All of us have a picture in our minds when we hear the words Suburban Living. For some of us, it’s a beautiful picture consisting of family fun, dog walking, cookouts, pool parties, close-knit neighborhoods and large homes. For others, the words Suburban Living paint a picture that is considerably less pleasant… feelings of complete boredom, ridiculously long commutes, screaming children and isolation.
But… what is suburban living really like? Are the lovers of suburban living perhaps over romanticizing it? And, on the contrary, are the haters of the suburban life being to hard on it?
These are all great questions and great questions that we will answer as we list the pros and cons to moving to the suburbs. But first…
What is a suburb?
Before we dive head first down the suburban rabbit hole to help you determine whether or not moving to the suburbs is a good idea, we first need to answer a big question –– what is a suburb?
The term suburb is slightly ambiguous and can certainly vary drastically depending on the city you live in. For example, a suburb in Indianapolis, Indiana is going to look a bit different than a suburb in say San Francisco, California.
Dictionary.com answers the question “what is a suburb?” by defining the term “suburb” as being a district lying immediately outside a city or town. But, even this definition is a bit blurry because here at Bellhops, we have moved many people to suburbs that we wouldn’t define as being “just outside a city or town”.
With that said, being that we have written an endless amounts of articles covering the various neighborhoods and suburbs scattered across the United States, we would define suburbs as follows… a neighborhood lying within a commutable distance outside a city… whether that be five minutes, fifteen minutes or a half an hour. To make the answer to “what is a suburb?” a bit clearer, we will share with you the following difference between neighborhoods and suburbs… neighborhoods are located IN a city… suburbs are located OUTSIDE a city.
Now, without further ado, let’s discuss the pros and cons to suburban living.
Suburban Living: The Pros.
There are plenty of pros and cons to moving out of the city and taking on suburban living, but since we are optimists here at Bellhops we will start with the prose.
One of the biggest pros to suburban living is having your very own green space. While some cities certainly have more green space than others, it’s public green space which means less privacy and less control over what you and your family might see. Young couples making out, a drunk shouting babble at a passerby and countless piles of dog poop are not outside the realm of possibility when visiting your city’s public park or green space. Plus, when you have your own yard, you can design it how you please. You want a trampoline, a massive grill, a pool and a volleyball net? Do it, nobody is stopping you.
Have you lived in dorm rooms and shared apartment spaces your entire adult life? If so, there is a good chance you know a thing or two about lack of space and privacy. Generally speaking, homes located in suburbs have more space between them and certainly more privacy. You can walk around in your boxers while eating cereal without ever having to worry about running into a roommate’s girlfriend or boyfriend. Plus, you will have so much more space for activities. Think: ping pong tables, entertainment systems, a full-size kitchen, etc.
Yet another benefit of suburban living is the quiet that comes with it. While there are many wonderful aspects of living in a city, the constant noise is not one of them. If you are an individual that loves peace and quiet and are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, buying a house in suburbia may not be a bad idea.
A major con to renting an apartment is paying money to the landlord each month. Let’s say your rent over the course of five years averages out to roughly $1,000 a month. In five years, you will have paid out $60,000 that you could have invested in paying off a home. With that said, if you are someone who jumps around a lot, buying a home isn’t the best idea. But, if you are looking for a long term investment, you should take a harder look at suburban living.
You can only make an apartment so homey. At the end of the day, it is an apartment where you are living with hundreds of other people in a single massive building. Where as with a home, you can make it feel like just that… a home. You can design the interior and exterior exactly how you like and it can be a place you raise a family in. That, in and of itself, is pretty cool.
Suburban Living: The Cons.
If you are used to being a city dweller, the commute that comes along with suburban living can get old pretty quickly. Gone are the days that you can step outside your apartment door and be seated at a delicious restaurant in minutes. The one truth to suburban living is this –– it comes with more time spent in a car. Unfortunately, it is the trade off one makes when moving the suburbia.
Another con to moving out of the city is moving away from the bustling bar scene, stellar restaurants, concerts, professional sports games and friends. Individuals who live in a city tend to have a more vibrant social life. With that said, if you have a family, you might want to spend more meaningful time with them… which can be found in suburbia. But, if you are a social butterfly that loves being around friends, you should think twice before making the jump.
One aspect of living in a city that people take for granted is the convenience. If your kitchen faucet breaks, it is the apartment’s responsibility to fix it. If you want to go and enjoy the city’s greenspace, you don’t have to worry about mowing the grass before hand. Unfortunately, suburban living comes with more responsibility. In the winter you will need to shovel your driveway… in the fall you will need to pick up leaves… and you will always have a lot more space to keep clean…
While you will certainly be investing your money versus giving it away to the landlord, this doesn’t mean that suburban living doesn’t come without a price. When you own a home, you unfortunately have to make more purchases. Think: lawnmower, weedeater, gardening equipment, washer and dryer, refrigerators, multiple TV’s, etc. We always recommend that individuals interested in living in suburbia first have a healthy amount of savings they can pull from… because it is expensive.
When you are moving out of the city, you are also moving out of a place where a beautiful array of cultures and people comes together. If it is important for you to raise your kids in an environment that is diverse, you will just have to work a little harder to expose them to experience that they could find in a city.
So… should I move to the suburbs?
Having finished this article, we hope that you will now be able to answer this question for yourself. With that said, if you still are on the fence… we can offer you this one piece of advice.
Ask yourself what is most important to you and your family? Is it convenience, flexibility and having plenty activity? Or, is it privacy, spaciousness and more quiet?
If it is the latter, you might consider taking on suburban living.
While your bathroom might be small, if you’re like most people, you have a lot of stuff stuffed in there. Some of the stuff will go with you, and a lot of it won’t, but before you can move into your new place, you have to move all that stuff out of your old one.
We’ve put together this short but helpful guide with some apartment hunting tips. We’ll tell you our favorite sites for apartment hunting, what you should be looking for when looking for an apartment (it’s not always obvious), and a list of 10 questions to ask when renting an apartment.
You’ve decided to move into your first apartment. A step you’ll remember as one that moved you closer to more options and independence in your adult life.