5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to the Suburbs ​

 What to think about when you're moving to the SUBURBS We’ve made the move and helped thousands of our clients do the same — so we get it. We get being on the fence about leaving the city — or, even, to be all-in on heading to suburbia. We get wondering where you belong, and feeling like you’ll never find “your” people, your schools, your grocery store, whatever — and we get what it feels like when you do. And, more than anything, we get what it’s like to take a breath and take a leap into the ‘burbs. So what have we learned, and what do we wish we knew before we took the plunge? A LOT. Here’s our list of the top five need-to-knows -- check back, as we’ll be updating this list with tips, tricks and must-knows from Suburban Jungle families.  #1. I wish I’d known...that everything closes earlySo long, after hours Seamless orders. Hello, pizza joints that close at 7. Yes, 7. So where to go when you need a late night bite? Depending on your town, you may be lucky enough to score a 24-hour diner, open-late Starbucks or other grab-and-go takeout spot. Otherwise, you could be staring down that all-night CVS for any after dinner ice cream cravings. The reality? You get used to it -- and you get used to it fast. Life in the suburbs isn’t as “all night” as it is in the city, which is a huge draw for many families. But, in the short-term, don’t be shocked when you can’t snag a midnight slice, pick up that book at the library after bedtime, or get that last-minute t-shirt you need for tomorrow’s tie dye event at school. Keep some goodies in the freezer or stashed in the back of the pantry and, we promise, you won’t even miss the endless eating options.  #2. I wish I’d known...where to get great takeoutIn that vein, the suburban takeout scene isn’t always as booming -- or as transparent -- as it is in the city. When your family lives in the city, you can grab one of the million menus shoved under your door, or hop online and fire off a super-customized order from thousands of restaurants in your neighborhood and out. In the ‘burbs? Not so much. Even if yours is a foodie mecca, you’ll likely have to hop in the car and pick up from at least some places. And your delivery options? Since fewer restaurants offer online ordering, you’ll be less likely to get the inside scoop via ratings and reviews. Our advice? Solicit “best ofs” from local groups on Facebook, ask your neighbors or, even, ask us -- our team can always help find the best pad thai (or fish tacos or chopped salads…) in the ‘burbs.  #3. I wish I’d known...the “secret” ways to commuteWhen you first considered a town you, likely, looked at the most obvious commuting methods -- the train from the center of town, let’s say, or the local park-and-ride you passed en route to the open house. While, yes, that might ultimately prove the simplest, smartest and most time efficient way to get to and from the city, often locals have their own “secret” ways to commute. Maybe it’s the train in the next town over or a private bus service that doesn’t advertise much but, as you get more and more integrated in a community, you’ll start hearing rumbles about how people move into and out of the city each day. Do yourself a favor and cut through the clutter. Ask your Strategist or a Suburban Jungle Local for the “real” scoop on commuting before you waste your time on the “tourist” version. Trust us, if there’s an alternate route, we know it -- and it could save you tons of time. Related Posts... The City vs Suburbia: Side by SideWhat I Wish I Knew Before I Started the House Hunt 3 Things that are very Different about the Suburbs  #4. I wish I’d known...where the families areA big part of the Suburban Jungle process is getting to know a community by getting up close and personal with the people and the goings-on. To us, that’s the best way to truly understand where you belong -- where YOU feel at home, where YOUR people are and where, ultimately, you want to build a life. Going in, make sure you take things a step further and really “get” where the families are. A recent client reported being completely shocked -- in a good way -- after leaving her daughter’s first suburban soccer game. Literally hundreds of kids had poured onto the fields for games, including dozens of her daughter’s classmates -- and their parents. Instantly, this new-to-the-burbs family had the perfect mix-and-mingle opportunity every single week, and that made all the difference. Find your soccer game -- or hotspot playground or go-to diner or popular activity center -- and make sure you’re there often. Not only will your kids have a chance to make new friends, but you will, too. And that’s a win for everyone.  #5. I wish I’d known...that a house is very different than an apartment It’s no surprise a house is very different than an apartment but, at the same time, there were some things we hadn’t considered when we initially made the move. Some examples? The increased cost of everything from heat and electricity to water, maintenance and general upkeep -- upkeep that, now, we had to tackle versus calling our friendly super… Granted, we figured it all out and, now, know you have to turn off the sprinkler valve before the first snow and that, yes, the gutters really do need to be cleaned in the fall. At this point, we’re old pros and happy to lend our expertise and insights to our new neighbors and friends -- just say the word! Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. https://www.suburbanjunglerealty.com/thecityvssuburbiasidebyside.html

What the Latest Tax Reforms Mean for Homeowners & Homebuyers​

 The tax plan is now in-motion—so what does it mean for YOU and your suburban move? The average mortgage interest generated per year is about $5,646—all of which has been a welcome write-off for millions of American homeowners. For countless homeowners, that added incentive was a major pull from renting to buying—being able to deduct that interest saves the average homeowner hundreds of dollars per year. While many are still working through the implications of the new tax reform, one thing is clear: “one of America’s most popular tax breaks is about to be rendered nearly useless.” With the standard deduction nearly doubling from $13,000 to $24,000 for married filers, many homeowners will opt for that deduction over itemizing their mortgage interest.  The End Result for Homeowners The option to itemize will still exist, but given the average mortgage interest write-off in the U.S., many economists wonder if the incentive to buy is still as strong, especially among prospective middle class buyers. The new tax plan, explains Bloomberg’s Joe Light and Prashant Gopal, would make the mortgage write-off “worthless for most homeowners by doubling the federal standard deduction, making it less likely that a typical person would itemize write-offs of any kind.” Overall, nearly “38 million American households who would otherwise itemize would opt for the standard deduction under the new tax plan.” This shift has been a major lobbying point for the National Association of Realtors, the second-most powerful lobbying ground in the country. The group has consistently stated that moves like these are in direct opposite to homeownership.  What Happens in Higher-priced Markets...For those in higher-priced markets—New York, San Francisco, Boston and LA, for example—that interest can be significantly more. A $1,000,000 property with an $800,000 mortgage could easily generate more than $11,000 in annual deductions from mortgage interest alone, plus thousands more for property taxes. These homeowners will, likely, continue to itemize deductions, making this debate less of a consideration, at least in the immediate. Some things to keep in mind, though? Homeowners will only be able to deduct interest on mortgages up to $750,000, and HELOC interest will no longer be deductible. Under the current policies, interest can be deducted on loans up to $1,000,000 and HELOCs up to $100,000. Given the higher concentration of jumbo loans and HELOC add-ons in these markets, these new ceilings could be a consideration for homeowners. Related Posts...Ready to Move? Get Ready to Grieve your Property TaxesHow to Master the Home Buying ProcessCommon Home Buying Myths - Debunked! Another consideration? The changes in state and local income tax—“SALT”—deductions. In 2017, the deduction was unlimited. In 2018, deductions will be capped at $10,000. For those in higher-property tax communities—the New York City suburbs, for example—that could be a major change to future filings. As always, it’s important to consult your tax professional for advice and insights to maximize these changes. While the full implications likely won’t be understood until early this year, it’s never too soon to start planning ahead, especially if you’re planning to make the leaps to the suburbs in 2018. Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. 

Millennials Hit the Suburbs in a BIG Way  ​

 The millennials are heading to the suburbs, and changing the landscape forever.  If one thing’s clear about this year’s home-buying trends, it’s this: the generation that was never going to leave the city left. In a big way. For years, economists, marketers and real estate insiders have touted millennials as the urban generation—a generation content to stick it out in the city and eschew everything from home ownership to car purchases to traditional means of travel, cooking, grocery shopping and, overall, living.  But then the millennials moved—and they didn’t stop. Today millennials are the biggest piece of the home buying universe, making up about two-thirds of all first-time buyers and nearly two in five total buyers—and they aren’t slowing down. Close to one in 10 millennials expects to buy a home in the next 12 months, and one in four in the next one to two years. Understanding the Millennial Flight A major driving force behind this shift is the fact that the biggest millennial cohort—those born in 1990—represent a unique demographic shift: age 27 or so is when the “millennial flight” seems to start, with more and more of this sub-35 set heading the suburbia. It’s a challenge for many major cities who saw this generation as central to neighborhood revivals—but it’s a huge win for the suburbs, who are getting an influx of young homeowners, young families and, overall, young people ready to roll up their sleeves and dig into their new communities. Related Posts...Millennial Homebuyers are Setting Today's Marketplace Trends​Today's Great Suburban Home Buyer? Millennials.​Buying your First Home? Be Ready for a Few Surprises!   Millennial Peaks and Dips Another reason for the shift? Increased housing prices in major cities. In Boston, for example, there was a “millennial peak” in 2014 and 2015. As the median rental and purchase prices rose to $2,700 and $561,000, respectively, 20- and 30somethings needed to find an alternative—and they found it in the suburbs. The same is true in Chicago, where the peak happened around the same time, with an all-time high of 814,000 millennials in the city. The number dipped by a few hundred the following year, and continued to decline into 2017. LA also lost millennials—about 2,500 millennials, to be exact—between 2015 and 2016. Many attributed this exodus to the increased cost of living and cost of housing, which prevents younger residents from living the lifestyle they’re looking for. So the big question: where are they heading? New York City, LA, Dallas and Washington, DC suburbs all made the top-25 “suburbs where millennials are moving” list, with suburban growth among millennials hovering around 5% to 6%. As they continue to be priced out of the city and, beyond that, to get older, get married, have kids and make the shift just like previous generations, more and more millennials are going to head to suburbia. This “suburban renaissance” will no doubt, then, continue to grow and evolve, as these young couples and families migrate out, and make their mark on suburbs from coast to coast. Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. ​

5 Reasons to Buy in the WINTER  

 Think it's all about spring market? Think again!  Often, homebuyers focus on spring market—and we get it. There’s so much inventory in the spring and, paired with the better weather and, often, optimal timing for families—move-in right before school starts—spring tends to be the go-to, especially for first-time buyers. The reality? Spring is a great time to buy—but so is winter. While, yes, you may be trekking through a little snow (depending on your market…) and there does tend to be less inventory on the market, if you know what you want and, more importantly, where you want to be, winter can be an optimal time to make an offer. Here’s why… #1. Prices are lower In some markets, home prices can dip as much as 10% to 15% in the winter versus the spring. Right off the bat, that’s a huge incentive for many families who can now expand their range and, ideally, get their dream home for a fraction of the price. We’ve seen many city families diligently search and make offers in the winter, ultimately getting more house or getting into a sought-after community that, otherwise, they may not have been able to afford. For that reason alone many first-time buyers continue—or start—searching now, with their sights set on locking down a house before spring. #2. There’s less competition Many would-be buyers who don’t find something by fall tend to freeze their home search until spring. So what does that mean for the intrepid winter buyer? Less competition and a much lower likelihood you’ll find yourself in the midst of a bidding war. One expert said she typically sees 50 to 100 prospective buyers for an open house. In the winter, that number dips to 10 to 12—or even less. #3. Sellers are ready to negotiateThe benefit? Thanks to, again, the relative lack of bidding wars, sellers tend to be more willing to make a deal—even if they’ve already lowered their price. They see fewer buyers come through and they know they’re getting less consideration—and fewer offers—than they would in the warmer months. If they need to sell, then they’ll be more likely to come down and meet buyer demands than they would in the spring. That flexibility can increase even more if the seller’s home has been on the market since spring. If, for one reason or another, a home isn’t scooped up in the spring or summer buying seasons, by winter the seller is often extremely motivated—and that can mean incomparable deals on amazing homes in virtually any suburb anywhere.  #4. You may not have to put down as much With less competition and more open-minded sellers, many buyers wind up not having to put down as much on a property. When bidding wars commence, often it’s the all-cash buyer or buyer with a conventional loan and a hefty down payment who comes out on top. In the winter, that may not be the case. For FHA buyers, for example, or buyers looking to put down less than 20%, winter could be the perfect season to search—without the competition from cash-heavy buyers, you’ll likely be able to snag the house you want on your terms. Related Posts...  Snow Days in the City vs Suburbia  Winterizing your Home: The Next Steps   The Perks of Cold Weather House Hunting   #5. Lenders aren’t as busy…    Besides less competition for properties, there’s also, often, less competition for mortgage lenders and their time. Many buyers report expedited approvals, quicker closers and more individualized attention when the temperature drops. And, given this is such a massive purchase, the more one-on-one guidance, the better. The takeaway? If you’re searching, don’t give up—there could be an amazing deal in your ideal suburb coming your way. And if you’ve put your search on a temporary freeze, it’s time to get back out there—your Strategist can help. Good luck! Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. ​

How to Master the Home-buying Process​

Suburban Jungle featured on Credit.com This fall, new home sales hit their highest level in nearly a decade—close to 667,000 newly-built homes were sold, up 18.9% for the month. It’s great news for the economy and the housing market as a whole. But for some buyers, this explosive growth could signal new challenge—namely, competition in the marketplace, paired with a push towards higher-priced housing. The solution? Look NOW, says Suburban Jungle Founder & President Alison Bernstein. “Sellers are much more willing to negotiate [in the winter],” she explains. “You are also avoiding the craziness of the spring market with the competitive bidding wars and overall stress.” It’s a one-two punch for sellers who want to avoid sky-high prices—and, overall, a good way to get into the right town and the right house, no matter your budget. READ THE FULL POST 6 HOME-BUYING TIPS FOR THE CURRENT MARKET NOW  Another Suburban Jungle strategy? Consider “non-brand-name towns,” says Alison. These towns and neighborhoods have a lower “public” profile and, often, that means they have homes with lower price tags to match. What’s more, if that particular town isn’t on the tip of every buyers’ tongue, there’s likely to be less competition, giving new buyers a better shot at locking things down. “Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your home search strategy,” Alison adds. READ THE FULL POST 6 HOME-BUYING TIPS FOR THE CURRENT MARKET NOW  Related Posts...Common Home Buying Myths – DEBUNKED!​Bidding Wars! When it's time to get a mortgage... Suburban Jungle’s award-winning town-first approach takes budget considerations—as well as lifestyles, academic wants, commutability and more—into account when crafting custom suburbs strategies. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right town that fits with a family’s unique wants and needs, including traditional “hotspots,” emerging commuter towns and, even, neighborhoods that are completely new and off a client’s radar. By digging in and exploring life outside of city limits, it’s easy to find the ideal fit—and, from there, the ideal house.  Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. ​

Suburban Jungle Partners with Celebrity Broker Ryan Serhant

NYC's #1 broker and Million Dollar Listing star Ryan Serhant to work with Suburban Jungle city families  Suburban Jungle is excited to announce a new partnership with top NYC real estate broker Ryan Serhant and the The Serhant Team. The strategic relocation firm focused on abetting young families leaving urban for suburban has found the complete corporate complement to bring its 360-degree service full circle.  For those Suburban Jungle clients who decide to delay their urban exodus, expire the idea entirely, or otherwise need to unload their city digs before making moves to the suburban jungle, Ryan Serhant & Team are on the case. Buying and selling is a series of moving parts, and it is of the utmost importance to understand the value of existing real estate before plotting the path forward. It’s easy to teeter between the exhilaration of metropolitan life and the quieter comforts of suburban nesting, so in line with the Suburban Jungle “town first” approach, we are looking to educate our clients as to the options available in either scenario.  In collaboration with Ryan Serhant’s talented team, ranked top five of its kind nationwide for the past three years, we have engendered a unique, fully curated service spanning numerous neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Our innovative alliance affords clients advice and assistance in the below areas: Market valuation and comps for their city real estate; enabling clients to make educated, financially savvy next stepsExclusive buy-side hand-holding; allowing clients to evaluate the trade-offs of City versus Suburbs lifeStar power listing exposure for clients’ homes should they opt to sell Related Posts...Getting started in the Suburban Jungle...Is Suburbia in YOUR future?What to do BEFORE you start your search... We have worked over the years with the Ryan Serhant team to create various citywide events exploring the tough question “should I stay or should I go”. Recognizing the market demand of a more personalized service to help individual families examine this more thoroughly, we have launched a prolific partnership to tackle the topic head-on! To connect with someone regarding this service, please click here or email ali@suburbanjunglerealty.com.  Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GETTING STARTED. Photo credit: Business Insider  ​

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