The Real Deal New York

Suburban real estate: it’s a jungle out there

By Adam Fusfeld | March 01, 2012 07:00AM

Alison Bernstein

Westchester, Long Island and Connecticut can seem indistinguishable to longtime city-dwellers — that is, until they decide to move to the suburbs, when the vast array of small towns suddenly seems overwhelming.

Enter Suburban Jungle Realty Group. Founded by Westchester mom Alison Bernstein, the firm is licensed in three states and exclusively serves New Yorkers looking to buy real estate within commuting distance of the city.

Bernstein, a former Manhattanite who now lives in Armonk with her four young children, previously worked at Cendant, the former parent company of Realogy, where she oversaw the firm’s real estate brands. She first started Suburban Jungle in 2008, taking office space at 275 Madison Avenue. And in a recent change of direction for the firm, she hired 30 suburban consultants to answer clients’ questions about which town to look in.

The firm initially launched with “a handful of ‘mommy bloggers’” to help clients figure out where to move, she said. But she recently realized that each buyers had very specific questions, and needed more hand-holding.

“The consultants are residents of [these] communities who went through the process ,” she said, adding that they are compensated whether or not a sale closes, so they’re not motivated to sell the clients on any particular town. Taking this idea one step further, Bernstein is laying out preliminary plans for Urban Jungle Realty Group, which will help empty-nesters in the suburbs find a home in the city.