Jun 1, 2009

At Home in Hopewell

I recently bought a carriage house built in 1890 in the historic district of the borough of Hopewell that backs up to Hopewell's preserved open space. I learned first hand how knowing one's needs and moving swiftly were the keys to finding home!

When I was considering a move in spring of 2009, I concluded that it was definitely the time to buy. Prices are within reach in a way we have not seen in years. I decided to take the plunge myself and move from a more transit centered environment to the walkable village of Hopewell Boro.

Some of the considerations that made it an easy transition was knowing that the schools in Hopewell Valley are very solid and that the village is an easy walkable community.  Its roots feel bit like Vermont. Many small town community events such as films at the historic train station  and farmers market give it a down to earth vibe.

Then what to buy?  I knew that I wanted something that I could manage on my own and a property that would lend to all of the charm of this sweet little village.  Hence, I found something that had been on the market quite a while which had not adjusted in price for the new world order. I went to look at it along with about three other properties in the Boro. What I liked about this property at first glance might have been easy for others to overlook without a clear vision. There is no garage. That is solved with a lovely cedar shake shed charmed with a window box to boot.  Many projects were left undone when I found this property. An old fence was in need of repair and a new fence had not yet been painted to match the house. Appliances needed updating and a water softener would need to be added. A beautiful old brick patio needed to be pulled up and pitched properly away from the house and relaid. The yard is extremely small but will be transformed into a perennial garden with many native plants to flourish.

While I studied all of this I also looked at the comps and prepared my first offer. I knew what had to be done with this house and I knew where to stop with my final offer. This is where I had to be a professional even to myself. I knew the number that this house should sell for and I had to be prepared to walk if I had an unreasonable seller.

I would say one of the most important things to start with in this process is a clear vision of what you need and want. I needed a solid and not overly large house. I needed the backup of great public schools and I needed to be close to the equestrian life that is so important to my daughter and close to her friends.

I knew that I could handle some amount of renovations that I would be pleased to make on my own instead of paying for someone else to have made those decisions on my behalf.

I knew that I would enjoy the 50 acre parcel of open space behind this house that is easily accessible to anyone living in the Boro.

After I was clear about my needs, I made a swift offer with a 30 day closing.

We are enjoying the process of making it our own and folding into an old community vibrant with new life and proud to hold to its village character. Come visit sometime!

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