Even though its still winter, we know that you are dreaming about warmer weather and the excitement of summer. Maybe you’re daydreaming about sailing around on your boat or laying on the beach you know that this summer you are going somewhere. But where should you relocate? Picking a summer home can be quite difficult and time-consuming. We recently spoke with Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle, a real estate strategic relocation firm. Check out our interview below with Alison as she speaks on how Suburban Jungle can help ease the stress of finding a vacation home.
What is Suburban Jungle?
The Suburban Jungle is an innovative, disruptor in the world of residential real estate. The firm is dedicated exclusively to helping families leave URBAN for SUBURBAN; including the unsuburb, The Hamptons! The Suburban Jungle’s “town first” approach to real estate helps to make certain that home-seekers are looking in the right places, and more importantly asking the right questions. The company is based on lifestyle, not bedrooms and bathrooms…
How does Suburban Jungle work?
Suburban Jungle house hunters are each assigned their personal strategist with whom they can create a personalized search approach based on their family’s distinctive personality, needs, and interests. Using technology and proprietary methodology, the company is able to customize a list of towns and develop a personalized home search strategy that will fulfill the individual wishes of the client. Free of charge, all advisory is completely objective. The key to the service is understanding the intangibles of each town, and ultimately how the family would fit in there… For example, you may think you have found this perfectly awesome historic barn to park yourself. But what you might not know is that the street is filled with share houses or an ambulance cut through; that with traffic it takes an hour to get to your best friends BBQ. Once made aware, chances are that the cuteness of the barn will quickly fade. Suburban Jungle will help guide you away from such scenarios and toward more fitting ones.
As for a beach getaway like the Hamptons, some families may want to surf all day, while another may choose a more secluded sort of getaway. Whether farmers markets, beautiful boutiques or backyard barbecues, the team at SJ is ready to bestow your home away from home. For NYC families, understanding the true inside look and understanding if you want an in-town location versus a more acreage and privacy is paramount. There are tradeoffs for both and understanding your family, how you live and how you plan to use the home is just the tip of the iceberg.
What was the inspiration behind this real estate firm?
The inspiration was both personal experience as well as an industry demand. I saw way too often families buying the “right house” in the absolute “wrong town”. It is a huge emotional and financial decision…ultimately affecting how you raise your children and the key important questions you often don’t consider as you are too worried about mud rooms and kitchen counters.
What are some of the challenges that people face when buying a vacation home?
They often feel that it needs to be “special”, as this is not a necessity but a luxury. They plan to always “overuse” it. Meaning, that they try to justify the purchase by saying they will be up every weekend, every vacation and as the reality sets in and kids have plans, vacations differ, people get a bit more realistic. The other issue is sometimes the financial justification is difficult. For example, at your primary residence, you are always there. That is home. While in some cases a vacation home is a must-have (dependent upon where you live and the way you live) for the majority it is a nice bonus. Putting in the investment for a home that ultimately will get used 30 days per year is tough to justify sometimes.
What is one thing everyone should know when looking for their first vacation home?
Don’t overthink it. It is a luxury, enjoy! Think about where your friends are and how you will use the home. For example, if you plan to entertain and bring your friends out every weekend, don’t decorate kids bedrooms as their own…your friends won’t love waking up in a crib or a hot pink bedroom…
Think about how you will entertain and ultimately the season you will use the home most and how it will be flowing. Do you plan to move out in August and work from there for example? Does it have a quiet enough office? Is there appropriate cell coverage so folks can get in touch?
Click here to get more information on Suburban Jungle.