The Cahow Family found the town and the house for their summer move—but when COVID-19 hit NYC, they decided to move immediately…
“Our kids love the house,” says mom of two Thailing Cahow. “I actually think they’re going to like it a lot less when we finally get furniture!”
Thailing and her family left Manhattan on March 26—just a week after they virtually closed on a house in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
“We chose the town and the house right before everything went crazy,” she said. “Our closing was scheduled and everything changed so fast. We wound up having to push the close date by a few days, which we did via FaceTime and then made the decision to move a few days later.” Under normal circumstances, she says, they would have moved in the summer, so kids could finish the school year in the city and then start school in the fall in Ridgewood.
“But with the closing of schools in Manhattan, we decided to just go for it,” Thailing says. “We bought a car online and had it delivered. We grabbed a few things and we just left. We don’t have any furniture, but we have lots more room for the kids to play. I’m so grateful. I’m so happy we’re here.”
Started their suburban search with plenty of time to spare…
Their search itself, though, wasn’t rushed—in fact, the family started last year.
In fall 2019, Thailing and her husband started pounding the suburban pavement, looking for a town to call “home.” They’d been thinking about a move for about a year, she says, when they finally connected with Suburban Jungle.
“We’re New Yorkers,” Thailing says, “but we aren’t from New York. So we really haven’t spent much time outside of the city—we didn’t know anything about the suburbs and didn’t know where to start our search.” One of her mom groups, she says, had mentioned Suburban Jungle, so Thailing reached out—admittedly, not sure what to expect.
“We had a conversation with our Strategist, Maya, and it was an immediate connection,” Thailing says.
Understanding the family’s priorities—a downtown, easy commute, strong sense of community, top-notch schools and lots to do—Suburban Jungle Strategist Maya Konig pulled together an initial list of towns during that first call. That first weekend, Thailing and her husband toured three towns in Westchester. The second weekend, they saw five in New Jersey.
“They really dove right in,” Maya says. “They hit the ground running and gave great feedback on the towns they saw that first weekend. That’s so helpful in refining their search. Sometimes people think they know what they want or maybe aren’t totally sure. Seeing towns first-hand usually helps them start to better understand some of those intangibles—like the vibe or general feel of a community.”
Resuming their search—and rethinking their summer move
By the time Thailing and her family resumed their search this past winter, they’d narrowed their list down even more. “We were settled on either Ridgewood or Summit,” Thailing says. “Both offered reasonable commutes, so that was a huge plus. They also have downtowns, which I really wanted. I was coming from the city, so I couldn’t imagine not having that.”
After getting an accepted offer in early February, the family moved ahead with a June move in mind. But then everything changed.
“I can’t believe how fast things changed,” Thailing says. “My intention, still, was to stay. Our entire lives are in the city. But looking back, I don’t think we could have handled being in the city.”
Settling into suburbia
Now in their house for just two weeks, they’re already settling in—despite not being able to get out as much as they’d like. They’ve even begun meeting the neighbors.
“We had a washing machine delivered—they said it was 100 pounds, so I figured my husband and I could manage getting it up the stairs ourselves,” she says. “But it definitely weighed more than 100 pounds!” A neighbor saw them struggling to get the machine in the house and immediately jumped in to help. Another neighbor, she said, dropped off a box of cookies and a bottle of wine—and wiped both off with a Clorox wipe, then left on the porch.
“It was so sweet,” Thailing says. “We were so touched. It’s a tough situation, but moving here has been an absolute blessing. The timing has been a miracle. We’re glad we’re here—and, at least until we have furniture, our kids think the entire house is a playground. And, hey—if they’re happy, we’re happy!”
Sometimes you just know it’s time to get out of the city and head to suburbia—and we can help. Schedule your Suburbs Strategy session now, whether you’re ready to move now or just want to start exploring your suburban options.