12.4.20 -Your Suburban Compass with Sari Shaw & Alana Benjamin !!


We have a new #fabULyssfind and one that all #divamoms and dads are going to thank us for!


Your Suburban Compass with Sari Shaw & Alana Benjamin!



 Q: Please tell our readers all about how you help best facilitate with their journey to the suburbs


With all the families and individuals that we meet, the first thing that we do is listen. Finding the right town and neighborhood is kind of like looking for your spouse. We are the matchmakers, and start by listening to what is important, how you see your life in the suburbs and what your goals are. We try to step out of the process and back in with guidance from you.


As former city dwellers, we completely understand where you are coming from, and can identify with any fears or misconceptions. We both left NYC kicking and screaming, and found happiness on the other side. There are so many buyers that either want to head East towards Long Island or head North of the city to Westchester and Connecticut, and they simply don’t know where to start. It can be really daunting, so it is also our job to work as a team and be your guide and take the journey step by step.


Q: As 2021 approaches quickly, many NYC parents are looking to move out to Long Island and Westchester. What does working with you entail? Please describe how you work best with NYC families looking to move to the suburbs.


Once we get an idea of what you are looking for, we brainstorm the best towns and neighborhoods that work for you. We consider commuting needs, budget, schools and most important the town vibe you are looking for. This is honestly the most important part. Do you want walkability, or maybe more of a quiet escape. Perhaps you have dreamed of a house with a pool, or living near the park. In addition to the dating reference above, we can use the recipe reference. All of these things are ingredients that shape the perfect town, for YOU. Meaning, there is no perfect town, but there is a perfect town (or maybe several perfect towns) for you. We often work with buyers looking simultaneously in Westchester and Long Island, and this allows us to share info about the types of homes and neighborhoods you favor, so we can call you and say, we found it!!! Our job is to be your advisors or personal cabinet.


Q: What have you seen an uptick in most recently? Moving to which area and why?


In Long Island we have seen areas that were strong before, remain strong, with easy commutes like Port Washington, Manhasset, Roslyn, Syosset, Jericho. But now people are venturing a bit further out, to areas like Locust Valley, Old Brookville, Dix Hills, Sea Cliff, Cold Spring Harbor, and other areas that were previously a bit overlooked because of their lack of an easy commute. Northern Westchester has appreciated the same sort of demand as commuting needs have become somewhat relaxed. Access to Metro north and parking are still very important, but communities like Chappaqua, Katonah, Armonk, Briarcliff, Pleasantville and Bedford are seeing massive increases. Connecticut in general has grown exponentially this year. Westchester has suffered for years with diminutive inventory while Connecticut has been able to benefit.


Q: When do you ideally think, is the right time to move out of NYC for families? Especially, now with the pandemic?


There is no “The Right Time only the timing that works for you. What we can say is we have seen people are now moving at all times, versus the typical purchase in the spring. What we do tell people is that even if you think you will not be moving for a year, you should start sooner rather than later, so we can help you get a sense of the market. This way when something comes along that is a good fit, you will be able to understand the market and what is good value.


Q: What do you suggest as far as the school districts and what is best for each family?


We are limited a bit in what we can say about schools, but we would urge you to not rely on the numbers or rankings. Some schools can be ranked lower because of low testing numbers (or even because of a hired rate of students opting out of state testing) or other reasons. Also, we have kids, and understand that a good school for one child may not work for another. We can help you find local resources (and groups) to dig deeper and comment on our districts in relation to our experiences within them, our ties to the community and the PTA.


Q: Will you be doing zoom tours of the homes with the new clients and or in person home tours?


Right now we are set up to do both, but the majority of people will come in person. We preview homes generally before they come on, and with our intimate sense of the market we will know and be able to discuss and evaluate with you most homes that come on the market.


Q: How long have you been both working in real estate? What made you want to work together? I love mompreneur stories.


Alana: I have been working in real estate full time for the past 6 years. Previously I was an attorney (although I am still an attorney), and practiced litigation and corporate negotiations. I worked with my mom for several years, she was the best of the best, and I grew up with real estate in my life, it feels part of my DNA almost.


Sari: I have been licensed since 2005, while working in media sales at Iheartmedia. I have been doing Real Estate full time in 2015. We met a few years ago, and honestly were instant friends. We treat our business in the same way, with a real dedication to our clients and customers, and realize that we are helping people make most likely one of the biggest decisions of their lives. We are friends and colleagues, and we can talk on the phone for hours about real estate generally.


  1. Sari is originally from Long Island so we have lots in common from work, parenting, and our strong belief in family first. Life is full of balance so when you can combine your personal and professional life, it makes it all the better. We have the utmost faith and trust in each other which makes our relationship that much easier.


Q: Do you set up calls and or zooms with potential new clients before they sign up to work with you? Please elaborate


We either do a zoom or a call, and then likely a tour of the area (socially distant of course). Initial needs analysis calls are vital to see first, if we are a fit with the prospective client and to curate a buying experience based on their needs. Zooms are far more effective than calls as you can pick up on so many non verbal cues. Body language is extremely important when trying to prepare. A facial expression can tell you so much more sometimes.



Q: How have you found the suburban house market as of lately? Is there a lot of inventory for buying and or renting homes? Which do you see more of right now and why?


 The inventory is SO LOW, so low! But we don’t let that discourage our buyers, and we know that there will be more properties coming on. Right now we are seeing just less movement because the normal channels of people downsizing and moving into the city are delayed plus with many college students working virtually, plans have been put on pause as well. This year can’t be judged in terms of selling patterns as it was such an anomaly. The Spring season was stunted and then restarted two months late. The Summer which should have been more of a slow down, was likely the busiest one that suburbia has seen since before the crash in 2008. It is not just New York, but Chicago , Washington DC , Seattle and San Fran to name a few, saw this type of suburban growth over the summer. The silver lining in this is that although we, as suburban agents , have transacted a lot more business in 2020, the prices are not up in the same proportion as the sales volume. For example, the town of Chappaqua , saw 50% more sales Jan-September in 2020, vs the same time in 2019, BUT prices are up under 10%. There are definitely more eyes and competitive bidding situations, but you aren’t seeing price increases that would be preventive to purchase. There are , of course, exceptions to every rule, but by and large, prices are still within reason.


Q: Please tell our readers anything else that you want them to know about your wonderful company and what they can expect when working with you.


Compass was founded in 2012 in NYC and has expanded nationally. We are now the #1 independent agency in the Country. We are blessed to be surrounded by innovators, captains of industry and exceptional agents who are all here to serve the same mission: Help people find their place in the world. We both came from different agencies and different prior backgrounds, but found Compass to be a thriving environment made for people who want to succeed. We couldn’t imagine doing this job someplace else. We have found our home and hope to help many, many more people find theirs.



Q: What is the best way to get in touch with you (please give your email, phone number and any other information)


Alana Benjamin Alana.Benjamin@compass.com , 917-680-1948 @livinginportwashington


 Sari Shaw sari.shaw@compass.com  917-597-7394 @compass.westchestersarishaw