Thinking of Moving from City to Country?


On the loudest, smoggiest days in the city, it can be tempting to leave it all behind for a life in the country. And there are certainly some wonderful benefits to retreating to a more pastoral setting—but it’s important to carefully think through the differences in lifestyle between city and country before uprooting your life. If you’ve gotten serious about this as a possible move for your family, here’s a little homework for self-examination.

Adjustments To Prepare For

Things will be very different in the country. You won’t be heading to the corner store for a single lime for that last minute guacamole, or ordering delivery Thai food at 10 p.m. anymore—country living requires advanced planning when it comes to food, and stores close early. On the upside, you won’t have to haul your groceries home on foot or on public transportation, or sit in city traffic in your car for 45 minutes just to buy some milk.

If you transition to country living, you’ll want to make sure you have what you need when you head home from work. It will also mean delays in wintertime road clearing and the potential for longer-term power outages from storms. Somewhere in this, you’ll see why many rural homeowners store extra drinking water, generators, and snow removal equipment that probably wasn’t quite as critical in town.

Improvements To Rejoice About

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Perhaps two characteristics draw more people to rural areas than any other: The appeal of a small community where you get to know other people, and the pleasant surroundings of more open spaces. And while these are definitely upsides to escaping the concrete jungle, probably the difference that will affect you most, at least initially, is the real estate market.

Because city buyers rarely move out of town, the rural market is softer. For you as a buyer, that means that you’ll get considerably more home for your dollar by relocating. And come tax time, you will get a pleasant surprise at the relatively small number of line items on your bill–as well as the considerably lower assessed value.

The Bottom Line

Real estate comes down to the bottom line. What’s important to remember in this whole process of weighing your options is that it’s different for every single person. Your neighbor in a city subdivision could move right beside you in the country, having failed to consider all the differences between city and country life, and regret the decision, even as you celebrate.

Consider your social needs. Do you require a long list of restaurant options and cultural events to attend, or do you mainly stay home and cook? Do you want a dozen other kids on the same block to play with your kids, or would you prefer they socialize with just their siblings? What is your working situation? Will you get called out at 3 am to make a long drive back into the city for an emergency? Would you be more frustrated or amused getting stuck in traffic behind a farm tractor? Can you handle a relatively limited number of school choices for your kids?

Like any move, a city-to-country relocation is one to consider carefully. Don’t make the transition without examining all the impacts.

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