When David Leibowitz was looking to move his growing family from Brooklyn to the suburbs, he had to dig around the internet looking for information on prospective towns. That gave Leibowitz, who eventually settled in Maplewood, N.J., an idea. In early August, he launched the website PicketFencer, giving people looking to move to the New York City suburbs a way to narrow down the search from among 600 towns on Long Island, as well as in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, and in Connecticut and New Jersey.
On the home page are a several featured communities, including Port Washington, where the commute to New York City averages 44 minutes and the average home value is $770,800.
“My experience, when I went through this myself, was there was really no single sources to find out about the many, many options,” says Liebowitz, who grew up in Manhattan and spent summers at his family’s home on Fire Island. “From the user perspective, people are pretty excited to have a unified source of all that information.”
At picketfencer.com, users can filter their search results by commute time and school rating, with information culled from Google Maps and the website GreatSchools, and also get information on the average home value, collected from Zillow, and walkability, with rankings from the website Walk Score. There are feeds from social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Yelp showing photos, posts and local restaurant listings from each town.
“That gives you more a sense of a community’s personality,” Leibowitz says.
There are also plans to offer a concierge town recommendation service.