Everything You Need to Know about Moving to Fairfield

Everything You Need to Know about Moving to Fairfield

  • Cindy Raney & Team
  • 07/11/24

Fairfield County is a genuine New England gem tucked into the far southwestern corner of Connecticut. Situated along the shores of Long Island Sound, an hour's drive from the heart of New York City, the county's strategic location and pastoral setting have long made it a destination for buyers seeking sanctuary from the nation’s most populous city.

In recent months, Fairfield has been especially popular among young professionals. Not intimidated by the commute or having secured remote work, these buyers are taking the opportunity to trade glass, concrete, and steel towers for Fairfield's majestic natural setting, charming local communities, and elegant, laid-back lifestyle.

While this area of nearly 960,000 residents is one of the northeast's most desirable places, moving to Fairfield County can prove challenging. It's especially true for those undecided if they will rent first and buy later or dive head first into Fairfield's real estate market.

Let's explore this vibrant, picturesque region further with everything you need to know about moving to Fairfield.

An affluent alternative to NYC

For those moving from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the more tranquil Fairfield County, the shift can be a welcome, refreshing change. While Fairfield offers a slower pace and a close-knit community vibe, it still maintains a cultural richness that those from New York will appreciate. Fairfield is Connecticut's most populous county and features four of the state's largest cities.

Of course, size is relative. With 1.7 million people living within Manhattan's 23-square-mile footprint, Fairfield and its 837 square miles will seem exceedingly rustic and rural by comparison. The broader natural spaces, coastal charm, and community-oriented events starkly contrast NYC's skyscrapers and busy streets. It's a transition that still promises some degree of urban living but on a much smaller scale.

While it may lack some of New York's big city glamor, Fairfield County is an area of considerable affluence. The area from Greenwich to the town of Fairfield is considered Connecticut's Gold Coast, often ascribed as one of the wealthiest collections of towns and neighborhoods anywhere in the U.S., including the county's most prominent Gold Coast communities of Greenwich, Stamford, and Fairfield.

Outstanding amenities (including luxury boutique shopping, fine dining, gorgeous beaches and other outdoor activities) separate Gold Coast neighborhoods from other outlying NYC commuter communities. It comes as little surprise that Fairfield County's high-end lifestyle is reflected in the region's above-average cost of living.

Housing options range from luxurious waterfront homes to opulent retreats nestled further inland to more modest luxury interspersed across nine of the region's most prominent communities. While property costs in this region of Fairfield County are substantial, those moving here will find they align with the quality of parks and community services.

Choosing a home in Fairfield County

Relocating is always a huge undertaking. The logistics remain cumbersome even if the move is merely an hour to the north. Further complicating matters is choosing the home we ultimately relocate to. Fairfield County doesn't simplify the process with its excellent properties in equally exceptional neighborhoods. Ultimately, it's a good problem to have.

The real question is determining your initial steps before moving to Fairfield. Is it wiser to rent first, explore your future residency options, and buy when the time suits you? Or is it better to quickly scope out the lay of the land, narrow your preferred communities and type of home within a few weeks, and then jump straight into homeownership when the right combination of house and location presents itself?

There isn't a right or wrong answer, but simply what works best for you and your current situation. Here are a few steps to consider before moving forward in either direction.

Partner with an experienced Fairfield real estate agent

Seeking out a local Fairfield County real estate advisor in the early stages of your relocation planning will make the process considerably less stressful. Even if your plans include renting before buying, engaging a real estate professional can prove invaluable in your understanding of Gold Coast communities, where the housing market is now and where it's trending, the best places to rent a home or condo, and to prepare yourself for an eventual purchase.

For those who are less interested in the prospect of renting, the earlier you can engage a Fairfield County real estate agent, the better. They'll provide real-time information on Fairfield homes for sale and which markets would be a good investment or permanent residence based on your specific needs.

All buyers stand to benefit from an advisor’s deep knowledge of the buying process in Fairfield. They can assist with everything from helping you refine your budget to narrowing down your ideal neighborhoods to coordinating home tours, offers, and inspections and being your advocate during negotiations.

Renting versus buying on Fairfield's Gold Coast

First-time visitors to Fairfield County are often mesmerized by the area's rustic, natural surroundings. Then, they tour the luxurious homes on display across the region and instantly begin figuring out how to make one of the local properties their own.

But then reality sets in, and narrowing down the options turns out to be a daunting process. The choice hinges on financial considerations, long-term goals, personal preferences, and location. Even seasoned home buyers can struggle to choose between the coastal compounds of Darien, the stately seclusion in New Canaan, or the timeless charm of Greenwich or the town of Fairfield.

Rent first, buy later

As noted, renting first can benefit those wanting flexibility to explore multiple options across the county before making specific home purchase plans. Stamford is a popular spot for finding well-appointed six- and 12-month condo rentals, thanks to its central location to much of the Gold Coast region. If you've zeroed in on a particular area, such as Southport, Westport, or Wilton, and want to wear it before you buy, renting a home will give you a genuine feel for the local lifestyle.

The downside to the rent first, buy later approach usually comes from complacency. Establishing a home base with a low-maintenance lifestyle can delay the decision-making process. Those delays lead to a late start on what can be lucrative equity building. It can also set up a situation for instability, where the money being spent is offering zero return, and you're subject to the whims of volatile rent increases or no guarantee of continued availability.

Buy first

If you're prepared to skip renting, you're probably ready to start searching for a home. You'll still want to maintain some flexibility in the early stages — not giving up your current residence or having temporary housing — as the buying process can take time.

That said, buying sooner will help you move past the instability of relocation. You can start reaping the benefits of your investment, make it your own, enroll kids into their permanent schools, and acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. Given the Gold Coast's perennial appeal, the sooner you buy, the sooner you'll lock into a sound long-term investment.

Are you ready to move to Fairfield?

Fairfield County and its Gold Coast communities present an attractive opportunity for anyone ready to move to Fairfield, from young professionals looking for a fresh start to more established homebuyers ready to plant long-term roots. You can network with influential circles, access world-class amenities, and the promise of a high-end lifestyle unmatched across Connecticut and New England.

To start your Fairfield home buying journey, contact Cindy Raney & Team today and allow their advisory team, with decades of experience and expertise, assist you in finding Fairfield homes for sale and navigating the exceptional Fairfield luxury real estate market.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Work With Us

Cindy Raney & Team is the elite, boutique real estate team in Fairfield County. They are extremely well versed in the industry, having sold over half a billion dollars in luxury real estate. Cindy’s team is particularly focused on the client experience, helping them throughout the home buying or selling process to ensure that their experience with the team is exceptional.

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