There comes a time when apartment-dwellers think to themselves, “should I move to the suburbs?” Whether you’re on the hunt for more space, a backyard, or you just want some peace and quiet, you may feel like the suburbs are the obvious answer.
But every location has a few potential downsides, so consider each aspect before you shop for a house. Here’s a guide to help you think through whether the suburbs are the best move.
Reasons to Move to the Suburbs
There’s a lot to love about the suburbs! Between square footage, outdoor space, school districts, and more, you can enjoy various advantages when you move to a suburban area. Even though the suburbs are often geared for family life, you can still benefit whether you have children or not.
1. Square Footage
If you want more indoor space in the city, you’ll usually have to spend some big bucks. While living expenses in cities like New York and Los Angeles aren’t the norm, you can still encounter some pricy rental costs in smaller cities throughout the country.
Take Boulder, Colorado, as an example, where the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment adds up to over $3,000.
Conversely, rental fees in the suburbs are cheaper because they’re away from city centers. It’s also easier to find real estate for sale that makes sense for your budget.
If you secured a $250,000 loan at 4% over 30 years, your monthly payments would amount to less than $1,200. Then, you could buy a single-family home with more square footage than any affordable apartment would offer.
Those who want more square footage for their buck will benefit from a move to the suburbs.
2. Outdoor Space
These days, people appreciate outside space more than anything. That’s for good reason, too. Time in the outdoors can improve both physical and mental health, so many people want access to a private deck and yard, which isn’t always available in the city. If you do find an apartment with a balcony, you can expect to pay more in rent.
Plus, parks and playgrounds are much more accessible in the suburbs. There’s no need to walk across the city like many urban residents have to do to find a suitable spot for your kids to play. There are more chances for suburban residents to get outside.
3. School Districts
Unfortunately, cities don’t always have the highest-rated schools. While you can indeed find some excellent schools in metropolitan areas, your children may have a better shot at top-notch education in the suburbs. This decision may come with higher taxes, so keep that point in mind.
4. Living Expenses
Besides housing costs, which tend to be less expensive in the suburbs, you should consider how other living expenses in the suburbs may factor into your decision to move. If you relocate, you won’t have to pay for public transportation. Plus, food, shopping, and entertainment expenses should be cheaper when you’re not in the city.
If you want a larger home with access to private green space, better school districts, and cheaper living expenses, you may find that the suburbs look like the perfect option.
But the suburbs can be a little limiting in some aspects. Therefore, you should consider the cons.
Points to Keep in Mind About the Suburbs
Throughout the past year, 22% of Americans moved — and many relocated to the suburbs. However, you should remember that suburban life isn’t for everyone.
There are a few considerable differences between the city and the suburbs. Anyone who wants to relocate should think about the potential downsides beforehand.
1. Lack of Public Transportation
Most people who move to the suburbs have to buy a car. That’s because the neighborhoods aren’t as condensed, so you can’t always walk everywhere. Plus, you may not have access to a subway or bus line.
This expense can be significant, as you have to pay for the car plus insurance, maintenance, and gas. These costs will be more expensive than a monthly train pass.
2. Extended Work Commute
If you currently have a job in the city, your commute will be extended after you move to the suburbs. This extra time won’t always be a pain, especially when your new neighborhood isn’t too far from the city. But in some cases, your new route to work could be an extra hour, which can add up money-wise since you’ll have to drive.
3. Fewer Entertainment Options
For many city-dwellers, entertainment matters. If you currently live down the street from a comedy club you love, you may not be able to attend shows as frequently once you relocate.
It’s still possible to find some nightlife options in the suburbs, but they won’t be as common. Be sure to see what your local suburban neighborhoods have to offer, so you know what to expect.
4. Less Diverse Populations
Though the suburbs have slowly become more diverse, you should note that cities are still more likely to be home to various communities. Culture can be an essential factor for homebuyers, so you may want to consider your potential future neighborhood’s population before moving. Then, you’ll know a little bit more about what life would look like in that area.
Be sure to pay attention to the possible downsides just as much as the advantages. There are numerous benefits to the suburbs, but you may miss a few things about city-life when you pack your bags. Like with all big decisions, you don’t want to jump the gun.
The Verdict: Suburban Life Could Be for You
At the end of the day, your choice to move to the suburbs will be up to you. There’s a lot to enjoy when you leave an urban area, from cheaper square footage to lower living expenses.
That said, you want to think about what you may have to go without, too. As you consider the move, you should consider every point to make the best decision for yourself.