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Looking Past School Rankings & Finding Their #1

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Portrait of a family in their front porch

This Hoboken family didn’t land where they expected—and they couldn’t be happier.

 

 

Though they were already in New Jersey, Jean Hur and her family were ready for a more suburban experience. 

 

 

“We were in Hoboken,” says Jean. “But with two kids—at the time, they were four and one—we wanted more space. We also knew we needed to figure out schools since our oldest was getting ready for kindergarten.” 

 

 

The family reached out to Suburban Jungle in February 2018, connecting with Strategist Patti Natiss. Initially, Jean was focused on the Rivertowns. Patti, though, wanted to make sure the family really got a sense for suburbia, and that they explored a variety of towns that synced with their wants, needs and personality. 

 

 

“We focused on suburbs that had a real sense of community and strong schools,” Patti explains. “They weren’t swayed by rankings and things like that, which really opened them up to lots of different communities and helped us cast a very wide net.”

 

 

Over July 4th weekend, Jean and her family visited Westchester, focusing on the Rivertowns. 

 

 

“Coming from Hoboken, they seemed to still want that access—not just to the city, but to great restaurants, culture, activities and things for the kids to do,” Patti says. “After they explored Westchester, we regrouped and visited the list and kept going from there.” 

 

 

Exploring suburbia 

For the next few months, Jean and her family toured towns, narrowing down their list with Patti and, ultimately, landing in Montclair, New Jersey. “Based on their experiences and town feedback, Montclair seemed like a good fit,” Patti explained. “There’s a strong sense of community, lots to do and top-rated public schools.”

 

 

Jean agrees. “Our priorities shifted and we decided that community was more important than commute.  We knew we’d never find anything with as easy of a commute as Hoboken anyway!”

 

 

Once settled on Montclair, Jean and her crew began searching for the right house. They moved in January 2019, 11 months after they started their search. Before they even moved, their neighbors invited the family to a block party—and, as they soon discovered, they moved right across the street from another Suburban Jungle client. 

 

 

“Suburban Jungle was a great resource for us,” Jean explains. “Patti was incredible throughout the process—knowledgeable, responsive and a pleasure to speak with every single time. And, in the end, we didn’t end up where we expected—and I can’t imagine being anywhere but Montclair now.” They’re loving life in the ‘burbs, she adds, and they haven’t looked back. 

 

 

“My advice to city families? Don’t be too swayed by statistics,” she says. “There’s a ranking for everything, but that doesn’t mean it’s how you would rank things. Trust your instincts and pick the place that makes you feel the most at home.” 

 

 

Choosing the right town to call “home” is the most important decision you’ll ever make—why go it alone? Get in touch and our expert Suburbs Strategists will help you navigate the ‘burbs and find the right town to call “home.”

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