Yesterday we experienced some sunshine and warmth, which has been rare here in New Fairfield, Connecticut for the past few weeks.
So, we took advantage of the nice weather and spent about an hour cleaning up our yards a bit from the winter storms...picking up sticks and small branches that were scatted across the lawns...removing some rocks that heaved up during the cold...the usual outdoor spring cleaning.
While walking up our driveway, picking up sticks, we started laughing. Our driveway is long and steep, and part of it is shared with the house next door. So, we were laughing about how we ended up with such a driveway...
When we were looking for a new home, we knew what we needed to be happy:
- 5 bedrooms (or perhaps 4 + an office)
- A large family room
- A home in the towns of New Fairfield, Redding or Ridgefield, Connecticut
- More Privacy
We knew what we wanted, but didn't necessarily need. These items would be a bonus if we found them in our new home:
- A new or newer home (got it)
- Large rooms (got it)
- Formal living and dining rooms (got it)
- 3-Car Garage (didn't get it)
We also knew what we in no way would accept in our new home:
- A steep driveway (it snows here, after all)
- A shared driveway (what if we don't like the neighbors we have to share with?)
Guess what? We now live in a beautiful, newly-built, 4 bedroom + office, New Fairfield, CT residence with 7 wooded acres (there's that privacy!), large rooms, formal living and dining rooms. We only have a two-car garage, but we can't really complain about that.
Guess what else we ended up with? A long, long, steep driveway, with guardrails, and a portion of it is shared with the house next door that was built just after ours. So much for our two must-not-haves.
But, we make the best of it. The long, steep driveway is the reason our lot is so private. As it turned out, privacy was more important than the driveway issues. While there are homes around us, they are not very near to us thanks to our acreage and the woods. (We prefer to call it the forest!) In the summer, when the trees are full of leaves, it feels like we're living in our own private rain forest.
We now refer to the shared portion of the driveway as the "private road." It sounds kind of cool when you put it that way, doesn't it? The new neighbors - the ones we share the driveway with - moved in last fall. We've become friends. And, yes, they fully offered to split the cost of a snow plow service for the winter!
So, to get back to the laughter...
We learned while searching for our new home to keep an open mind. We ended up with the two items we refused to even consider - the steep and shared driveway. But we also got everything we needed in a new home, and nearly everything we wanted in our new home, too. This house and its lot was perfect for us. So we were able to adjust our mindset and compromise on the must-not-have issues.
When searching for your new home, keep an open mind.
Speak to a lender and obtain a pre-approval for financing. This way you know exactly what price range to be looking in.
Make a list of your must haves.
Make a list of your wants.
Make a list of your must-not-haves.
Review this list frequently. Don't be afraid to make adjustments. No one home will ever be perfect. Compromise is essential. Discuss often with your home-buying-partners (including your agent) which compromises are possible and which are not.
Enjoy your home search. While it may seem stressful and confusing at the time, you will look back at it with fond memories.
And, who knows? Perhaps you, too, will someday be walking up your steep, shared driveway laughing about how you swore you would never own a steep, shared driveway!
Owner of a wonderful home with a shared, steep driveway
Connecticut Real Estate and Homes for Sale