NYC Eats Headed to Westchester
Celebrity Chefs Open Up Shop in Westchester Westchester has long been a foodie haven. Not only have countless city chefs opened up outposts in the Westchester suburbs, but that area is packed with unique local favorites and one-off eateries you’ll only find here. Put it all together, and Westchester is a hotspot for families and for visiting foodies looking for a great meal out. The latest in Westchester restaurant landscape? café Alaia in Scarsdale. Insiders say the restaurant was supposed to open in Brooklyn but, after the lease fell through, the team brought it to the ‘burbs. Brooklyn’s loss is, hands down, Scarsdale’s gain -- café Alaia offers an upscale, authentic Neapolitan menu in a great space. Wee Westchester tested out this new must-try, sampling the beef meatballs with buffalo ricotta, Caesar salad and homemade pastas, all of which the reviewers loved -- and loved the “Park Slope” vibe. Check out the full review HERE. While it’s not confirmed, there’s also been significant speculation that BV Grill is moving into the open space on Chase Road, also in Scarsdale. If Bobby Van opened one of his restaurants in the area, he wouldn’t be alone -- Jean-Georges’ The Inn at Pound Ridge is the Westchester outpost of the famed chef. It joins his restaurants in New York, LA, Paris, Tokyo and Dubai, serving up an incredible and diverse menu -- think salads, pastas, fish, organic chicken and homemade desserts. Another NYC staple, now in the suburbs? Chef Constantine Kalandranis, who runs 273 Kitchen in Harrison as well as restaurants in Nyack and Mount Kisco. He and his team spent years in the city, before taking their neighborhood approach to Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley. And don’t forget BLT Steak in White Plains, sister restaurant to the original BLT on East 57th Street. Besides that, again, there are those amazing Westchester institutions. Blue Hill at Stone Barns was recently ranked #11 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant List, and was named the Best Restaurant in America. There’s also X2O Xaviars on the Hudson with Chef Peter Kelly at the helm, and Chef David DiBari’s The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry -- a snout-to-tail restaurant that could easily go head-to-head with any of April Bloomfield’s restaurants. They’re all Westchester classics, and they’re all attracting increased numbers of locals and visitors -- even city visitors -- night after night. 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.
Discovering Life in DARIEN
This Brooklyn family finds community, right on the water “We needed more space and housing choices can become limited in the city when you get to that level,” mom-of-two MC Hooper says. The family had lived in the West Village before moving to Brooklyn Heights before their first son was born. “The two of us had grown up in the suburbs,” she explains, “and we wanted that for our kids, too. So we started looking outside of the city.” That’s when a friend recommended Suburban Jungle. “We didn’t really know much about the towns outside of the city, except the town in New Jersey where my husband had grown up,” MC adds. “We reached out to Patti [Natiss, Suburban Jungle NYC Strategist] and she was super helpful in helping to determine what our needs were and helping us find good spots to look outside of the city.” Chief among those needs? A good commute—both MC and her husband work in the city. As they started exploring the suburbs, MC says, they were open to anything and everything. “We looked in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Patti suggested Summit and Chatham in New Jersey, Rye in New York and Darien and New Canaan in Connecticut.” Beyond the commute, they wanted strong schools for their growing family. “We really wanted a good school system for the boys—a competitive and highly-ranked school system was important, so that was a big factor.” They also wanted something family-friendly, with lots of young families and year-round activities, as well as strong sports program—the couple were both college athletes. Ultimately, the family landed on two towns: Darien and New Canaan. After digging into the qualities of both communities, MC and her family chose Darien, citing the commute as a key reason. “We also loved the fact that Darien was on the water. My husband grew up with a lake nearby, and we spent summer vacations on the ocean, so we wanted something by the water,” she says. In late June, they made the move from Brooklyn to Connecticut. Her younger son—now two months old—was born post-move. Related Posts...Our Foray into the Suburban Jungle III: Darien or BustWhy I Picked my Town: Meet Holly Robinson!From BK to CT... In the six months, the family has lived in Darien, they’ve already quickly adjusted to life in suburbia. “It’s amazing!” MC says. “We absolutely love it. We’re so happy where we are and the location. We can walk to the train station. And one of our really good family friends from Brooklyn is right across the street.” But their connections don’t stop there. “We’re surrounded by young families with kids our kids’ ages. They have a great newcomers group and working moms group, so I’ve very quickly and easily met people around town, and I really appreciate how active these clubs are.” Overall, “it’s been wonderful. Everyone is very open and friendly here.” That said, MC and her family are happy they stayed in the city as long as they did. “We appreciated being in the city when our older son was very young,” she says. “The convenience was great. We had the pediatrician a block away and the grocery store downstairs. The park was a couple of blocks away and the subway was on the corner. It was so easy to navigate things with a very young child.” She advises city families to “stay in the city when your kids are very little,” because “it’s so easy. But now our son loves to be here and be outside, in the yard and playing on the swingset. It’s been so good for him.”The biggest surprise, MC adds, has been an incredible one—the sense of community they feel in Darien. “It’s been incredibly overly above and beyond what the city was in terms of community and in terms of finding families you can connect with and have a support system with,” she says. “The sense of community here is unmatched. If that’s what people are looking for, I’d definitely advise making the move for that reason alone.” 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 TrendsToday'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.
Crime in Chicago is Up—and That’s Sending Many to the Suburbs
An increase in crime rates is making the Chicago suburbs an even more appealing—and safer—option If there’s one thing we’ve discovered in working with countless Chicago-area families it’s this: no two are ever the same. Sure, every parent wants A+ schools for their kids, but “A+ schools” means something different from family to family. And, likewise, people want access, opportunities and plenty of activities—but, again, each of those must-haves looks pretty different from family to family. That said, though, there’s one thing moms and dads don’t waiver on: safety. Parents consistently rank their kids’ safety as their number one concern. Not surprisingly, a host of crime- and safety-related fears account for eight of the 10 “big problems” parents worry about nationwide—think bullying, internet safety, gun violence and school violence, among other hot buttons. And, in that vein, it’s not surprising that more and more Chicago families are heading to the suburbs—the most recent census data indicates Chicago is losing more residents than any other city in the U.S. Violent crime in Chicago continues to rise. Between 2015 and 2016, shooting victims rose by 46%, and homicides were up 57%—levels the city and the country haven’t seen in more than two decades. The city alone accounted for 22% of the country’s homicide increases—more than New York City and LA combined. On the heels of these recent increases, more and more families are packing up and heading to the suburbs. Last year alone, Cook County saw a 21,300 resident drop, more than any other county. Just outside of city limits, though, two popular Chicago suburbs—Lake in the Hills in the northwest and western suburb Bartlett—were named the seventh and ninths safest spots in America, respectively. Bartlett had 90% less crime than most U.S. cities. Crimes were even lower for Lake in the Hills, which reported by 19 violent crimes in 2017. Related Posts...In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin!In the 'burbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather Jagher!What I wish I knew before I started the House Hunt... And these suburbs aren’t alone. Other Chicago suburbs to make the top 50 safest included Buffalo Grove (#12), Wheaton (#32), Hanover Park (#37), Huntley (#43), Hoffman Estates (#46) and Arlington Heights (#49). It’s a stark contrast to what’s happening in the city, and a big reason so many families are finally opting to make the move from urban to suburban. For many, it was a long time coming—they wanted the suburban schools, the big backyards, the space and the overall experience of raising their kids in suburbia. Seeing these increases in crime and citywide violence, though, was the tipping point, though—and judging from the latest numbers, we’re expecting to see more and more families make the leap in the New Year. 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.
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