Real-estate experts (and real parents!) share the factors that make families relocate.
“We were getting kicked out of our apartment (the owners wanted to sell it), so we didn’t have much of a choice,” Hill says. But the decision to leave Brooklyn—where Hill’s entire family still lives—was one they made on their own, due not only to a desire for more space, but also a list of irritants that included the dirt and grime of urban living. “Our other triggers included the broken glass on the sidewalks, the worry over the kids running into the street, and navigating the narrow [store] aisles with our double stroller,” she says. “Oh, and someone almost hit us throwing a urine-filled bottle out their car window!”
You haven’t found your parent tribe.
Loneliness is another reason many parents find it’s time to move.
“When you are a new parent living in New York City and you find yourself feeling isolated or without any baby playmates for your little one, it may be time to consider a move,” says Amy Owens, a real estate broker at Keller Williams in New York City. The same thing can happen in the suburbs if you’re living in a neighborhood populated by mostly older families.
You feel like you’ve aged out of your ’hood, as in you’re the only one with a baby and everyone else is crowding into your favorite local bar for happy hour. While this neighborhood once felt familiar it can suddenly feel strange to be in a different life stage from pretty much everyone else around you.
“When you start feeling like you’re the only one on your block with a stroller it may be time to move,” Bernstein says.
Your bustling neighborhood is starting to be annoying.
When your busy morning schedule clashes with the neighborhood’s late-night vibe, it can also feel like a big disconnect. For example, if your favorite café is empty during the day but packed at night you might feel left out and exceedingly out of place.
“It’s extremely taxing as well when people are out partying in the streets until all hours of the night keeping you and/or your whole family awake,” Bernstein adds.
You already know people in the town you’re considering.
Having pals already in place always eases the transition. They can show you where to buy groceries, what the schools are like, and which pediatrician to choose, as well as clue you in to favorite traditions in town where neighbors gather, such as Fourth of July parades, tree-lighting ceremonies, or Halloween events, Margel advises. “The transition was seamless since we knew a few people in town,” she says. “This made it very easy to adjust.”
And you just might find other urbanites living in your new town, too. “The good news is that a new home doesn’t always mean moving away from your friends,” Owens says. “Many New York City suburbs are loaded with residents who just a few short years ago were your Brooklyn and Manhattan neighbors.”
You’ve always dreamed of owning a home.
For many families, saving for a home of their own is an important goal.
“A lot of long-time city dwellers find themselves itching to cross the Hudson once their family grows in number,” Owens says. “A home in the suburbs also comes with the added bonus of a backyard, good public schools, and a community of your contemporaries.”
For Margel and Hill, leaving the city for the suburbs turned out to be one of the best things they ever did and they mostly have zero regrets about the decision.
“We love the shopping,” Margel says. “We have every store imaginable within 15 minutes. Well, I love it, my husband not so much!”
And if you end up missing a lot of things about your former neighborhood, you can vent about this, too, with your new neighbors who are likely going to be easily able to relate to how you feel.
“No matter how much we love our new town, we do miss my family, the pizza, and the bagels,” Hill says.
An easy fix: Just take the train, bus, or ferry back to your once-favorite neighborhood for the day. You might just come to realize that you miss fewer and fewer things about your neighborhood the longer you’ve put down roots in a new—and exciting—place.