We’re excited to feature Dianne and Alex’s story as Happy Homeowners this month. This family spent months searching for exactly the right town to fall in love with. Now, they look back and share their experience and tips for future Houlihan Lawrence homeowners.
How did you know Rye was where you wanted to live?
Before we were ready to buy, we spent months and months researching different towns and neighborhoods all across Westchester, New Jersey and Connecticut. After visiting Rye a number of times, we fell in love with all it had to offer – a beautiful idyllic town by the water with white picket fences, small-town community feel and great schools. All this was coupled with the amenities and sophistication of a bigger city’s restaurants, bars, shops and recreational activities.
Plus, with so many children’s activities, and entertainment for adults as well, and a short commute to Manhattan by train (only 35-45 minutes) I couldn’t imagine a better place to raise a family.
What is your favorite feature of your new home?
My favorite feature is the backyard as it provides space to “breathe” and relax, but with two little girls, I think the most important feature of the house is the finished basement. This was a must during our house search, as our Manhattan apartment was overrun with children’s toys and strollers. The basement has allowed us to keep all their toys downstairs, and keep a more serene, adult environment on the main floors. Still, at times we push aside the kids’ toys and have movie night while sitting on beanbags – enjoying a more relaxed environment than our “formal” living room.
If you could give one piece of advice to other prospective homeowners, what would it be?
We purchased our home in the Spring of 2013, in what was an extremely competitive market for buyers. We were getting caught up in all the hot “auctions” immediately as a house hit the market, and convinced ourselves the home was great for us and that we needed to “win”. While we recognize buying a first home requires some compromises, several of the homes that we bid lacked the “must-haves” we truly needed. We had convinced ourselves we could do without, as we got caught up in the auction.
Thankfully, we lost those auctions, forcing us to step back and re-assess what we were looking for. That was when we came across a house that we had seen months before but dismissed for various reasons. Working with our fantastic agent, we were able to get to a fair price that worked for all parties. We could not be happier that we lost the earlier auctions, stuck to our criteria, and found the perfect house for us.
What was the most memorable part of your home search process?
The most memorable part of the home search was when we walked into our house ready to bid and realized this was the house for us. That was a very exciting feeling, only eclipsed by the feeling of walking into the house for the first time after closing and realizing this was now our home.
Do you have any additional tips for future Houlihan Lawrence homeowners?
Do your homework well in advance on what you want, where you want it, and for how much, and then take your time to find it! We were nervous about leaving the city for the suburbs, but now could not imagine living anywhere else!
Dianne and Alex were aided in their home search by Houlihan Lawrence agent Kaitlan Cantwell.