@properties opens office in Valparaiso, Ind., buys tech firm Suburban Jungle Group

by Timothy Inklebarger

Pictured from left: Dawn Collins, Thad Wong, Kelli Peek and Jim Oster at the Valparaiso ribbon-cutting event.

The expansion continues at @properties with two recent announcements — the Chicago-based brokerage opened its newest office in Valparaiso, Ind., and the company acquired real estate technology and advisory firm Suburban Jungle Group.

@properties celebrated the launch of the new office at 57 Franklin St. with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on June 17, and news of the Suburban Jungle Group acquisition was announced July 7.

The New York-based Suburban Jungle Group currently offers service in Chicago, Boston, South Florida, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Founder and Suburban Jungle President Alison Bernstein will remain head of the company, according to an @properties press release.

“This is lead generation unlike any other,” @properties Co-CEO Thad Wong said. “Suburban Jungle clients have a strong understanding of where they want to live and why, and they are ready, willing and able to purchase a home. The conversion ratio is off the charts because the client experience is off the charts.”

The tech company was founded in 2004, while Bernstein was a student at Columbia Business. As a student, she set out to determine which of 500 cities and suburbs in metro New York would be the best place for her and her family to relocate.

“We saw an opportunity to bring objectivity and personalized know-how to the home search,” Bernstein said in the press release. “Believing that where you live is at least as important as the home you live in, we set out to establish a concierge service to answer the very specific questions Google can’t answer and to create a pressure-free environment in which buyers can find the perfect town for their lifestyle.”

Suburban Jungle strategists work directly with clients, conducting in-depth interviews and pulling from a vast dataset of variables to pair prospective homebuyers with their ideal community. Additionally, the company’s Jungler app enables buyers, agents and strategists to share information and connect with local sources on questions about the community.

“This is a marriage between two high-tech, high-touch companies that share a goal of introducing more consumers and agents to an amazing buy-side experience,” @properties Co-CEO Mike Golden said. “Certainly, there are synergies that can drive growth for both @properties and Suburban Jungle, but our main focus is supporting Ali and her team to make a great service even better.”

The purchase of the tech company and expansion into Valparaiso is among many advances @properties has made over the last two years. The firm purchased Atlanta-based Ansley Real Estate and Charlottesville, Va.-based Nest Realty in 2019. In 2020, @properties launched their first franchises in La Crosse, Wisc. and Detroit, Mich.

At the Valparaiso grand opening, Wong said the company is “thrilled to bring our best-in-class service and technology to the Valparaiso area, at a time when so many are looking for their perfect home in Northwest Indiana.”

“Our new location in the heart of downtown positions us well to serve the needs of area home buyers and sellers in Valparaiso and its surrounding communities,” he added, noting that the rush for larger homes and open space — a development driven by the pandemic and those seeking to reduce their property tax bill — increased residential transactions in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties by 15.6% over the the last 12 months, while the average sales price has increased 13.6%.

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