The move from the downtown area to the suburbs in any city is a jarring transition. You’re used to the go-go-go mentality that makes the downtown area unique such as the noise, the nightlife, and the walkable amenities. The suburbs are the complete opposite. It’s less noisy with no nightlife and very few walkable amenities. Of course, not all suburbs are like this, and you can live in a suburb that meets your criteria. Just focus on this checklist.
The primary focus in selecting a suitable suburb is researching the neighborhood. Discover what local amenities surround the area. A good mix is eclectic; it has boutiques, big box stores, restaurants, banks, gyms, laundromats, pharmacies, hospitals, movie theaters, gas stations, and public services (libraries, parks, post offices, 911 services, etc.). Check the police station or research online for crime statistics and history in the neighborhood. Drive to the neighborhood in person in the morning, afternoon, and evening on the weekdays and weekends for the neighborhood vibe and resident interaction.
A luxury of downtown is residents can walk everywhere. Many shops, restaurants, banks, and clubs (along with a concert venue) are near apartments, hotels, lofts, and condominiums. Residents can travel to amenities not nearby via alternative transportation such as Uber, taxis, buses, trains, and subways. In the suburbs, most amenities are near, but not within walking distance. It requires a vehicle to reach every amenity. Furthermore, public and alternative transportation is scarce or non-existent, so vehicles are must-have transportation in the suburbs. The flip side is a vehicle offers independence and freedom for you.
The yin to transportation’s yang is commute time. The distance between work and home or errands and home will determine whether moving to the suburbs is a good idea. Commute times longer than an hour causes stress and depression. It decreases family, spouse, and friend time. It decreases sleep time, exercise time, and mealtime too. Live in suburbs closer to the job to reduce commute time.
The downtown area rarely has schools nearby, but alternative transportation can salvage it. Many move to the suburbs for the schools. However, not all schools are the same. Select a suburb where schools are nearby. Additionally, learn about the schools and visit in person to determine which schools your children like attending so they can thrive in learning.
Let this checklist eliminate suburbs not living up to expectations and lead you to a suitable one. If the list inspires you to add additional criteria to the list such as property tax or resale value, do that independent research too. Learn everything about the suburb and let the neighborhood guide you toward home buying. Never let a beautiful home guide you to the suburb.