

The timing now is really in favor of buyers. While prices in other markets around the New York metro area have already ratcheted up, Tuxedo Park is still a bargain. While sales fell off dramatically during the recession, prices were slower to come down and inventory surged. Now we see sellers cutting prices to record lows in order to move their houses, creating some amazing values for buyers, with a wide range of prices and styles, from small converted stables and carriage houses to large mansions and everything in between.

Take us on a tour of the market through your favorite listings.

18 Summit In a tour of Tuxedo Park, 18 Summit Road is our first stop. Perched on a hill, it offers breathtaking views of Tuxedo Lake. The home itself is exquisitely constructed, with an easy flow and spacious rooms for gracious entertaining.

 

 

57 Look out blogOur next stop is 57 Lookout Road, a striking contemporary built atop the stone foundation of Pierre Lorillard’s 1890 massive stable on a seven-acre, gently sloping hillside. Its winding drive ends at nine-foot stone walls, which are interspersed with graceful arches that enclose the courtyard, affording the ultimate in privacy.

 

 

21 Lookout blogNext is 21 Lookout Road, a beautifully renovated home on two acres, with a tennis court and room to play among majestic trees and gently sloping lawns. The home offers open space and an easy flow.

 

 

 

4 Ridge Road blogPerhaps the best example of historic, classic Tuxedo Park architecture is the next stop on our tour: 4 Ridge Road. Built in 1898 and lovingly preserved and maintained, it offers an air of elegance, from the marble foyer to the original hardwood floors. The ballroom was added in the early 1900s.

 

 

Ice House blogThe last stop on our tour is another great example of historic Tuxedo Park. The Ice House on 2.6 acres at 62 Circuit Road was once part of the legendary Henry S. Poor estate. It is anchored by the original stone ice house, built in 1899 and now a spacious living room.

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Life and Art in Rockland County

Rockland County might be the smallest county by area in New York State outside of the five counties that comprise New York City, but when it comes to art, we are home to some of the finest talent anywhere in the country.

Sean-Scully_Front-Small2I recently was made aware of just how gifted this area is when I had the pleasure of attending an event featuring the renowned artist and Palisades, New York, resident Sean Scully. “Sean Scully in Conversation with Ken Carbone” was held on Oct. 11 as part of the award-winning Palisades People Sunday Symposia series, presented by the Palisades Free Library.

The event was the library’s 27th, and our very own Marjorie Galen helped organize it. Past honorees include author Toni Morrison and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, both Rockland County residents.

It was an honor to see Mr. Scully, one of the world’s leading abstract painters, who I first met when I sold him his home in the area almost three years ago. He is the recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and twice was nominated for the Turner Prize. His work has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Art and the Tate Modern.

Sean Scully

For those who live here, it is no surprise that Mr. Scully and many other notable artists– including Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Henry Varnum Poor and Jasper Cropsey– chose to make a home in Rockland County. Peaceful and bucolic, the county undoubtedly is an inspiration for their work. Thanks to my affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand, art is part of the air my agents and I breathe. While that relationship keeps us connected with the art world on a global basis, we enjoy deepening our connections with our local art community. Here are some of my favorite local organizations dedicated to Rockland County art:

  • The Arts Council of Rockland: This nonprofit institution provides grant opportunities, technical assistance and information to artists and arts organizations.
  • The Edward Hopper House Art Center: Located in Nyack (next door to my office), this is the birthplace of renowned American artist Edward Hopper. Since 1971, the Edward Hopper House has been a nonprofit art center. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • ARTSROCK: This nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide increased access to professional arts and multicultural programs for an underserved, diverse audience, in and around Rockland County.
  • The Art Students League of New York- League Residency at Vyt: Founded in 1875 by artists, the Art Students League of New York has been instrumental in shaping America’s legacy in the fine arts. Many renowned artists have honed their skills at this institution, which is dedicated to sustaining the great tradition of training artists. Today, more than 2,500 students of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, study at the League each month.
  • Rockland Center for the Arts: This multiarts center is dedicated to creating and promoting art through its School for The Arts, exhibitions, workshops, literary and performing-arts events, Summer Arts Day Camp and outreach programs.

 

I encourage you to learn more about these fine organizations, and if you are able, offer your support. To learn more about the arts in Rockland County, click here.

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Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty Event Supports Nyack’s Homeless

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty today announced it raised nearly $5,000 for the Nyack Homeless Project at a recent open house held for the organization.

A main attraction for the Nov. 14 event was the venue itself, The Whitney House in the Snedens Landing community of Palisades, New York, where actress Angelina Jolie spent part of her childhood.

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Eugene Kohn, center, owner of The Whitney House in the Snedens Landing community of Palisades, New York, gives a tour to Jane Pauley and her husband , Garry Trudeau, during a Nov. 14 open house sponsored by Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty that served as a fundraiser for the Nyack Homeless Project.

“We are so proud to be able to make a meaningful donation to such a well-deserving organization that does so much to help our community, especially at this time of year,” said Richard Ellis, the property’s co-listing agent and owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty.  “We believe it is so important to give back to our beautiful community, which gives so much to us.”

More than 40 guests enjoyed a menu prepared by Chef Peter Kelly of Xavier’s at Piermont, New York, and a presentation on mid-century architecture by Nicolai Ouroussoff, former architecture critic for The New York Times.

The evening concluded with a performance by Maestro Eugene Kohn, the home’s owner and renowned conductor, who accompanied acclaimed tenor Nelson Ebo.

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Nelson Ebo, right, sang operatic tributes in Italian, Russian and English, accompanied by Kohn on the piano. The event raised nearly $5,000 for the Nyack Homeless Project.

Donations for the Nyack Homeless Project were collected throughout the evening, and a silent auction contributed to the total raised.

“The Nyack Homeless Project, a grassroots, nonsectarian, nonprofit volunteer organization, this year will directly donate to over 30 organizations, shelters and pantries in Rockland County that will benefit men, women, teens, families, children and infants,” said Litany Burns, the organization’s cofounder and director.

“We thank Rich Ellis and Brandon Wagner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty as well as everyone who attended the open house last weekend for their generous donations on behalf of so many adults lacking winter coats and toiletries, parents in need of food for families, pre-school children and teens without warm hats and gloves, and soup kitchens in short supply,” she said.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath Whitney House currently is listed for $2.049 million through Ellis and co-listing agent Brandon Wagner.  For more information on the Nyack Homeless Project, visit www.nyackhp.org.

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Snedens Landing: Home to Your Future Star

Old-fashioned Americana is alive and well in one of the country’s best-kept secrets: New York’s Snedens Landing. Walking through the small hamlet, you will find a Norman Rockwell painting come to life, with children riding their bikes and families, friends and their dogs going for walks together down to the Hudson River.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

It is in this bucolic slice of life that celebrities, creative types and business people at the top of their field have gravitated, as they look for a place to raise their families. Offering privilege and privacy, the area has just one road in and out and has bred many of today’s stars including Angelina Jolie, whose childhood home is currently for sale through our firm, and Hayden Panettiere, whose home also is available.

129 Washington Spring Road, Snedens Landing

129 Washington Spring Road, Snedens Landing

Many widely known actors of stage and screen also have chosen to raise their children here, including William Hurt, Bill Murray, Lorraine Bracco and many others.

What is so compelling about Snedens Landing? According to a recent article in The New York Times, “…with its outgoing, sometimes eccentric residents, artists and celebrities among them, the quiet would be a welcome change from the busy anonymity of city life.” Many residents live in New York City and utilize their home in Snedens as a respite from the sensory overload of city life.

Indeed, Snedens Landing, part of Palisades, has no mayor nor official legislatives, but it does have its own library and Zip Code and is almost entirely residential. And its residences run the gamut from 18th-century Dutch farmhouses to 19th-century farmhouses, Victorians and estates to 1950s post modern contemporaries and newer style homes.

64 Ludlow Lane, Snedens Landing

64 Ludlow Lane, Snedens Landing

For those interested in the geographical specifics, Snedens Landing is located within the eastern portion of Palisades, between U.S. Route 9W and the Hudson River. It also has a registered historic district along Washington Springs Road and another known as the Closter Road – Oak Tree Road adjoining Snedens Landing in Palisades.

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

For those looking to raise their future star or just want the quiet respite, we have many fine properties currently available, from the $4.8 million property known as Seven Oaks, the oldest estate property in Snedens Landing, and now on the market for the first time in 38 years, to the “Cliff House,” a romantic mid-century home on 2 private acres overlooking the Hudson River for $2,995,000.

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Making a Life and a Career in the Lower Hudson Valley

New York’s lower Hudson Valley is a region known for its views, from the Hudson River’s shorelines to the region’s bucolic parklands. It’s nothing short of inspirational. That’s why more than 30 years ago I chose to build my career helping others find their dream homes in Rockland and Orange counties.

I created this blog, “Hudson Valley Views,” to share my love of this market and the insights my team and I have gathered over the course of three decades. Every month, we will share on our thoughts on house and home, from why real estate is a solid foundation for building wealth to how to best showcase your art collection.

By way of introduction, the lower Hudson Valley covers many charming towns and communities including Nyack, Piermont, Grandview, Palisades, Sneden’s Landing, New City, Tuxedo Park, Warwick, Goshen, Cornwall, Greenwood Lake, Pierson Lakes, Suffern, West Nyack, Blauvelt and Tappan – to name a few. I’d like to take you on a tour of just a few of the areas we serve through some of our most special listings.

Nyack: A Town with a View

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Nyack is a quaint and charming town, with views so lovely, only an artist could do them justice. In fact, at 641 North Broadway, the views are so striking local artist Edward Hopper painted them. Hook Mountain provides the backdrop to this home, situated on one of the largest privately owned parcels on the west bank of the Hudson north of the George Washington Bridge. History also plays a role in this home’s unique appeal: the British came on shore during the Revolutionary War, as documented in a letter to George Washington.

Sneden’s Landing: History and Beauty

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Sneden’s Landing, also known as Palisades, is becoming increasingly popular. Its history dates back to the 1680s, but many modern-day celebrities have called it home, from Bill Murray to Al Pacino and Angelina Jolie. Walking through town, it is easy to understand the appeal. Cliff House, for example, is just 25 minutes to New York City, perched on a hill overlooking the Hudson with a small rocky cove below. The lifestyle here is tranquil. A surrounding park runs 12 miles along the Hudson River.

Tuxedo Park: A Gilded and Gated Community

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Tuxedo Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a refined and private gated community that dates back to the 1880s. Less than an hour from New York City, its residents will tell you it offers respite from daily life. The residence at 4 Ridge Road is perfect example of historic, classic Tuxedo Park architecture, built in 1898 and lovingly preserved and maintained with an air of stately grace. The ballroom, added in the early 1900s, has antique sconces and parquet floors, and echoes back to an elegant time in American history.

My team and I look forward to continuing to share our views of the Hudson Valley in the coming blog articles.

Richard Ellis, Managing Member and Real Estate Broker

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