Last year, I had the privilege of working with a couple, Alex and Isabel, and their two young daughters as they embarked on journey of transitioning from their home right outside of Winooski Circle to a property with a little more space.
Our journey to find the right home took many twists and turns. Alex and Isabel weren’t sure early on whether they wanted a home in the city or a more rural lifestyle. Isabel had grown up in a rural area, but Alex considered himself a city person, and they both saw pros and cons to each choice.
Our search took us to homes in all sorts of places – after investigating option in the Five Sisters neighborhood in Burlington, the Champlain Islands, Richmond, Jericho, among other places, Alex and Isabel finally settled on a gorgeous property in Underhill.
Pallas: You guys loved your life in Winooski. What made you look for something different?
Isabel: We were moving from our lovely little Winooski home because of just that – it was little!
We grew to love the community, so when we decided it was time to start looking for a new home for our growing family, the decision between staying in Winooski (urban) vs. moving out to rural Vermont, was very difficult.
We came to realize that 1,000 sq. ft was not enough for our family. Sure in the summer you can make anything work but in the winter with all the gear, and the necessity of being cooped up inside more often, the space was closing in on us.
We left our Winooski home when our daughters were 1 and 3. We now have a boy joining us this summer and we are happy to be out in rural Underhill, VT on a lovely 8 acre lot.
How did you find your home?
Our search was not short!
We really wanted to find the right home for our growing family, and with the tight market, this was not easy.
I think we looked at close to 40 homes over the span of 6 months. My numbers might be off but just know, it was a lot!
We ended up settling on the more rural approach because I think we both knew it was the right decision for our family.
Raising kids with space to explore and a strong community trumped the benefits of being close to things (staying urban) in our minds.
What was your first impression when you walked in?
Our house stood out because it is an old farmhouse that was completely new and beautiful looking inside.
The property was even more appealing than the home for me because a lovely swimmable river runs straight through it.
We also liked that it had bonus features such as a beautiful studio above the garage and a pristine horse barn.
How did you know it was the right fit?
It felt like a contender from the beginning, however we were not sure right away as the price was high and the location was a bit further from Burlington than we had hoped.
I think I felt like for the price, everything should be perfect. I am not always the rational one in the relationship.
Did anything unusual happen during the buying process? How did you deal with that?
Pallas was great and attentive throughout. We did not have a lovely experience with the sellers. The listing team was non responsive and unorganized as well as deceitful.
It’s hard to imagine that people can be the way they were. Not signing documents, lying about having things inspected and stealing a fence the night before closing are some things that bothered us. We love our house and are happy to have their negative energy out of the place.
How does your home complement your lifestyle?
We love our house and property. We love to host and now have the space to do so. We recently got goats and have chickens coming this week.
I wouldn’t say the home has changed my lifestyle, it has just made doing the things I have always loved to do easier.
What do you like most about your home?
In terms of features of the actual home, I love the kitchen and master bedroom.
The kitchen is beautiful and more than I could ask for and the bedroom is huge and gets great light.
I knew we were moving to a wonderful community, but I had no idea how wonderful it actually was until moving here and taking part.
I always thought we would really miss the city life if we moved, however there is some much to do in our home community that we rarely ever leave!
If you could change anything about your home, what would it be?
Our new home is right on a busy road. That aspect bothers me and I don’t think I realized how busy the road was until moving in.
It’s only normal to dream about all the things you want to do to your home and property.
Some ideas we have are adding a sunroom and knocking out a wall for a more open floor plan.
The heat costs are absurd! We are going solar though with heat pumps so that is a fun investment.
How do you imagine this home will serve you down the road?
This is not our forever home, but we will be here at least until our children have graduated high school.
We are so happy to be here and have already created beautiful traditions and memories for our children.
We are looking forward to growing into the space even more.
Building a bridge across the river, filling up the barn, gardening, making use of the beautiful studio, forts, etc. Lots to do!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pallas Ziporyn is a Realtor based in Burlington, VT. She is the founder and head writer for The Vermont Real Estate Blog, and she works with both buyers and sellers in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.
In addition to her real estate pursuits, Pallas enjoys serving on the Winooski Planning Commission, skiing, writing, and spending time with her husband Chris and their two small children, Leander and Hugo.