I have spoken with alot of clients this past year contemplating leaving the city to move rural and vice versa.
Weekend getaways are giving city dwellers a taste of how the other half lives. Let’s explore the differences of city life versus country life.
- If you live in a city, you may daydream of rolling hills and fresh air, only to be awakened by noisy upstairs neighbors or police sirens coming from the streets below.
- If you live in the country, you might find yourself yearning for the thrill of the city: the theatre, the restaurants, the sights, the sounds.
Advantages of living in the country
Peace and quiet: As you get further away from the hustle and bustle of a city, you’ll notice the sounds of construction sites and 24/7 traffic are replaced with birds singing, crickets chirping and small-town church bells. Life in the country seems to scream “slow down,” and for some, the quiet can be deafening. Looking for a home in the countryside? Consider how the ambient noise of your surroundings might affect you and whether absolute silence is the goal.
Lower housing costs: With shorter commutes, more career choices and a variety of cultural and entertainment options, living in or near a city adds to the value of a property. So while you won’t find a small rural town on a “most expensive places to live” list, you will get way more house for your money outside of the city. As for choice, single-family detached homes are in abundance out here, many with a proper garage, a laundry room, tons of extra closet space and outdoor space, probably for less than a standard condo might cost in the city.
Breathing room: Living in the countryside offers remarkable lifestyle and health benefits, and at a much lower cost per square foot. Country homes are generally larger, with gardens, lawns and spaces to stretch out. In contrast, outdoor space in city apartments — if they exist at all — come at a premium, usually in the form of a small patio, or shared roof deck. But with nature at your doorstep, living in the countryside provides lots of room and plenty of fresh rural air — a bonus for your physical and mental health.
Community: Rubbing shoulders with thousands of other people every day — on public transportation, in crowded elevators and on city sidewalks — doesn’t necessarily translate to more connections. Even though cities can be socially energizing, you can go years without ever knowing your neighbors. Life in the country works differently. With a slower pace and lower crime rates, neighbors make a point of getting to know each other. And local book shops, cafes and hardware stores become regular gathering spots. Finding a welcoming community is half the battle when searching for a new home in the country.
Benefits of living in the City
Career opportunities: City dwellers looking to switch jobs find it a lot easier to sneak in an interview before or after work, or during lunch hour, especially when prospective employers are only blocks away. That’s not always true for people living in the country who might spend long hours commuting or stuck in traffic. Unless you can work remotely, residing outside of the city can also mean fewer career options. High-paying jobs in finance, medicine, law, advertising, retail and more, tend to be found in cities. That can mean more opportunities, better salary prospects and shorter commutes for those choosing an urban life over a rural one.
Public transportation: Owning, insuring and parking a car in a city can be expensive, so you may ask yourself if you really need one. Public bus routes, trains and Ubers make it easy to get just about anywhere you need to be. That’s why many city dwellers — especially millennials — have shunned car ownership altogether, and carry a driver’s license for ID purposes only.
Compare that to those living in rural areas: without wheels, they’d find themselves stranded when it comes to groceries, doctor’s appointments and even dating. Love it or hate it, you can’t argue that public transportation puts everything in the city within reach.
More amenities:Cities generally have more choice when it comes to restaurants, bars, theatres and cinemas, meaning far more options for fun nights out with family and friends. And if you are into something a little more niche, there’s a better chance of finding like-minded people in a compact city than in an area that’s more sparsely populated. Common amenities such as supermarkets, dry cleaners, banks and doctors are usually within walking distance. Plus, getting around by foot is an excellent form of exercise and helps reduce your carbon footprint, too.
Don’t forget about services you’ll need to stay connected: Wi-Fi and telecommunications coverage are almost always better in the big cities, so if you need online access for work, the country life may be a little challenging.
Choice in housing: Naturally you will have a wider variety of choices when it comes to housing options in the city....detached, semidetached, condos, townhomes all provide choices depending on your budget.
Are suburbs the best of both worlds?
If you can’t make up your mind between city vs. country living, consider the suburbs. You’ll be closer to nature than city dwellers and probably get more room and more privacy. Plus, a suburb will put you closer to decent restaurants and shopping options than you may find in a rural setting. Granted, you’ll still probably need a car, but everything’s a trade-off! Despite how you feel about big box stores, many suburbs have retained charming downtown districts that can temporarily satisfy your fix for some urban-style shopping and dining. But don’t fool yourself, just because you’re looking outside the city, it might not be cheaper: prices can sometimes be comparable to innercity limits. At the end of the day, a home is just that....a home. You can always try country or city living for a couple of years and if you decide it is not for you, well at least you know! There will always be a home available for you to make new beginnings at any time in your life. You will never know if you don't experience it first hand!