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In Which The Search Spreads Outside of the City Completely

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.

So, this week we're getting out of New York for a little bit. Yeah yeah, it's not the city, but Connecticut sure is close enough. Nicholas Zagoreos was looking for a place in Darien (I don't know, google it) as opposed to New Canaan, which is apparently too inconvenient. His budget was between $500,000 and $600,000, which is enough to get you a nice sized home out in the 'burbs. After some deals that fell through, he snatched up a place he loved for $575,000 after some negotiating. 1,300 square feet and a yard enough to get you looking out in Connecticut?

Mr. Zagoreos, whose family immigrated from Greece to Astoria, Queens, when he was in grade school, hoped to stay in New Canaan. “I wanted to be near the buddies I knew on my train and the Y.M.C.A. and the dog park,” he said. He planned to buy a place for $500,000 to $600,000.

He needed a yard for his dogs, a pug named Henry and a black Lab named Oliver, and a neighborhood with sidewalks so he could walk them in safety.

But in New Canaan the kind of house he wanted didn’t exist. The market there is for upsizers, Ms. Ward said. There, she said, “you buy your 30-year house and stay there on your one or two acres until your kids are gone. Kids and dogs, that is the reason why people buy houses.”

Ms. Ward said a typical buyer there was from Manhattan. “You come out of your 600-square-foot apartment and buy a 1,300-square-foot starter home,” she said. “It is twice the size and you think, ‘This is huge.’ And then you have one or two kids and you think, ‘This is tiny.’ So then you have to move up.”

In Darien, Mr. Zagoreos found several possibilities. He liked a small two-story house on a cul-de-sac, Lillian Terrace. There was no garage, just a driveway in front, which didn’t bother him. Neither did the hum of traffic from nearby Interstate 95.
The sellers declined his first offer, $495,000, and his second, $525,000. (That house later sold for the asking price of $575,000.)

A fully renovated three-bedroom house on West Avenue, listed at $595,000, was small but beautifully done. But the avenue was busy, with trucks passing from nearby Ring’s End Lumber. He wavered, but decided against it.

Another three-bedroom house on West Avenue was a bit too close to the MetroNorth tracks.

Mr. Zagoreos moved on.

He and Ms. Ward went to see a 1940 colonial-style house on Gardiner Street with almost 1,300 square feet, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. “Wait a minute, this is good,” Mr. Zagoreos said.

The listing price was $655,000. His offer of $585,000 was accepted.

The inspection showed termite damage as well as some unpermitted work, and the bank wouldn’t lend until all permits were in order, Ms. Ward said. So the parties renegotiated while the problems were being remedied, settling on a new price of $574,000.

· A Change of Scene, One Town Over [NYT]