Moving Families from

Urban to… Suburban​

The Suburban Jungle is an award winning innovative concept in the world of real estate, specializing in moving families from urban to suburban… The firm created the first of its kind “town first” truly objective approach which helps buyers before they make one of the largest investments of their lives, allowing them to ask the right questions and objectively look in the right places.​

The firm specializes in

providing clients the true inside scoop and the hard to see “intangibles” of every town. The fact that the suburban jungle is a completely free service, is just a bonus. Each client works with a personalized deal team, free of charge comprised of the following:​

The Strategist

is a truly objective advisor helping you and your family evaluate all possible options within commuting distance to the city…They work with you personally throughout your home search to not only come up with a home search strategy for you, but to also ensure that you are asking the right questions and looking in the right places.

The Client Concierge

will be working with you from start to finish —to help you set up your town tours, to help you make reservations for brunch. They will help organize strategy sessions with your Strategist, as well as get feedback from you after each town tour! They will also help you with setting any and all things up…from brunch reservations to movers!

The “Local”

This is someone who will be able to help you truly understand the inside scoop of the town. They are not agents, nor are they incentivized to “sell” you anything…they are just folks that live in the town or towns you are considering to help you understand all of the intangibles! A truly objective perspective on life in town and answers to all of the questions you have and more! They also not only educate you from the beginning, but help you get settled in once you have decided on the town!

The Agent

We partner with local agents that have been trained in the suburban jungle way of real estate….they have been handpicked to work as part of our deal team. You will be set up with one agent per town you tour to be able to understand and benefit from the truly local nuances of each area.

Alison Bernstein: Founder/President


Alison Bernstein is the founder of the The Suburban Jungle Realty, a real estate firm exclusively focused on buyers leaving the city for the suburbs. Recognizing how different neighboring towns can be from one another and how little families learn about a community during the home search, Alison launched Suburban Jungle, helping buyers navigate suburbia, and understand the ins and outs of towns before making their decision. She had personally experienced these challenges while undertaking her own suburban search, and strived to bring that unique expertise to Suburban Jungle families. Prior to this launch, Alison worked in the industry for more than 15 years, including senior-level roles in sales, leasing, investment banking and corporate strategic work spanning three of the nation’s leading real estate organizations. She has revolutionized the real estate industry by creating this new advisory pre-search component to the home buying process. When she’s not helping families in their suburban explorations, Alison enjoys traveling, skiing and tennis as well as spending time at home with her husband and four young children… and huge dog.

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The 4 Best Beaches in the Chicago Suburbs  ​

Some of the very best Chicago area beaches are in the SUBURBS! Check out these family-favorites, all in the suburbs.  For many families, leaving Chicago for the suburbs boils down to a few key considerations—namely, space, space and more the plus the A+ schools. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a host of reasons Chitown moms and dads are heading to suburbia, most of which boil down to specific lifestyles—in other words, finding a ‘burb that syncs with their family’s unique wants, needs and passions. Passions that, increasingly, include beachfront living. The Chicago suburbs, maybe surprisingly, are home to some of the best beaches anywhere. Because Lake Michigan feeds right into the greater Chicago area, families have access to endless waterfront fun and a relaxed, beach-inspired lifestyle—especially surrounding some of these top suburban beaches.  #1. Glencoe Beach (Glencoe, Cook County) Hands down the jewel in the crown of the Glencoe Park District, Glencoe Beach is an incredible family hotspot open all summer long. Families can hang out on the sand, splash in the water or grab a paddle board, kayak or hobie catamaran and hit the surf—all are available at the Beach House for day-of rentals. There’s also a beachfront playground and opportunities to picnic and, even, camp out overnight if you’re family’s feeling extra adventurous. Daily admission is just $7 for local residents age 15+ and $14 for non-residents—kids are $5 and $10, respectively. Many area families, though, opt for a season pass—get yours in early May and you’ll pay a discounted early bird rate. For the 2017 season, it was just $76 for the first family member, then $10 for every additional person.  #2. Illinois Beach State Park (Zion, Lake County) This sandy beach stretches nearly seven miles along Lake Michigan and has consistently been voted one of the most beautiful natural settings in the U.S. The only remaining beach ridge shoreline in the state, Illinois Beach has incredible dunes, swales and marshes, plus plenty of oak trees, animals and flowers perfect for families who love life in the great outdoors. For outdoorsy families, be sure to check out Dead River. This stream is blocked by sandbars during peak season but, when it’s not, you’ll spot tons of aquatic plants and fish, perfect for animal-loving kids. And, anytime, be sure to check out the rest of the 4,160-acre park—there are loads of opportunities for swimming, boating, hiking, camping and picnicking.  #3. Rosewood Beach (Highland Park, Lake County) Part of the Park District of Highland Park, Rosewood Beach is an award-winning beach on the Lake Michigan shore. The beach was reopened in June 2015 after a massive renovation. Today, Rosewood Beach is a popular hotspot, completely restored—and, now, better than ever. Rosewood includes everything from a fun family beach open all season long to a full nature cove and public nature programs, a recreation beach, a guarded swimming beach and an expansive boardwalk with food, activities and more. In summer 2017, Rosewood even introduced stand-up paddle boarding—beach-goers can reserve a board and hit the water. Even in the off-season, Rosewood Beach is the place to be. In November, for example, Rosewood is hosting a luau, open to the public. Check the beach’s website for more information and to order season passes.  Related Posts...In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin!In the 'burbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather Jagher!The Town vs The House: Which Matters Most?  #4. Gillson Park (Wilmette, Cook County)One of the most popular spots in the Wilmette Park District, Gillson Beach offers 60 acres of lakefront access. Families can swim in designated areas, or can head over to Langdon Park Beach for more in-water options. Got a four-legged friend? Gillson Dog Beach is adjacent—be sure your pup has a beach permit tag so he can go off-leash in the designated area between the pier and the harbor mouth. Gillson also boasts dedicated areas for picnicking and, even, a sailing beach where rentals and lessons are available. Families can rent sailboats day-of, grab racquets and hit the beach’s tennis courts or, in the off-season, skate on Gillson’s lighted ice rink. That’s just the beginning—the Chicago suburbs are filled with great waterfront access and fun, relaxing options for beach-going families. Ask your Strategist for more information, then grab your SPF and get ready for family weekends soaking up the sun and sand.  How we compiled our round up: We tapped our Suburban Jungle Strategists and Locals to share their “best of” rankings. From here, we layered in rankings, reviews and reports from Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Chicago Traveler to get our list.  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 and click GET STARTED. 

Millennial Homebuyers are Setting Today's Marketplace Trends​

Today, millennials are the most dominant force in real estate. So what does it mean for these first-time buyers and EVERYONE else? Millennials were slow to start in the home buying game. But now that they’ve hit the market in full effect, they’ve quickly become the driving force in the marketplace—in 2016, they made up 34% of home buyers, the largest group for four consecutive years. Their decisions set the trends. Their preferences set the tone. And, beyond that, their approach to every aspect of home buying from down payments to renovations to specific wants, needs and neighborhoods has set the bar for all things real estate.  So, then, what does this new millennial buyer look like—and what trends is she driving in the marketplace? According to the 2017 Zillow Group Report: Less than TWO IN FIVE submit offers with 20% down. A whopping one in five opt for the minimum: just 5% down or less. 43% of millennial buyers aren’t clear on what they can afford—not surprising, considering 71% are buying a home for the very first time. More than three in five search properties to rent AND properties to purchase at the same time—many know finding the right home in the right community at the right price will be a challenge, and looking for a rental gives them some breathing room. Millennial buyers are also keen to get creative in coming up with their down payment—the biggest hurdle for the majority of buyers. Nearly one in three ask friends and family for help, and many pull from a variety of sources to get the cash together. HALF make multiple offers, and close to two in five veer off their financial plan at the end of the day—especially if it means making their dream home a reality! Because rents in major urban markets are at an all-time high, it’s been tougher than ever for new buyers to save for their down payment AND afford sky-high rents in the meantime. This has shifted the way millennial families think about their next steps—and the suburbs in general. Now the big question: what, specifically, are these buyers looking for? According to a recent survey, the suburbs are still number, with 43% of first-time buyers naming the ‘burbs their preferred location. Half of millennial buyers want “near” or “outlying” suburbs, while 11% are looking for small-town living. And those houses? Two in five are in search of a single-family home, while 34% are planning on a townhouse and 10% on condos.  Related Posts...Today's Great Suburban Homebuyers? Millennials.Bidding WarsCommon Homebuying Myths - Debunked! And after these buyers? It’s all about Generation Z, the generation right behind the millennials. These teens and tweens—born in the mid-90s through the late 2000s—seem to be mimicking their millennial parents and siblings in their views of home buying. Zillow predicts, “These tech-savvy yet risk-averse,” students “are bringing their social personalities home, desiring communal amenities geared toward bringing people together.” We’ll have to wait a few years to see—but, for now, it’s all eyes on the millennial buyers and how they’re shaping suburbia. 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 and click GET STARTED. 

In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin! ​

Now that they’re settled in suburbia -- and loving life in Wilmette! -- the Doblin family can see why THIS is the perfect community for their lifestyle. See why SUBURBAN JUNGLE LOCAL AMANDA DOBLIN opted to call this amazing town “home,” and why having friendly, approachable neighbors makes all the difference… NAME Amanda Doblin MEET THE DOBLIN FAMILY! “My husband Jeff is a Financial Planner in the Wealth Management Division of Forum Financial -- and he’s an AVID Cubs and Alabama football fan. We have three kids -- Evan is 12 and a big baseball player and sports fan, Avery is 10 and a thespian, singer and pianist, and five-year-old Cady is a dancer...and card shark!” WHERE THEY LIVE NOWThe McKenzie area of Wilmette, a popular Chicago suburb.        WHY THEY CHOSE WILMETTE “With easy city access on the Metra or the El, Wilmette was an easy choice for us. We love the downtown, amazing beach access and the schools for our three kids. And besides all of that, the people of Wilmette are amazing. Everyone is friendly and approachable!” 3 AMAZING THINGS ABOUT WILMETTE  1) “The schools are A+! We’re thrilled with the experience our kids have had in the district.”2) “The people! Since day one everyone has been so friendly and approachable which has made our transition very easy.”3) “The BEACHES. Wilmette is bordered by Lake Michigan, so there’s lots of beachfront parks, including Gillson Park and Langdon Park. There are also beaches in neighboring Winnetka and Glencoe.”4) “The Park District is another huge plus to living here. Not only are there amazing parks, but there are also tons of programs and events for kids of all ages.”         Related Posts...In the Suburbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather JagherUnderstanding the Chicago Suburb's Dual Language Program5 Signs it's Time to Move to the Suburbs ONE THING SHE’D TELL CITY FAMILIES CONSIDERING MAKING A MOVE “When you choose to move to the suburbs, know that it will sting at first. You will miss the food and the hubbub of the city, but the tradeoffs will far outweigh the initial sting!” WHAT SHE LOVES MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH SUBURBAN JUNGLE FAMILIES “I love listening to the concerns families have about moving to the suburbs and then validating those concerns. Making a move is difficult, no matter what! Suburban Jungle helps to assuage those fears to partner with you to make the right choice for your family!” 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 and click GET STARTED.      


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