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What Buyers Need To Weigh Before Moving To The ‘Burbs

The pandemic has accelerated the move from cities to suburbs — and it’s easy to see why. Living in the suburbs has its perks, but there are downsides, too. Here are a few pros and cons you need to know about.

If you experienced as crazy of a 2020 as the rest of us, you certainly must’ve noticed what may have seemed like a mass exodus from the city to the suburbs.

But even before the pandemic, dense cities like New York and San Francisco were often regarded as “net loss” cities — as in, more people moved out of them than in. COVID-19, of course, accelerated the departures.

Many urbanites are tired of paying city rates when they no longer need proximity to a downtown office — and they’re ready to trade up by moving out. There are some obvious pros and cons to this kind of move, so make sure that you’ve  considered these 10 things before you sign on the dotted line.

Benefits of living in the suburbs:

1. More space (for less)…

Living, working and educating in a tiny apartment or condo is enough to make just about anyone want to move to a bigger place in the suburbs. You can increase your buying power if you’re willing to move out of the city, giving yourself the budget for that bigger kitchen, home office or playroom. Moving out of the city may also offer perks like a garage or yard to enjoy.

2. Easier access to nature…

There’s a reason the city is called a “concrete jungle.” Moving out of the city means easier access to nature, whether that’s a hike up a mountain, a trip to the water or a simple walk around the block.

Not to mention, there’s growing evidence that time in nature benefits both physical and mental wellbeing. But, walker beware — the sidewalks you’re accustomed to don’t always exist on suburban streets!

3. Better schools…

Those people planning a family will want their kids to attend good public or private schools. The suburbs often deliver. It’s important to help evaluate the local options before buying a property, and is a good place to start their research.

4. Safer communities…

According to sources like the National Center for Victims of Crime, major cities have higher property crime rates, household burglaries, theft, etc. compared to surrounding suburban areas. If your clients are particularly concerned about crime, have them look into the safest suburbs in their area.

5. Slash in salary?

Moving to the suburbs can save money in terms of housing costs, but some companies reserve the right to reduce employees’ salaries if they move to lower-cost locales.

For example, Facebook has been a big proponent of remote work, but remote workers’ rate of pay will be tied to where they work. Make sure you are fully aware of any changes to their income before making a move.

6. Maintenance costs…

One the biggest downsides to a bigger home in the burbs is the cost of maintenance and upkeep. Make sure you are prepared for routine home improvements like repairing the roof or upgrading the bathroom, plus physical labor like yard maintenance, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow, etc. (Pro tip: gift them a home warranty).

Plus, be on the lookout for HOA fees. Many new suburban developments have homeowner associations — find out how much they cost and what they include.

7. Longer commute…

You may work from home now, but that may not last forever. Moving out of the city will mean a longer commute for many, and it will probably cost more (including gas, tolls, more frequent oil changes, to name a few). Is this in the budget?

8. Got transportation?

On that note, you’ll probably need a car. While this may seem obvious, you may be so preoccupied with the home move that you have not given much thought to a vehicle. Maybe you have a car but didn’t consider that you might need a second. Either way, it’s helpful to make sure you’ve had this conversation.

9. Less physical exercise…

Although they might have more access to the beautiful outdoors, suburbanites often get less regular exercise than their urban peers. Although there may be room for an in-home gym, you should consider exercise before buying a property. And don’t forget to look into local amenities, such as gyms, community centers, organized sports, etc.

10. Fewer opportunities to mingle…

As many of us have probably noticed in 2020, humans are innately social creatures. You will likely be eager to meet new friends in their new locales, but this isn’t always easy in the suburbs.

In fact, the way neighborhoods are designed can actually reduce the spontaneous encounters people need to help them make new friends. You may want to research social opportunities in the communities under consideration and make a plan for staying in touch with family and friends.

Are they ready to make the move?

If your set on moving to the suburbs, make sure you’ve got the right professional movers to get them there.  I highly recommend receiving three estimates before making a decision. Happy moving!