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What's your suburban house-hunting strategy?

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While there is some research now that millennials may be comfortable staying in cities even as they grow their family, there’s also a degree of realism to this equation — and generations of history for families. Typically, as your family expands (1-2 kids), you need more space. This usually will involve a move to “the burbs.” Almost every sitcom in history has a sequence or episode about this: friends visiting friends in the burbs, friends struggling to avoid the burbs, etc. It’s the entire plot of some movies.

Now, the way America is built out, many cities feel like massive suburbs — especially as you get out of the Northeast corridor.

But we all know the concern about moving to the burbs. It’s the same deal as the minivan issue. People think it means they’re getting older, there’s nothing left, the youth is behind them, and now it’s about this house and this new car and no more nights out with friends. While this is a reality for someone, it’s not necessarily across the board normative. Many suburban types have very active lives, even if it’s not exactly the same as their urban life.

OK, so all this brings me to a broader point: in the Boston area, or other metropolises, shopping for that first/second “expansion” home can be tough. First, prices are very high, so that’s a challenge.

But second: even if you have friends or family in specific burbs or have done tons of research on Google/real estate sites, how do you really know how “Suburb A” is different than “Suburb B?” You won’t know until you live there, right? And by that time, you already have a mortgage.


I came across a cool site called Suburban Jungle, which does operate in Boston. (Also seems to be in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Dallas.) They also have a “suburban strategy session request,” where you can input info about your family and needs. They get back to you to talk specific suburbs.

I know a lot of us ultimately find that first expansion house based on the specific burbs we can afford, but knowledge is power, right?

What’s your take on:

  1. Moving to the burbs overall
  2. Figuring out where to go

Leave any thoughts!

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