Maybe your current place is feeling just a little bit too small. Maybe you’re tired of car alarms going off at all hours of the night and noisy neighbours and paying way too much money in rent or for your mortgage. On the flip side, maybe you’re tired of the long commute to work and back every day. Maybe you find the cookie cutter houses on every suburban street depressing. If you’re seriously considering moving from the city into the suburbs (or vice versa), there are a few things you should ask yourself first.
Living in the city has tons of perks; there’s always things to do, restaurants to try out, shows and concerts to see, and most major cities have a reliable public transit system. But with all those perks come some major downsides: everything is expensive. parking, rent, bills, you name it – it probably costs more in the city than it would anywhere else. You also pay more for much less when it comes to the size of the space you’re living in. With so many people crammed into so many small dwellings, you’re usually stuck with at least one annoying neighbour who doesn’t understand how to regulate the volume on their TV or stereo.
Living in the suburbs, by contrast, is typically much quieter; you and your neighbours aren’t constantly in each other’s spaces, you have your own yard and driveway, and you get a much bigger place for the same cost as you would a shoebox apartment downtown. By the same token, everything is homogenous. You have to drive everywhere. The only restaurants you’ll find yourself dining out at are major chain restaurants in strip malls with no character. Every time you want to go out or see a show you have to plan extensively (and no more nights out drinking unless you’re planning on paying for a taxi all the way back to where you live).
So which option is better for you? Here are some points to help you figure it out:
- Do you have kids? if so, will you be able to afford a place in the city with enough room for them? What about good schools close by? What day care or other forms of child care are available to you?
- What’s more valuable to you – your time or your money? Are you willing to sacrifice up to 4 or 5 hours a day commuting back and forth between where you live and where you work? Is the money you’ll save on mortgage payments worth the soul crushing boredom that can result from too many mindless hours spent in the car or on a commuter train?
- How much space do you need? Will the places you’re looking at moving into in the city in your price range give you enough room to live comfortably?
- How much do you value your privacy and a quiet living space? Can you deal with noisy neighbours blaring music at all hours of the day and night or do you need more of a buffer between you and whoever lives next to you?
- Which environment will give you the best peace of mind and make you the happiest? Which will be the easiest for you to go about your day to day life. Whether it’s running errands or dropping your kids off at school, which location is more advantageous to your lifestyle? Where will you and your family feel safest?
- Will getting to work and back be an issue? Will the commute take a toll on your mental health and how much downtime you have?
- Will you have the time and money to maintain a bigger property or is it taking on too much?
- Where does the rest of your family/your partner’s family live? What about friends? Will you feel cut off from them after moving and will that be an issue for you?
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