Are the Suburbs Right for You?

By: , Contributor

Published on: Feb 10, 2020

Are you ready to leave city life behind?

City life has its perks. When you live in a city, you often get access to nightlife, great dining options, and a host of entertainment. But if there's one downside to living in a city, it's that you'll typically get very little space relative to what you pay. In the suburbs, you'll generally pay much less per square foot so that the same monthly rent or mortgage payment buys you a larger living space.

But moving to the suburbs has its drawbacks, too. Here's how to tell if it's the right thing for you.

Benefits of suburban life

More space

The main upside of living in the burbs? More space. You'll generally score a larger home for less money. Also, in a city, you may not be privy to outdoor space or much in the way of storage. Your suburban home, on the other hand, might come with a large yard, two-car garage, and basement.

Peace and quiet

Another perk of moving to the suburbs? Less noise and more privacy. In a city, you may have no choice but to live right up against your neighbors, and that lack of separation could make life less pleasant. In the suburbs, your house doesn't need to be pressed right up against your neighbor's. You might, for example, have a solid half-acre of property so that it's impossible for you to hear your neighbor's loud TV or blaring music, and vice versa.

Fewer crowds

Also, if you're not a fan of crowds, the suburbs could be a good choice for you. You'll no longer have to wait in line at a street corner to get down the block or rub elbows with fellow shoppers at the supermarket. Generally speaking, in the suburbs, you have fewer bodies crammed into the same limited space, which could make for a more pleasant existence.

Drawbacks of suburban life

Transportation costs

But living in the suburbs has its downsides, too. First, you may find that you need a car to get pretty much everywhere, and that's an expense you often won't contend with in a city. Sure, city dwellers still need to pay to use public transportation, but the cost of a monthly bus or rail pass might pale in comparison to the cost of owning or leasing a car.

Less natural exercise

Also, having to drive everywhere means getting less natural exercise. As such, your health might suffer a little if you opt for the burbs.

Fewer amenities

You may also find that being in the suburbs puts you far away from the things you need or want to access, whether it's shopping, entertainment, or your job. And while suburban life tends to offer more choices as far as parks and outdoor activities go, if you're really into things like theater and fine dining, you may find that you're starved for stimulation and great food if you trade in your downtown studio apartment for a 2,000-square-foot home well outside city limits.

The costs of a larger space

Another thing: Though you'll generally get more space for your dollar in the suburbs, having a larger home means having to fill it with furniture and having to heat, cool, and maintain that space. As such, the savings you're hoping to reap may quickly dissipate.

Are the suburbs right for you?

If you have a family and want the option to spread out and gain storage space, then a move to the suburbs could be the answer. But if you're single or kid-free, and you're not desperate for space, then the city could be a better choice for you.

Of course, this isn't to say that families don't do well in cities. In fact, there are really no hard and fast rules as to whether the suburbs are ideal or not, so the best you can do is think about why you might be looking to move to one, and then weigh the above pros and cons to land on the right choice for you.

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