I would have never thought when we moved to Battery Park back in 2006, that I would eventually have three children, and a group of moms that have turned into some of my closest friends. When Ryder was born, I joined a neighborhood group/forum called HRP Mamas, where on a weekly basis different moms would host playgroups in their apartments, or a common room in their building. Each week, I looked forward to catching up with the other moms, trading stories about breast feedings, sleeping, and even dirty diapers. It was like a therapy, and comforting to one another that we weren’t going through these new, and sometime trying experiences alone.
But as the years past, our group started to dissipate slowly, as families moved across town or out to the burbs. It’s a natural progression when you live in NYC, the space is small, your tiny family is growing, and you long for more space.
Jason and I still struggle with the decision of moving to the suburbs, staying in the city, getting a second home, and let’s not forget our consideration of moving to California. The biggest question is where would we even go. A friend recently told me about an amazing company, that helps with your decision when it comes to neighborhoods. Suburban Jungle is a strategic advisory firm, dedicated to helping families find the right suburb, based on lifestyle, and not just real estate preferences.
I had a chance to speak with the founder, Alison Bernstein to learn more about her company, and to see if she could help Jason and I determine which neighborhood would best suit us. With our jammed packed weekends, I certainly don’t want to waste time looking in areas that wouldn’t be right, even if the house may seem nice. I’ve had plenty of friends fall in love with a house, and after they moved to the neighborhood, they felt as if they had made a mistake.
Before starting, Suburban Jungle forwards a questionnaire which helps them understand you, your family, and your needs. Then, a client coordinator will arrange a time to meet or speak over the phone. The Suburban Jungle team will then work to devise a Home Search Strategy. Your strategist will set up tours with the local real-estate agents, where you can get a sense of the personality and culture of each town. Finally, they will narrow down your search based on area and set you up with an agent who focuses only on that town. It’s a pretty brilliant service, and the best part is that it is absolutely free! Suburban Jungle offers services in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco. I felt so at ease speaking with Alison because picking up and moving is a big deal, especially once you’ve been in a place for so long.
There are so many factors to consider when buying a home, but location is key. For us, our current approach will be to stay in our apartment, and get serious about searching for a weekend home. Suburban Jungle will be expanding to the eastern end of Long Island, which will be ideal for our house hunt. I’m excited to see which neighborhood the strategists will suggest as a good fit my family of five. Stay tuned!