Aside from price and square footage, one of the most common questions prospective home buyers ask is where to buy a house. From cities to suburbs, different places have their own pros and cons. For example, the suburbs may mean a longer commute to work, yet they provide more outdoor space and are generally quieter than cities. On the other hand, cities are full of entertainment and action, and many amenities are likely to be within walking distance. If you are considering buying a home but aren't sure where to begin, this guide can help you make an informed decision.
The City vs. the Suburbs
From space to price to convenience, there are many factors to consider when you are deciding whether to buy a house in the city or the suburbs. There are pros and cons for each location. Sonja Dalbey, a Coldwell Banker Burnet real estate agent, said that the location a person chooses ultimately depends on the person's life stage and important values.
She explained that families with children may tend towards larger homes with big lots and ample play space, which makes suburban living a better choice. In addition to larger homes, other benefits include families who enjoy being part of a close-knit community, which you generally won't find in cities, along with the fact that there are many neighbors and playmates for children close by. Another benefit of having more space is that it provides more room for pets. For many animals, a fenced-in yard or park, both of which appear often in suburban areas, can provide the space they need to get exercise during the day.
However, Dalbey noted, cities can provide action and entertainment, which can be hard to come by in suburban areas. She explained, "City life offers more condos, walking, shopping, restaurants, nightlife, etc. Living in cities can limit the space you have compared to the suburbs." Cities may not provide as much outdoor space or square footage as the suburbs, but families can often find things to do, including ways to keep children entertained. For those who don't want to own a car, cities are an optimal choice.
Making the Right Choice
Given the benefits and drawbacks of living in the city or the suburbs, it can be difficult to decide which is the right choice. As a real estate agent, Dalbey is familiar with this issue, which is common among home buyers of all ages. When prospective home buyers are unable to decide, or are having trouble figuring out which location would be the best fit for them, she encourages them to think of the lifestyle they want, and how much space they need or desire.
Although areas outside of cities provide more space, this can mean more time spent on household chores, maintenance and yard work. For some families, this is a small price to pay for all the benefits that a suburb can offer. However, others may find that they are unable to keep up with the work, or are unwilling to spend such a large amount of time and effort on home maintenance. For such individuals, cities can be a better choice. Most apartments and condos require no maintenance, from indoor space to outdoors.
When deciding where to buy a house, Dalbey said, schools can be another factor. Parents who want to send their children to certain schools may need to move to a nearby location. She suggests that if schools matter, the family should research which school will be the right fit for the children. In many cases, the school will likely influence where the family will move, whether it's the city or the suburbs.
Whether you are deciding where to move or are weighing the pros and cons of each location, you should keep the cost of living in mind. This includes the cost of home insurance, which is particularly valuable to have when you move. Events such as fires, storms and even break-ins can leave you feeling helpless without a good homeowners insurance policy. You can start by contacting a Trusted Choice® independent agent to get several quotes, which are generally lower than other big insurers.