Our Foray into the Suburban Jungle Part II: Wish Lists
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Tara Giblin and her family continued their hunt for THE suburb to call “home.” And, despite their initial feelings about Connecticut (in a word: FAR), the area seemed to check most of Tara’s boxes. But wanting NO post-move regrets she continued to scour the region, building her wish list from commute time to public school quality to downtown must-haves. The end result? Lots of looking paired with a healthy dose of home buyer reality which, together, pushed them closer and closer towards the perfect community.
We always knew it was more than just finding a home. When it came to making The Move, we really wanted a community. Even before we were Suburban Jungle clients, we believed in first finding the right suburb, then finding the right house. And being pretty Type A, I felt the need to scour every possibility—I wanted NO regrets post-move.
With all of that in mind—and, of course, based on commuting needs and proximity to family—we quickly honed in on “just a few” spots: Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut, specifically. With Long Island and Rockland off the list, that really narrowed things down, right?
From there, we made our wish list based on what we loved about the city. Our town had to have good public transportation (i.e., its own train station—and the shorter the ride to Midtown Manhattan, the better!). We also wanted a walkable downtown with shops and restaurants, engaged residents, easy access to outdoor recreation (so long Central Park, we’ll miss you!), diverse architecture, and reasonable taxes. And, firmly at the top of the list was something we were not guaranteed in NYC: excellent public schools. I spent hours online, finding listings and analyzing town data. My favorite thing to read was The New York Times Living In article each week.
This wasn’t the first time we’d dipped our toes in the suburban water. Always knowing this move was in the cards, we’d already browsed many Westchester towns that checked our must-have boxes…almost. Most of the towns had the train, schools, shops, homes, playgrounds and running trails along rivers, beaches, or parks. But the taxes that paid for all of that wonderfulness were a bit north of reasonable. In fact, my practical, Midwestern-raised husband simply could not wrap his head around Westchester’s taxes.
With Westchester on the backburner, we turned to New Jersey. Despite what MTV would have you believe, New Jersey has some beautiful towns and taxes are—let’s say—lower than in Westchester. Again we found great places, some with easier commutes than others. But suddenly, it wasn’t enough just to have a train station. We also didn’t want to have to transfer during the AM/PM commute—and we definitely didn’t want to rely on a bus, especially given recent winters! That scratched a few more contenders off of our list, and within a few weeks, we were feeling pretty dejected.
Our next stop? Connecticut…but it seemed so far. While we loved the feel of New England, it was still another geographic region! Beyond that, we’d already experienced I-95 on a Friday night while trekking to visit family in Boston. In short, it was no picnic. Even when we’d jumped off the highway to outsmart traffic—meandering through some idyllic neighborhood straight out of Stepford Wives—we’d snap back to reality realizing we were still a good hour from Midtown. In short, no dice on Connecticut.
Frustrated and a bit aimless, we decided to contact Suburban Jungle.
Maybe we were doing this wrong, we thought. Maybe Suburban Jungle would recommend a diamond-in-the-rough-town we had yet to discover.
As it happened, Suburban Jungle had no diamonds in the rough for this Type A homebuyer. But what they did have was even more valuable: a dose of perspective and some very good advice…
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