May 23, 2018

Help City Dwellers Adjust to Life in the ‘Burbs

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Help City Dwellers Adjust to Life in the ‘Burbs

City dwellers confronted with the lack of space and high costs of city-living are making the move to the suburbs. But it can be an adjustment. To make the transition easier, some real estate firms are offering seminars and suburb specialists to help buyers make the decision of city versus the ‘burbs.

Read more: Make Your Listing Attractive to Young Families

In New York, real estate professionals are teaming up with suburban agents to offer seminars and “immersive tours” of the suburbs, The New York Times reports. The seminars dive into the concerns of families who are hesitant about leaving the city and offer step-by-step guidance on how to make the jump to suburbia.

“I’ve been referring to these people as reluctant urban defectors, because they don’t want to leave,” says Oliver Gold, a sales associate at Douglas Elliman who with a business partner created custom tours of the suburbs for city clients. “It is a real weighing of the pros and cons: ‘Can I live in that three-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up with one bathroom, or do I want to make the move?’ … I tell everyone that brings this up to me, ‘We don’t revoke your citizenship when you go to the suburbs. You’re allowed back.’”

A real estate advisory firm called Suburban Jungle also works with those who live in the city to help potential buyers find the right suburb fit to their lifestyle. The service expanded last year beyond just New York with offices now in San Francisco and Chicago.

Clients who take part fill out questionnaires, which include questions like:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What did you love/hate about each place?
  • What’s your ideal commute?
  • What things are most important to you in a community?

Participants are then assigned a “suburb strategist,” who works with them and suggests towns to explore. The service is free and clients are later referred to real estate professionals in the town they choose. (Suburban Jungle receives payment from a portion of the commission if the referred agent then sells a home.)

Some real estate professionals are offering their own events or seminars specifically catered to city dwellers who are being priced out of the city and unsure of where to move. Some agents are talking from their own experiences of moving from city to suburb to help others make the adjustment.

“The overall message: Life isn’t so terrible in the ‘burbs,” The New York Times concludes. “In addition to highlighting the better real estate values, each broker emphasized the cultural attractions, farmers’ markets and culinary options of their respective neighborhoods, often drawing comparisons to New York City.”

Source: “From the City to the ‘Burbs, Step-by-Step,” The New York Times (March 25, 2016)