Moving from the city to the suburbs can be a nerve-racking experience. Especially when you are trying to decide on important factors such as establishing a long term community or choosing a school district for your kids. We sat down with Jean to discuss her recent move from NYC to Darien and everything that it entailed.
DISCUSSION TOPIC: HER SUBURBAN HOME BUYING JOURNEY
Jean and her family always considered the NYC suburbs to be a place they transition to once ready. But like many others, her suburban experience was expedited due to the pandemic. Here's what she has to share about her suburban home buying journey:
Our journey was extremely quick and somewhat seamless.
During the early stages of the pandemic, we decided to take refuge outside the city in monthly Airbnbs. One month, we decided to give Westchester a try as my husband had always considered it to be a place we would move once we were ready to move to the 'burbs. I had never spent meaningful time in Westchester so it was a good opportunity to give the area a trial run.
I jokingly share that we "went to Darien once, bought a house" but it's honestly the truth. After one lunch in town, we decided to return for a day of house-peeping with no actual intention of making the big move. We saw 6 homes on a Thursday, and ended up putting in a bid on the 5th home we had seen by Sunday.
Come Monday afternoon, our bid had been accepted and contracts were signed by the end of that same week. Our realtor helped to connect us to people that were able to expedite mortgage pre-approvals, inspections, lawyers, etc. Because of the nature of the market at the time, we did not have much negotiation power but sometimes the stars just align and we have no regrets about our decision!
DISCUSSION TOPIC: CHOOSING A TOWN
Exploring towns in person it the best way to learn about an area. Jean and her family took full advantage of this opportunity while they were renting and found their ideal neighborhood in the process.
Its beautiful beaches, waterfront restaurants, charming main streets, and family-friendly neighborhoods with beautiful homes.
Darien was the only town we considered as we were looking for an excellent public school system, coastal location, and close-ish proximity to the city with a direct train line. We happen to be within walking distance to the Noroton Heights train station, which is only 2 stops from Grand Central so the commute could truly not be any easier!
DISCUSSION TOPIC: ADJUSTING TO SUBURBAN LIFE
Leaving the city can be a scary thought as the suburbs feels like a completely different lifestyle. Jean discusses her fears, what surprised her most, and how she is adjusting.
In the warmer months it's hard for me to believe that daily walks along the beach or sandy sunsets with a drink in hand are my reality. My toddler has access to incredible educational resources - from a nature center's outdoor campfire where she met a snowy owl and made s'mores, to taking weekly art lessons in a museum; and tons of daytrips to quaint New England towns with fantastic restaurants; incredible beaches; family-friendly nature trails and hikes; and loads of museums, galleries, and historical homes (I highly recommend getting your hands on a CT Art Trail pass!). I also thought I would quickly lose touch with the city, but being less than an hour drive away means we take advantage of NYC almost weekly! I truly feel like I have landed in the best of both worlds.
My biggest fear was lack of a social network, slowly losing touch with city friends and culture, and "boredom."
I am still struggling with a lack of social network, especially given we moved during a pandemic when people are hesitant to introduce people into their "bubbles." Darien is known to have an extremely robust "newcomers" outreach so I am confident that once vaccines are more widely available and infection rates decline, it will be much easier to feel a part of the "community." I have also had to adjust to "darkness" once the sun sets - we took the street lights, busy storefronts and restaurants, and unending pedestrian movement in the city for granted. Don't expect to take many evening walks or strolls around town in the winter evenings!
You can shape your own your suburban experience - if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and really firmly clamp down onto suburban life...you can do it! If you want to hold onto your New York edge...you can do it! If you WANT to have your cake and eat it too...YOU CAN DO IT!! <3
Jean recently relocated from Manhattan to Darien, CT with her 15‑month‑old toddler. She loves to live life to the fullest and tries to take full advantage of Connecticut‑living ‑ from coastal beach walks to art museums to wineries to delicious CT‑style pizza, she’s always trying to recreate city‑living in the beautiful 'burbs.