buying a home

What Are My School Options in Staten Island?


November: a month looked upon fondly as a time spent with family and friends, preparing for the holiday season and giving thanks. However, for parents of school-aged children, November represents one of the busiest months on the school calendar; with parent-teacher conferences, open houses and preparations for school holiday events well underway.

For potential home buyers- those with children or those hoping to start a family in the future- buying a home on Staten Island most likely involves intense research into the different neighborhood schools. As a North Shore Realtor, I understand the importance of exploring your choices. Often times, one of the first questions I am asked is, “what is the zoned school?” Well, the answer is a lot more complex than you might think. Now, Staten Island families have a lot more options when it comes to choosing a school for their children.

If you are looking to buy a home on Staten Island and find yourself considering your school options, you’ll definitely want to read on for information about choosing a school, and for information on some new schools that have just opened on Staten Island’s North Shore.

Looking Outside the Box, or, “Zone”


Gone are the days when a neighborhood school was a “neighborhood school,” where students living within a particular zone attended a particular school. Yes, whenever you buy a home on Staten Island, you are “zoned” for a particular school, but that no longer means that that school is your only option. Parents of students entering ninth grade, sixth grade, and even kindergarten can apply to send their child to any school, regardless of whether or not the child is zoned for that school.

That being said, whether or not a student is accepted into a school or program that they have applied for is based on a variety of different factors. There are admissions priorities, which may include whether or not a student has met a certain academic standard, is zoned for that school, or has a sibling at that school. Many schools admit students based on a lottery. Parents should be aware of the admissions policies when applying for different schools and programs (which are all outlined on the New York City Department of Education website.

And of course, Staten Island’s North Shore is home to many private, parochial and charter schools, all with great academic and extra-curricular programs for their students.

More Options for Families

As a result of being able to apply to any school or different programs within a school, many schools have responded by focusing their courses of study or elective programs on particular themes, such as technology, arts, nursing, entrepreneurship, leadership, and so on. For example, North Shore High Schools such as Port Richmond, Curtis, McKee and Wagner are known for specializing in programs such as Culinary Arts, Nursing, Career/Technical Education, or Theater (respectively). Middle Schools and even elementary schools are also following this trend, drawing in families with specific programs that may not be offered to them at their zoned school.

Having more school options gives working families more flexibility as well. Parents can look outside their neighborhood at schools that may be along their commute to work, or near a relative’s home.

New Schools on Staten Island’s North Shore


There is no doubt that Staten Island’s North Shore is growing, and as a result, there is a need for more schools. This September, Staten Island welcomed two new schools to the borough, Naples Street Elementary (PS 9) and The Harbor View School (PS 59). Both schools are “open-choice” schools, meaning they are non-zoned schools where admission is determined by lottery from applications filed. Each of these schools already has a unique identity, making them appealing options for parents from all the borough.

Naples Street Elementary School has a strong arts program, including dance, music, visual arts and drama, which are integrated into social studies and literacy. In addition, there is a strong focus on health and wellness, with the implementation of a school garden program within the school’s first few years. The Harbor View School utilizes a child-centered, project based approach to learning, where children develop the skills of investigation, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and creativity through hands-on, inquiry based learning experiences.

Be on the look-out for the open-house events these schools will soon be hosting for interested families.

No matter what school you are interested in attending, the most important thing you can do is your research. All of the schools on Staten Island have websites, and for public schools, these websites can be accessed through the Department of Education’s website. Also available on the DOE website are the school report cards and contact information to school personnel if you have further questions. Of course, a great source of information is the parents and students who currently attend the school you’re looking at.

If you are looking to buy a home on Staten Island, now is the perfect time to look at homes on the North Shore. I would love to meet with you to get the process started. In the mean-time, my website is a great resource, full of current and useful information about local schools, North Shore restaurants, Staten Island attractions and happenings, as well as important things to know about the home-buying process. You can also reach me on Facebook or Twitter.

There are two kinds of real estate professionals…those who understand the emotional and financial complexity of selling or buying a home…and those who don’t.

Hope to meet up with you soon!


What Kind of Home Can We Put YOU In?

Ranch Style Home

Ranch Style Home Staten Island NYOne thing you’ll notice when taking a drive around Staten Island’s North Shore are different types of homes available to potential home buyers. Whether you’re looking for an old, historic home, or are more interested in an upscale condominium, Staten Island’s North Shore communities have what you’re looking for.

Although the older homes (Tudor, Colonial and Victorian) certainly appeal to a wide variety of home-buyers, there has been renewed interest in the Ranch style homes over the past few years.  Buyers of all ages and preferences love this type of home, and for good reason. If you’re looking to buy a home on Staten Island, read on to find out if a Ranch style home is the perfect home for you.

An American Heritage Home

Unlike the Victorian Era and Tudor Revival style homes, the ranch style originated right here in the United States. The style first appeared in the 1920’s, and has its roots in the North American Spanish colonial architecture of the American Southwest. These homes featured single-story floor plans, low and simple roofs, interior courtyards and huge front porches, portraying an informal and casual style of living.

The combination of this “American Western” style with more modern architectural approaches led to the creation of the California-style “ranch” home. Becoming increasingly popular with the post-war middle class, the United States experienced a boom in the building of these homes from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. In fact, 9 out of 10 homes built in the 1950’s were of this style.

Ranch style homes are known for their long, close to the ground profiles, simple and open floor-plans, and for their relatively simple interior and exterior décor. Most ranches are single-story, however, a popular variation of the ranch style home is known as the “raised ranch,” where the foundation serves as an additional floor (often called a split-level).

Ranch Home from a Distance - Staten IslandOften featured in well-establish neighborhoods with streets lined with large trees, most ranch homes have a design that is either asymmetrical rectangular, L-shaped or U-shaped. The features of these homes include living areas that are separate from the bedrooms, sliding glass doors that open to a patio, large windows, vaulted ceilings, and an attached garage. Often times, ranch homes have exteriors of stucco, brick, wood and glass.

Not just for the Brady’s anymore

There are many reasons why there has been renewed interest in this type of home over the past few decades. First of all, ranch houses are extremely affordable entry level homes, making it appealing to younger and first-time home buyers. Having a ranch style home myself, I always encourage first-time home buyers to consider a Staten Island ranch as the perfect starter home. Also, the single-story nature of the design has attracted older home buyers who are looking for a home they can easily navigate. On Staten Island, ranches are popular with buyers looking for the convenience of a home with not so many stairs to climb, making it an easy house in which to grow old.

Another advantage is the design in itself. Although relatively simple and open, the design and layout of the ranch style home gives home-owners the endless ability to personalize the home to meet their individual needs and tastes. Ranches give you the opportunity to embellish the simple exterior with accents of beautiful front doors, railings, pavers, and eye-catching landscaping designs.

Flexibility to modify and expand the home is another plus. It is extremely easy to add a second-level extension on the home, and the basement areas in a raised ranch are great places to create an extra living space.

The time period in which these homes were built is also something to consider. Since these homes were built mainly between 1940 and 1970, they contain modern infrastructure (cooling and heating systems, wiring, windows, plumbing, doors, and other systems) that can be easily repaired or upgraded. Endless ability to accommodate home-owner preferences combined with the latest building developments makes the ranch style home appealing to many.

You can find ranch style homes all over Staten Island’s North Shore, nestled in among the old Victorian homes and newer construction. In fact, Westerleigh is known for having beautiful ranch and raised ranch homes among older homes.

No matter what style home you prefer, there are many options available to you if you’re interested in buying a home on Staten Island’s North Shore. Check out some of my listings to see if there is a beautiful ranch on Staten Island for you, and feel free to view my website for information on local attractions and other points of interest. No matter what type of home you are interested in, I would love to connect with you. Contact me at or on Facebook and Twitter. Looking forward to seeing what kind of home we can put you in!

Home Inspections – What Buyers and Sellers Should Know

Home Inspection Staten Island North ShoreHome inspections are an important step as you move forward in a home purchase or sale. At times inspections can be daunting and nerve racking. When purchasing a home bear in mind that a home inspection is a tool and resource you use in determining if a particular home is for you. How can the seller prepare for a home inspection? Prior to the inspection, give your home the once over.

An experienced real estate agent can give your home a good look – over, a Realtor may not have the expertise of an inspector …but have been through enough sales negotiations to spot any red flags. Whether you are looking to sell your Staten Island home or are looking to buy a home on Staten Island, as your Realtor on Staten Island’s North Shore I have provided you with some pertinent things you should know about home inspections.

The Role of Your Realtor

Besides the home inspector themselves, a quality Realtor is a great asset when going through the home inspection process.  As a Realtor living on Staten Island’s North Shore, with many years of experience, I understand the importance of being present during the inspection, whether I am representing the buyer or the seller. Being present at the home inspection is crucial for effectively completing negotiations.

On the other hand, if you are thinking about selling your Staten Island home, make sure your Realtor makes a point to be at the inspection as well.  In my experience, being present to hear exactly what the home inspector says about the property allows me to communicate with the seller any legitimate needs that need to be addressed, and gives me full knowledge of potential issues when negotiating with buyers.

Getting the best inspector

Many buyers looking to live on Staten Island’s North Shore take the recommendations of their real estate agent when choosing an inspector, but it certainly pays to do your research when finding one.  Personally, I usually recommend three or four inspectors, and let my clients decide which one they want.  Whether you choose your agent’s recommendation or find your own, there are a few things you should check up on before hiring a home inspector:

During the Inspection

Inspection of a Home on Staten IslandDuring a home inspection, the inspector will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical and many other aspects of the building. Home inspections vary, one and a half to three hours to complete a full inspection. Many inspectors will look for signs of problems such as water damage, termites, mold or structural problems.

An inspector will also be looking for improper building practices, items that require extensive repairs, things that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues.  A home inspection is meant to describe the general condition of the home at the time, not to guarantee the future condition of the home, or the efficiency or life expectancy of the systems in the home.  Not all problems may be discovered during a home inspection either.

So, now what?

After the home inspection has taken place, the inspector prepares and gives to the buyer a written report of their findings.  The buyer uses this knowledge to make decisions about their future purchase. Very rarely does a home inspection break a deal, since there are very few problems that cannot be repaired, and often times problems are minor and are inexpensive for the seller to fix.  An experienced Realtor will assist in this process, being able to counsel their clients on what is appropriate and reasonable.

Since you’re interested, why not check out my latest video on home inspections!  In this clip, Mike Nuzzolo of Home Probe Inspections & Consultations Inc. inspects a local Staten Island home, pointing out some things that are important to look at during a home inspection.

While you are on my website, why not view some homes for sale on Staten Island’s North Shore?  You can also find other important information about the North Shore communities here as well!  Hope to catch up with you soon!

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