From the Star Ledger:
It’s almost like a dating service for people looking for a home. It starts with answering an involved questionnaire that poses the usual questions, such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms are you looking for.
But then it gets a bit more personal: Where did you grow up? What did you love-hate about it? What’s your work schedule like? How do you spend your summers? What type of commute do you prefer — train, boat, bus, car?
It’s a holistic approach to house shopping for people who want to leave the big city hassles, but not the city experience. It’s for folks who want to live in a neighborhood where the barista knows their name.
James and Samantha Cordon filled out the questionaire by Suburban Jungle Realty Group, a Manhattan-based real estate brokerage geared exclusively to helping New York City dwellers adjust to a move to the ’burbs.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, about 41,450 New Yorkers crossed the Hudson River to plant their roots in the Garden State in 2011.
The Cordons were among the 2012 crop of transplants. They lived in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn for 10 years. He’s originally from Minnesota, and she grew up in Randolph. They met in college at Colgate University, found jobs in Manhattan, married and moved to Brooklyn.
“It was a great neighborhood,” James Cordon said. “It had old brownstones, great restaurants, great bars, great everything.”
But then along came their daughter, “and as soon as she started to walk,” he said, “we felt the walls collapse on us. It was a space issue.”
Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle Realty Group, said a significant portion of her business comes from Brooklyn, the once-trendy but now almost-as-pricey alternative to Manhattan.
“We work with a significant number of Brooklyn buyers,” she said, “and typically what I hear is, ‘I don’t want to be in the suburbs, I want a Brooklyn-y type environment.’ ”
She points them north to Connecticut, east to Long Island, and west toward New Jersey.
“New Jersey is always very popular with us,” she said, mentioning towns like Montclair and Cedar Grove that have a chic feel and easy access into Manhattan.
The Cordons found their home in Glen Ridge and moved from a “great”-but-cramped condo into a six-bedroom house with a fenced-in yard.
“We loved Park Slope,” said Cordon, a financial adviser with Morgan Stanley, “but we also loved Glen Ridge because it had a nice urban vibe that hearkened back to Brooklyn.”