Why Picking The Right Town Matters Most​

Gone are the days of cruising through prospective neighborhoods, hoping to feel an overwhelming connection—and, sitting at the end of the block, the perfect home. Today’s soon-to-be suburbanite has infinite tools at their fingertips, from user forums to comprehensive research tools that help paint a picture you can’t get by quickly scoping the scene. In tandem with Suburban Jungle, prospective buyers can truly dive into the true vibe of a community, and make the most informed move for their families. Here’s where to start:

 

Nielsen PRIZM

Nielsen’s lifestyle segmentation defines every single household in America by a host of distinct lifestyle types. Together, these segments paint a picture of who lives in the community and what they’re like. The tool was created for marketers to enable more targeted outreach to key consumers—but, today, it’s completely free and used by tons of prospective buyers and real estate pros to get an unparalleled snapshot. Just enter a zip code and find out what household makeups look like, plus age and overarching characteristics—in other words, if you’ll be living within a “Bohemian Mix,” with “The Cosmopolitans,” “Young Digerati,” “Money & Brains” or something else.

StreetAdvisor

See what locals say about your prospective neighborhood—right down to the street—with . Users can search by neighborhood, plus drill down on personality type, things to do and more.

Neighborhood Scout

Looking for the true nitty gritty? Neighborhood Scout’s got it. The site has everything, from home values and type of real estate to school rating, demographics and more. With a paid premium subscription, prospective residents can even dig into crime rates and home appreciation rates.

 

Just understand, that no matter how much research you do online, or how much data you sift through, there is nothing that can replace a true understanding of a town—which is why Suburban Jungle exists. There are many things that you need to think about that your online searches will not cover, that a local real estate agent will not show you or think to ask.

New York Magazine’s “Science of Us” recently unpacked an interesting concept that’s relevant to anyone who’s made a move or, even, is considering making a move. That concept? That when we pick up and plunk down somewhere else, our own personality shifts to better mesh with the attitudes and behaviors in our new community. From New York Magazine:
 
 “Studies show that character traits, like anxiety and extroversion, vary from one state to another. There’s not only a New York state of mind; there’s also a Montana mentality and an Idaho id…Once a place gains a certain reputation—for example, as an enclave for artists or people of a particular religious tradition—others with similar inclinations move there themselves, thereby helping to cement that place’s character. And that character can stay somewhat consistent from generation to generation.” 
 
In other words, “Where you move…may be a better reflection of who you already are than of who you will become.”
 
It’s an interesting idea and one that many new and soon-to-be-suburbanites don’t fully wrap their heads around until they’ve put down some initial roots in their new ‘burb. But we see it every single day as we’re exploring communities from coast to coast, and helping connect city families with suburbs that match their family’s lifestyle and needs.
 
And this certainly isn’t a new trend. In 2013, The New York Times called out one of the most overt examples of their popular piece “Creating Hipsturbia.” The focus? Westchester’s sought-after River Towns, where NYC transplants were bringing all things Brooklyn with them—think yoga studios, vegan soap shops and a thriving arts scene to these anything but sleepy suburbs. At the time Suburban Jungle founder and president Ali Bernstein explained, “It’s all personality driven. The overall vibe there is very laid back. It’s not very big-box retail-y, not strip-mall-y.”

 

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Your goal? If you’re considering moving from urban to suburban, your focus should be on finding a town that syncs with your personality and your lifestyle, not just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’re looking for. That will not only help you and your family adjust, but will ensure you’re good to go now and in the future. Because, as New York Magazine explains, “a network of happy people can make a person happier; on the other hand, adults who move to new areas where they are in the ideological minority often feel isolated and become less able to take the perspective of others.” 
 
We couldn’t agree more.
 
 

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