From the City to the ‘Burbs, Step-by-Step


From the city to the ‘burbs, step-by-step

For some buyers confronted with the high cost of New York City real estate, moving to the suburbs is a no-brainer. The prospect of more space for the money, a grassy yard and a less crowded public school outweighs the longer commute, the need for a car (or two) and the limited food-delivery options. Other buyers, however, would rather squeeze their growing family into a studio than abandon city life.

For those on the fence, there are a host of new real estate services to help with the decision.

Some New York City real estate agents have teamed up with their counterparts outside the five boroughs for organized seminars and “immersive tours” of the suburbs. The city agents get a cut of the commission if their clients decide to buy a house in the suburbs. The services, which reside somewhere between shrink session and sales pitch, intend to address the concerns of families unsure about leaving the city and guide them to suburbia, step by step.

“I’ve been referring to these people as reluctant urban defectors, because they don’t want to leave,” said Oliver Gold, a salesman at Douglas Elliman who, along with his business partner, Helen Arden, has been creating custom tours of the suburbs for city clients. “It is a real weighing of the pros and cons: ‘Can I live in that three-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up with one bathroom, or do I want to make the move?’ ” he said, summing up the debate. “I tell everyone that brings this up to me, ‘We don’t revoke your citizenship when you go to the suburbs. You’re allowed back.’ ” […]