Buying & Selling Rye: Meet Broker Cathy Garr
Your Name: Catherine Garr
Your real estate firm: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New York Properties
MyRye.com: Describe yourself in one word.
How many years have you worked as a real estate broker?
What did you do before becoming a real estate broker?
Garr: Prior to becoming a Realtor, I worked as an analyst and business writer in the construction machinery industry. Previous to that, I spent ten years working in the publishing field in New York City, where I worked for Macmillan Publishing, Esquire Magazine and Inside Sports Magazine. Most recently, I’ve accepted the additional responsibility of co-managing the Rye office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New York Properties which is located at 2 Elm Place.
Where did you grow up?
Garr: I grew up in a large family in the Seminary Heights neighborhood of Yonkers, New York, where my parents owned and operated a successful real estate and insurance business for 35 years. With parents in the real estate business, the value of home was instilled in me at an early age.
Where do you live now?
Garr: I’m a Rye resident and my husband and I live in a wonderful neighborhood near Playland Parkway, which we love due to its walkability to both the beach and town. My husband Dino is a retired social studies teacher for Rye Schools and is widely known for his long-standing career and successful record as the coach of Rye Varsity Football.
A family of five – two parents and three kids all under ten years old – is looking to move to Rye … What are three of the top reasons families are attracted to Rye over other communities in Westchester or Fairfield?
Garr: Rye offers a unique combination of attributes that appeal to parents of young children, most importantly a highly ranked school system.
Rye also has a wide variety of outdoor attractions including Rye Playland amusement park with its boardwalk and beach, Rye Town Park, Rye Nature Center, Edith Read Sanctuary and a 147-acre native wildlife sanctuary known as the Marshlands Conservancy.
Being less than six square miles in land area, Rye is a highly walkable town, and this contributes to its small-town feeling and sense of community despite being just a 30-minute train ride to New York City.
When a family is considering Rye, what other communities are typically in the consideration set?
Garr: Families searching for a home in Rye will often consider neighboring towns such as Harrison, Mamaroneck and Larchmont for similar reasons. Scarsdale is another popular choice for those looking in the lower to mid-Westchester area.
What should a family be prepared to spend for a single family home in the City of Rye?
Demand for homes in Rye has traditionally been strong, but the shutdown of schools and businesses in early 2020 brought a rush of urban residents looking for more open-space living environments. That pandemic-driven surge has subsided but housing demand is still outpacing supply, and Rye’s steadfast popularity has kept its home values very strong. Active listings in Rye currently range from approximately $700,000 to as high as $14 million; however, half of the homes sold in the last 3 months were concentrated in the $1.2 million to $3.5 million price range. Therefore, a family looking to purchase a single-family home in Rye would need to be prepared to spend at least $1 million.
If a family is brand new to Rye, and has one day to discover the community, what should they go see?
Garr: For a family brand new to Rye, I think a visit to Rye Town Park is a great place to begin, as it’s the center point for also seeing the adjacent attractions of Playland amusement park, the boardwalk, beaches and Edith Read Sanctuary.
I think it’s especially unique and wonderful to have a small town with so many outdoor attractions concentrated in one area. Another huge favorite for families who love nature is the Marshlands Conservancy for its beautiful and diverse hiking trails that traverse multiple wildlife habitats. Rye’s downtown area, commonly referred to as Purchase Street, has tons of shops and restaurants as well as a charming public Library that frames the town’s lovely Village Green with a gazebo.
Twenty years later, that same family of five – two parents and the three kids who are now out of the house – is considering its next move … What advice do you have for Rye homeowners considering downsizing?
Garr: People choose to downsize for a variety of reasons and the timing on this is a personal decision. In any case, it always helps to be knowledgeable about the housing market in your town and to have a good sense of what your home is worth in the current market. Often the choice of location depends on factors such as stage of life, health, finances and the goals people are looking to achieve with the move.
What are three of the best traditions in Rye?
Garr: Rye has quite a few fun traditions for adults and kids to enjoy throughout the year. Some of the most popular annual events are Halloween window painting, where kids in grades K-8 create Halloween masterpieces that are then displayed in merchant windows; the Turkey Run and Paws Walk, a post-Thanksgiving Day event for two and four-legged runners and walkers of all ages; and Mistletoe Magic, a fun and festive holiday event in downtown Rye that takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Other popular events are the annual Summer Sidewalk Sale in July and the Rye Garnets Varsity Football rivalry game against the Harrison Huskies, known as ¨The Game,¨ which is the most highly anticipated and attended game of the football season and always stirs up lots of excitement in the community.
Most of the City of Rye falls into the Rye City School District, but the Greenhaven area is part of the Rye Neck School District. How do you tell your clients to think about the differences between each district?
Garr: The area known as Rye Neck is part of the Village of Mamaroneck and the Town of Rye. Rye Neck has its own school district which serves the part of the Village of Mamaroneck that is within the Town of Rye and part of the City of Rye. Rye Neck’s school district consists of two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school with a combined population of approximately 1,600 students. In contrast, Rye City School District, which has three elementary schools, is about double the size with a combined enrollment of approximately 3,200 students.
What are some of your favorite places you recommend in Rye?
Garr: As for favorite places, Rye has so many to choose from, it would be hard to pick just one! There´s a great variety of restaurants, clothing shops, home furnishing stores, beauty and wellness salons, exercise studios, bakeries, and of course — real estate offices! Given that my office happens to be right next to Longford’s Ice Cream Shop, I can easily recommend them for their delicious ice cream as well as my favorite frozen yogurt flavor, Cappuccino Chip, which they tend to run out of very quickly but hopefully a new shipment will arrive soon!