The 4 Best LA Suburbs for SAHMs ​

Embrace the SAHM Life in the Suburbs in these Hotspots! Face it—you’ve got the SAHM scene in LA down to a science. From the meetups to the playdates to the creative endeavors you and your fellow LA mamas are pursuing, there’s never a dull moment whether the kids are home all day or not. But now? Now you’re kicking around the idea of suburban living. And whether that means you’ll continue on your SAHM path or, maybe, will be staying home for the first time, there’s a lot to learn. Because, let’s face it, life in the ‘burbs is very different than life in the city. But, in these four suburban SAHM hotspots, that’s a great thing.  #1. IRVINERight off the bat, Irvine is a go-to for LA families craving suburban living. Niche gives this Orange County suburb an A+ for both its schools and for being “Good for Families,” while Money consistently ranks the town among the top 20 best places to live nationwide. “It’s no wonder people flock to ,” they write, “it boasts high-paying jobs, stellar public schools and a quick 10-mile drive to the coast. Plus, for 11 years running, the FBI has named this family-oriented Orange County city one of the safest in the country.” Neighborhoods in Irvine are called “villages” and “designed with families in mind.” Homes are oriented around a neighborhood park, playground and pool where, in most areas, families flock when the temperature rises. The town also has tons to do for the active-adventure family—think jam-packed bike paths and 350-plus miles of bike lanes that connect the city. While you won’t find SAHMs in a central downtown area—Irvine doesn’t have on, per se—you will find them heading to Irvine Spectrum Center for shopping, dining and, maybe, to catch a quick flick. The Orange County Great Park is another hotspot, complete with a farmers market and loads of family-friendly activities throughout the year. Other go-tos? Coffeebar Byul complete with its organic single origin drinks and “Gangnam Style” espresso—that’ll ensure you’ve got the energy to keep up with the kiddies. Wine more your style? Check out The Bacchus Bar & Bistro for more than 350 local and imported wines and amazing cheese pairings.  #2. SHERMAN OAKSThrillist dubs Sherman Oaks the area to head to “when you are getting ready to send your kids to school”—no surprise, then, that so many city families and, even, celebs do just that. The general vibe of Sherman Oaks is decidedly family—“It’s a really nice place to raise a family,” says one resident. “People are very close with their neighbors here, and I like that.” The area itself is a “quiet retreat right in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.” The neighborhoods are pretty peaceful and perfect for SAHMs looking for a little calm during the school day—or, maybe, a little calm to ensure their little ones can make it through a nap uninterrupted. And when the kids are up and out of school? Sherman Oaks has it all, from ample green spaces to tons of restaurants and shops—recognize the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The area also has an incredible “Old LA” feel to it, thanks to broad boulevards and classic architecture—it’s an amazing backdrop to raise a family and to really soak up the best the area has to offer. Another plus for SAHMs? You’re close to everything—literally. Sherman Oaks is surrounded by Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Studio City, Encino and Bel Air—in other words, smack in the middle of Valley living. And because you’re not far from the 101, you can easily get to Hollywood and downtown LA anytime you want. Bonus.  #3. SAN MARINORight out of the gate, it’s clear San Marino is a good spot for SAHMs. A+ public schools? Check. A+ “Good for Families” rating? Check. Small town feel right here in Los Angeles County. Double check. In short, this suburb is a lux oasis, close enough to the hustle and bustle but still plenty far away to feel away. Really, what more could you want, especially if you’re going the SAHM route post-move. With just 14,000 residents and amazing amenities, San Marino is a sought-after suburb for LA families. During the recession, housing prices in San Marino actually rose, when the rest of Southern California dropped—that should tell you something about the desirability of this community. The city itself is incredibly affluent—a big reason San Marino has such impressive offerings for parents and kids alike. Nearly three in four properties in the ‘burb are worth at least $1 million, and the city has an HHI 86% higher than Beverly Hills. With that comes high ratings for safety and a great neighborhood vibe residents love—many mamas share that their kids can play outside anytime, taking advantage of the quiet streets and loads of young families flooding to this impressive community. Related Posts...The Best Bay Area Suburbs for Stay At Home MomsDo You Really Need a Suburb that's Close to all the Action?Suburbia: Help your Kids Adjust #4. MAR VISTAFor LA SAHMs who aren’t quite ready to give up city living, Mar Vista could be the perfect choice. The area has a definite urban feel but, still, consistently ranks in high on the “best neighborhoods to raise a family in LA” and “best neighborhoods for millennials” list—it’s a one-two punch that makes Mar Vista particularly attractive to SAHMs looking for culture, nightlife and lots to do. Because, hands down, this area’s got it, all paired with a friendly, down-to-earth feel that makes it easy for moms to mix, mingle and make connections. During the day, Mar Vista’s historic downtown area is bustling, with coffee bars, shops, cafes and a weekly farmers market drawing residents from all corners of the city—it is, after all, considered one of the best in LA. And if you want to kick back or get a little work done at home? This suburb is considered, “the land of large yards, beautiful tree lined streets, neighbors who have known each other for generations, and a whole lot of village pride.” And don’t forget, it’s just three miles to the beach. Overall, Mar Vista is a gem in the LA landscape. It’s got a “rare old school California charm, along with a very exciting, unexplored feeling,” that residents love. It’s also got a palpable creative energy, many say, and “the most interesting people live in Mar Vista.” To get the real scoop, check out local blogger Mira Ramesh Babu’s Mar Vista Mom. She dishes on everything from local events to what’s happening at the farmer’s market (fall veggies, people!) to community celebrations, school events and more. 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 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 Niche, NerdWallet, Berkeley Parents Network and Storage Talk.  

A Suburban Move...Times TWO!​

This City Family Heads to Westchester Then the Boston ‘burbs  Alison Perisic and her family are suburban pros -- after all, they’ve made the move to not one but two unique towns within two years. “We had lived in the city for so long,” she says. “We came in as college graduates, we had our first kid there and we were ready for the suburbs when she got close to school age.” Three years ago, the family made the leap, heading from Manhattan to Larchmont, New York in Westchester County. They lived there for two years -- until the Perisics made a big decision and an even bigger change. “I wanted to be closer to my family,” Alison explains. “I felt like I’d lived the New York City life and no one in my family was moving closer to me. And besides that,” she adds, “I was ready for a big change. I’d planted the seed in my husband’s head for awhile, and when it happened, it happened really quickly.” That seed? The idea that they’d sell their home in Westchester and head to another suburb -- this time, a Boston suburb. They started their search immediately. “I’m not totally unfamiliar with New England or Boston, even,” Alison says. “But when it came to the Boston suburbs, I was lost. We had recommendations from people but nothing seemed like a great fit.” Given their short timeline and desire to find the exact right fit, Alison reached out to Suburban Jungle. “I knew about Suburban Jungle from living in New York,” she explains. “I was familiar with their services from hearing people talk about them, and I knew they had a Boston office. So I reached out -- we needed help and it was a short timeline to make it all happen.” Working with Barbara Hirsch, Suburban Jungle’s Head Strategist in Boston, Alison and her husband dove right in, exploring the unique towns that synced with their wants, needs, and lifestyle. “They bought very quickly,” Barbara explains. “My first call was on July 11 and they made an offer that was accepted on the 24th!” She adds that the family spoke with one of Suburban Jungle’s Medfield Locals the day before their accepted offer, helping answer any final questions and solidifying that this was the suburb for them. “We knew we didn’t want a suburb right outside of Boston,” Alison says. “And we wanted something a little more low key.” Just five weeks later, they moved. Fast forward just over six months and the Perisics are happily settled in suburbia -- this time for good! “I really love it here,” Alison says. “It’s a small town and off the beaten path a little bit.” Even so, “we’re close to Boston for my husband’s job and close to Rhode Island where my family lives. It’s a nice in-between.” Overall, they love the “small, friendly New England” vibe and were able to “fall into the groove really well.” Already, Alison, her husband and their two kids -- now five and 16 months -- are making friends and getting acclimated to the community. Their daughter started kindergarten six days after moving in and, so far, they’re all thrilled with the experience. “Everyone has been so friendly,” she says. “They’ve all been so welcoming -- people really want to help you out.” The schools have also exceeded her expectations. “I’m really happy with the school system here,” Alison adds. “I was a little nervous because, again, Medfield is a little off the beaten path. But it’s easy to get to everything we need for our day to day lives.” Related Posts...Ready for the Suburbs? 5 Signs it's Time to Move to the SuburbsIs Suburbia in your Future? After tackling this second suburban move, Alison says, she’s become a bit of a pro -- and has learned a lot about what matters and what doesn’t when choosing a place to call home. “I feel like I had two very different experiences,” she says. “There was the move to Larchmont which was a learning experience for this move. We didn’t have a ton of help -- I kind of went into it blindly.” She explains that, while she did research and looked at the school reviews online, she wished they’d shopped around a bit more. That wasn’t the case, though, in Boston. “With the Boston move, I wanted to do our research and make sure we got all of the things that mattered. I wanted a community feel and the right schools. Suburban Jungle put me in touch with someone who lives here and really understood. I felt like I knew what Medfield was about and what I was getting into, which wasn’t what happened when we moved to Larchmont.” 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. 

From the Hills to the Port ​

 This NYC Family Heads to Long Island! Carolyn her husband James and their now-two-and-a-half year old daughter loved life in Forest Hills until, as she explains, she had her “moment.” “There’s a moment when you’re no longer on the fence about the city or the suburbs,” Carolyn explains. “It’s the moment when you break.” Hers happened on June 21st -- the longest day of the year. “I remember ours very clearly. We were sitting on the couch the June before we moved. We both came home from work and our daughter went to bed...and we were stuck inside. There was nowhere for us to go. We couldn’t go outside. We didn’t have a balcony. We felt totally trapped by our apartment.” It was then the family decided they had to go -- but they didn’t know where. “We just opened our computer and started looking. We called Suburban Jungle relatively early in the process to get as much information as possible, and we started seeing homes more seriously in August.”  The Suburban Jungle Experience Working with NYC Strategist Erika Ades, Carolyn and James explored their options, talking through New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island. “For us, we had a really limited search that we knew would make us happy...we knew we wanted to be in a destination that would attract our city friends and my family in Boston to come visit,” she explains. “We wanted to make sure people were interested in seeing us -- if there was any way for our home to feel like a vacation, we wanted it!” Early on, Carolyn and James ruled out New Jersey, feeling it was too far from both sides of the family. After briefly exploring Westchester, they immediately turned their attention to Port Washington where, she admits, she’d been focused on from the very beginning. “We wanted to hear about everything,” Carolyn adds. “We had an idea we’d choose Port Washington but we didn’t want to make that choice without all of the information.” The notion of finding a vacation-esque suburb also played a role. “That was one of the Port Washington draws,” she explains. “We have some friends who made a similar decision, buying a gorgeous home in the Hudson Valley, but for us, easy access to the beach was the thing,” and Port had it.  Keeping Their City VibeThe town also checked another key box: walkability. “We’re still city folk,” Carolyn says. “We still like convenience, we still like to walk to things. So a huge requirement was easy access to and a quick trip on Long Island Railroad,” which Port Washington delivered -- their home is a 15-minute walk to the train which, she adds, is “huge” considering they’re a one-car family. Port Washington also has highly-ranked public schools, which was important to the family -- both James and Carolyn wanted to send their kids to public school straight through, and needed a district where they felt “very comfortable” doing that.  Finding the Right Place to Call “Home”Once the family had settled 100% on Port Washington, the final step was finding the right home. “Our price point was lower than the average price point for Port Washington,” Carolyn explains. “But we were OK with that. We’d renovated our co-op and found having a house that’s to our tastes is great. So, as we started looking at houses, we didn’t mind having a lower budget because we knew wherever we landed we’d put money into it and make it our own.” While this approach scares some city-dwellers, Carolyn and James were full speed ahead. “We’re artists, so this doesn’t scare us. Part of envision space.” After a few offers fell through, they found their home. “The curb appeal wasn’t great,” Carolyn says, “but one of the reasons we chose this house was that the foundation was solid -- we didn’t have to do anything major. Our stuff was almost entirely cosmetic.” Going in they realized they could overcome any challenge with this particular home, “but you can’t change where you’re located,” she adds. “This house continued to come back to us,” and made sense from a cost, location and feasibility perspective.  Transitioning to the Suburbs Carolyn and James closed in February 2017 and moved in that June. “I think what we envisioned scared a lot of people,” she says of their renovations, “but our contractor did it and we’re so thrilled. We worked together.” After moving in, the summer was spent on the kitchen and, now, they’re focused on finishing up the basement and, eventually, adding a front porch. Overall, they’re thrilled with the end result -- and with life in Port Washington. “We didn’t compromise on anything,” Carolyn says, “except maybe the of the home. But that’s stuff we decided wasn’t important. And besides that, we knew we could make anything pretty with the right vision and the right amount of time.” Related Posts...In the 'Burbs with SJR Strategist Erika AdesThe Decisions After the Decision to Move to SuburbiaReady for the Suburbs?  Since moving, the family has truly discovered the benefit to life in the suburbs and, specifically, to life in Port Washington. “The transition was been great!” Carolyn says. “It’s not that much more of a commute than Forest Hills -- maybe 15 minutes more. The community has been great. And, coming from a co-op, we love that we have ownership over what we can and cannot do in and to our home.” The only challenge? "It's sometimes hard to get our city friends out here because we're on the LIRR and not the subway,” she says. “But usually after making the trip once and realizing how easy it is, we are having repeat visitors with no problem. They're coming out more and more." Their daughter is, now, two-and-a-half and enrolled in a local nursery school. Baby #2 is due in June. “Now we’re able to put her toys in a room and close the door -- it’s a good feeling!” And, beyond that, many of their hopes and expectations for Port Washington have become realities. “It’s a great place to live and my daughter gets to go to amazing schools,” she says. ”We live in a great neighborhood where we can walk to the train and walk back -- it’s really lovely.” Now, looking ahead, they’re eager to expand their family and to spend another summer in Port. “It’s awesome here,” she says. “Our last summer was great. I went to the beach almost everyday with our daughter. It was easy and fun -- it was so much better. We can’t wait for this summer.” 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 Featured in Realtor.com!  ​

What to Consider if You’re Considering a Gated Community  Depending on what market you call “home,” you may find yourself with the option to move into a gated community. “While it certainly sounds fancy,” says Realtor.com, “gated living comes with both perks and a few headaches.”  Read the full post, “What is a Gated Community? The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home Inside,” on Realtor.com   So what to know and what to consider if the gated life sounds appealing? For starters, think about your long-term wants and needs, and how that may -- or may not -- sync with a gated community. “If you want to make a particular aesthetic enhancement to your home,” says Suburban Jungle Founder & President Alison Bernstein, “perhaps a funky door or a solar-paneled roof—you might not receive the approval.” She cites homeowners associations in these communities with, often, trying to keep the peace by keeping properties and expectations in check. “If you're more of a rebel, you may need to rethink your home search,” the site explains. Related Posts...3 Things that are Very Different about the 'BurbsMoving from an Apartment to a HouseBuying your First Home? Be Ready for a few Surprises!  Read the full post, “What is a Gated Community? The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home Inside,” on Realtor.com  Now the big question: is a gated community right for you and your family? While there’s no right or wrong here, there is a lot to consider. Realtor.com’s article walks families through the pros and cons, so start here. From there, lean on your Suburbs Strategist to help understand the specific considerations from community to community and suburb to suburb. With this intel and insights, you’ll be able to make the right decision based on what works for you and 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 www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. 

The Push Off the Cliff ​

Why This Family Left Manhattan for Stamford Rene Rivas-Berdecia and his partner spent nearly a decade on West 54th Street -- and, before that, another 10 years in Chelsea. “My partner is from Brooklyn, so he’s been here even longer,” Rene says. “But he’d been working in Stamford for a long time. He did a reverse commute for 12 years. It was time to leave the city.” It wasn’t just the commute, though. After 20-plus years together in the city, the hustle and bustle weren’t quite as appealing as they’d once been. “We were right in the middle of everything,” Rene explains. “It was extremely convenient and really exciting for the first three years of living on 54th Street. After that, though, We were sick of it. It became too much.” Ultimately, “that was the push off the cliff for us.” Though they knew it was time to make the urban-to-suburban leap, the couple didn’t know exactly where or how to begin. “We didn’t know anything about the suburbs,” Rene explains, “except that my partner’s family lives in Farmingdale on Long Island.” They immediately ruled the area out, though. “The commute to Stamford would have been rough,” he says.   From there, Rene and his partner contacted Suburban Jungle and immediately began working with New York Strategist Maya Konig. After exploring Wilton, Norwalk and Stamford, Rene and his partner knew exactly where they belonged: North Stamford. “It was convenient. And besides that, it’s quiet and it’s really beautiful. We’re also, now, right on the New York border. We spend a lot of time in Pound Ridge, so that’s perfect.” The couple closed on May 31 and “we moved in the next day.” Related Posts...5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Moved To The SuburbsIs Suburbia In Your Future?Ready For The Suburbs?  Since then, Rene and his partner have been focused on getting their new home in order. “I’ve been setting up the house and painting and fixing up things here and there,” he says. “And we love it here. We get the environment and feel of Westchester, but we don’t have the same taxes.” He admits, though, that were initially afraid of making the leap. “We were a little scared to leave the city,” Rene says. “It felt like we were falling off the earth when we left Manhattan. But we’re having a great time. And the dogs have never been happier!” To city families considering making the leap, Rene offers a simple piece of advice: do your homework. “For us, it was key to study the differences between the suburbs,” he says. “We thought it was pretty much all the same in ‘the suburbs.’ But they’re all different. They have their own vibe. You have to do your homework. Once you do that, though, and the more you visit, the more the fear disappears. Now, we love it. We didn’t give up anything -- the restaurants, things to do. It’s great here. We’re so happy.” 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’s Alison Bernstein Featured in CEO Blog Nation!​

  Founder & President on Why SHE Started the Business Something unique inspires every entrepreneur and business leader—and the includes Suburban Jungle’s Founder & President Alison Bernstein. Inspired by her own experience moving her family from the city to the suburbs, Alison started Suburban Jungle. Her goal was simple—after not landing in the right town for her family of six, Alison wanted to ensure future city-dwellers had the insights, intel, and access they needed to decide where to call “home.” And, backed by that unparalleled information, they’d make the right decision every single time.  READ THE FULL ARTICLE, 21 ENTREPRENEURS EXPLAIN WHY THEY STARTED THEIR BUSINESS, ON CEO BLOG NATION!  Related Posts...Suburban Jungle Featured in The New York Post Suburban Jungle Featured in Realtor.comGetting Started in the Suburban Jungle “The Suburban Jungle creation stemmed from both an industry void as well as personal experience,” Alison explains. “Prior to the business launching, the real estate industry was underserving buyers and was focused solely on listings and sellers. The buyers represent 50% of all transactions, yet they have historically received no love from the industry whatsoever.” The company launched first in the New York City suburbs and, now, is in San Francisco, LA, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, DC, with plans to expand even more in the near future. “[W]e lived this exact experience,” Alison continues. “We were trying to figure out where to go—whether or not to stay in NYC or leave… and if we were to leave—which of the over 500 potential towns would be the right one for our family? Without any direction, or ability to get answers … it was a painful and stressful process. The industry was ripe for a service to solve this problem that affects almost everyone at this particular stage in life.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE, 21 ENTREPRENEURS EXPLAIN WHY THEY STARTED THEIR BUSINESS, ON CEO BLOG NATION!   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. Image Credit: CEO Blog Nation

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