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Time to Leave NYC for the Suburbs

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Time to Leave NYC for the Suburbs--consider the options

Although I love living in the NYC-area I often dream of greener pastures in the form of space and quiet for myself and my girls. Since my husband works in the city and I often travel to Manhattan, we know we want to be close-by; however I do know that I could get a lot more "bang from my buck" and probably deal with a far less annoying public school admissions process if I lived somewhere close-by like in upstate New York, CT, New Jersey or Long Island. Are you wondering--"Is it time to leave NYC for the suburbs?"

Although that does make sense, I feel uneasy as a first-buyer - especially making the huge transition from apartment living to a home in the suburbs. I am not alone for my wants for more room mixed with uncertainty.

In fact, a new company The Suburban Jungle Realty Group (SJRG) is re-inventing the first-time home-buying process by focusing on New York City families that are transitioning to the Metro-area suburbs. Servicing this niche market, Alison Bernstein recognized this void in the real estate marketplace a few years ago, as her own family shifted from city life to their first home outside of Manhattan.

The Suburban Jungle Realty Group has built a business model based on the understanding that the first time home-buying process is an enormous emotional and financial investment. The realty group, with a nearly 100-percent closing rate for its clients, offers each family objective layers of due diligence from experts across all facets of the home-search process. Suburban Jungle Realty Group will facilitate a perfect match as families move from a city apartment to a first home in the ‘burbs.

Created by real estate specialist and entrepreneur and mother of four, Alison Bernstein, the Suburban Realty Group exclusively represents the buyer moving from a New York City apartment to a new home in one of the more than 500 towns within commuting distance to Manhattan. The company also helps first time home buyers utilizing multiple, objective layers of due diligence to match them to the best town and the perfect new home. The unique realty group, which has re-invented the home buying process, provides experts across all areas of the transaction focusing on the unique needs of growing families.

As a licensed realtor in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Momtrends had the pleasure to learn more about the company and Alison herself and she shared tips for moving out of the city, how to navigate real estate outside of Manhattan and how the ideal time to leave New York City is when your children are still in pre-school.

Momtrends: How did this idea come about?
Alison Bernstein: In my personal home search when we decided to leave the city, I noticed that there was a huge void in the marketplace for this type of real estate company. We were living in the city, and were looking for a home somewhere in Westchester- maybe NJ- we had no idea. We also did not know about all of our options, and were randomly visiting towns based on what we had heard. We were one of the first of our friends to leave the city, so we didn't have any type of guidance. We were also working with different agents, different real estate brokerages- and truly couldn't keep it straight and understand the pros and cons of each area we looked in. It was a truly inefficient process throughout. I also was working with agents I didn't love or thought didn't understand the things we truly needed as our family was growing. I was at Columbia Business School at the time and was looking to do something entrepreneurial, and the void in the marketplace was very obvious. So I launched the firm!

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MT: What are some of the biggest fears you hear about families who want to move to the country?
Alison: Some of the biggest concerns are not being close to a town, and not being able to walk everywhere. The commute is a big concern obviously- but the walkability of certain places is a fear. Going to a life more based on driving is also a concern for many.

MT: What are some locations that offer country living amenities that are also close to the city?
Alison: There are tons of areas and tons of great towns with a wonderful setting that are all close to the city. Some of our most popular destinations throughout Westchester, Long Island, CT and NJ include (but are not limited to!) Larchmont, Scarsdale, Rye, Chappaqua, Port Washington, Roslyn, Westfield, Demarest, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Westport & Greenwich.

Momtrends: How can a person know they are ready to leave the city?
Alison: We find that it is typically something you just know. We find most of our clients have certain deadlines they need to work around including school or camp start dates. Also, an ideal time to leave the city is when your children are still in pre-school. This is a most social time for both parents and children as you are more likely to meet people and make friends during this time of baby classes, nursery school drop offs and other events centered around young children.

However, what we have found is that ultimately there are two types of New Yorkers: One who is without doubt determined to raise their kids in the city- regardless of space constraints and will make any sacrifices to do so...and the other is someone who loves the city for this part of their lives-- but ultimately has always wanted to be out in the suburbs and raise their family there.

Momtrends: How can your company make this process easier?
Alison:Our firm was built on the foundation of making this process the easiest and most enjoyable it can possibly be. Each client will work with a dedicated consultant throughout the process. We work internally with our specialists in each area to determine the right towns for each client, and then will work to set up tours with local agents in the different towns. Once the clients begins to hone in on a specific town or two, we then set up a conference call with our local town consultants. These consultants are typically mothers with young children who live in the town and can speak truthfully about the pros and cons of the town. In addition, they offer guidance and perspectives on anything from commute, to nursery schools, to the best take out food.

We also have an in house interior design division which will work with our clients to execute a few things quickly and efficiently- and get them going in a new home (or help them see beyond wall paper or a minor project in a house that they are considering).

We work with the client every step of the way, and make certain that they are asking the right questions and considering the right things about all of their options.

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