Timing is EVERYTHING: Why It’s Never Too Soon To Start Scouting Suburbia
Considering moving to the suburbs “sometime?”
We hear it ALL the time. The city family with one toddler or preschool-aged child, plus a baby in tow or on the way. They love the city, but know moving to the suburbs are in their not-too-distant future. Maybe they browse houses online when they’re waiting for nursery school pickup, or poke around at moms groups in towns they’re considering. No matter what, though, they’ve got suburbia on their minds—but, still, don’t feel quite ready to take the plunge.
In short? We get it. We’ve been there, we’ve done that and we work with families every single day who are feeling the push and pull of urban versus suburban life. And our advice? It’s never too soon to start scouting suburbia. Even if your move feels months or years away, why not start pounding the pavement and exploring what’s just outside of city limits? When you’re ready, suburbia will be there—and, in our experience, it won’t look that much different than when you started your search…if at all.
While it may seem like window shopping, the reality is there are tons of perks to starting your search now even if moving to the suburbs isn’t next on your to-do list. For starters…
You Can Find the Right Town Right Now
Some families hit on the perfect town right out of the gate—and others don’t. Plenty of city families have zeroanchor when it comes to searching suburbia. Maybe they’ll wind up in Westport, but maybe they’ll wind in Chatham (or Chappaqua or Westfield…) at the end of the day. Who knows?
By starting their search early, they can give themselves the opportunity to really explore and rule out communities that don’t sync. No one likes to feel rushed, especially not when you’re making the most important decision of your life—moving to the suburbs. Why not spend a month digging in Westchester, digest, then take a month to get to know the Garden State? If you spot something that suits, great! If not—or if you want to really get a lay of the suburban land—you can keep plugging away into Rockland County, Long Island, Fairfield County and beyond.
And when you do find a ‘burb or two that fits, you can give yourself a chance to settle in and try it on for size. You may discover it’s a perfect match, or you may decide to move on. The good news? There’s no pressure one way or the other
You Can Be Out Before the Kindergarten Admissions Process
Many families are pretty invested in the preK process long before their child turns four. Whether it’s enrolling in the “right” threes program to ensure admission, or getting into a strategic summer program to move up on the list, parents are focused on the preK enrollment cycle for months or even years before. And, often, that’s enough for them—often, they want out before kindergarten admissions start to loom.
By exploring in the toddler and preschool years, you’ll be able to hone in on the right town for your family. And, if you’ve found The Town, it’s easy enough to find The House—which means not having to get so in the mix on the kindergarten admissions process, even if you haven’t closed quite yet…
Ahead of your closing date, you’ll be able to spend time getting to know your child’s future school district and, even, start getting some of the residency forms out of the way. And when you do close? Schedule time with the district registrar or principal at your child’s elementary school and get them registered. It’s infinitely easier—and infinitely more hassle-free—than the city process.
Easier still? If you’re opting for private school. Once you settle on a suburb, you can start the application process even if you don’t have your housing squared away. This process can take a few weeks or, even, a few months—might as well get a jump on things so you’re good to go after moving to the suburbs.
You Can Start Socializing in the Preschool Years
The preschool years are an amazing time for moving to the suburbs—or, at the very least, to start integrating in your new community. At this age, parties and play dates still involve the parents, and Mom and Dad are always front-and-center at activities, classes, games and lessons.
If you’ve zeroed in on a community, signing your kids up for an activity or two. Not only will this help them get acclimated and make a few friends, but you’ll start to meet your future neighbors and get an even better feel for what life will be like in the ‘burbs. And that will make your transition infinitely easier.
You Won’t Be Shocked By the Commute
If you or your spouse work in the city, picking a suburb with good commute is key. By identifying a town or two that fits the bill, you can dry run the AM or PM commute a few times and see what it’s really like. Is it totally painless? Quicker than your city commute? Can you snag a seat? Does the parking lot fill up super early? What’s the commute like once you step off the train—in the city or suburbia?
By test driving the commute a few times, you won’t be shocked on day one in the ‘burbs—something that happens to a lot of city families. You’ll have a sense of who’s who and what’s what before moving to the suburbs, and will be able to navigate the path from home to work and back again like a total pro.
You’re Ready to POUNCE When “The House” Hits the Market
As your desired move-out date gets closer and closer, you’ll have already done the hard work—all that you’ll have left is to find the right house. And, because you’ll have been exploring the town and its real estate trends and patterns for awhile, you’ll know a great house when you see it. This will help you move on the best properties and lock them down. While other city families are still thinking about what’s next, you’ll be confident in your decision and your offer—and that, often, gives buyers a serious edge more competitive markets.
You Feel “at Home” From Day One
You found the right suburb. Your kids are already elbow-deep in activities. You’ve made a few friends and, maybe, your children have started to hit the birthday party circuit. And, finally, you’re moving to the suburbs. But instead of feeling like you’re jumping into the unknown, you feel like you’re coming home—because, in a lot of ways, this town has been like a second home for awhile. It’s exciting, it’s empowering and it’s filled with endless promise—exactly how any move from the city to the suburbs should be.
Considering moving to the suburbs? To find the right suburb for your family based on lifestyle (and not just bedrooms and bathrooms…) CLICK HERE to begin working with a Suburbs Strategist.
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