Urban vs. Rural Living: Things to Consider Before Making a Move
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Thinking about moving from the city or suburbs to the country? It’s a major change, we know! But with some thoughtful planning, there’s no need to worry. Here are a few topics we have found helpful to consider before making a decision.
Staying in touch virtually is easier than ever. But being able to regularly meet in person with the people you know and love is a real joy. If most of your friends and family live nearby in the city or suburbs, it might make sense to stay.
Things to Do—Amenities and Essentials
In a vibrant, multicultural metropolis like the GTA, there’s always something new to experience. Whether its arts, culture, fashion, food, major events, or professional sports, living downtown Toronto or in suburbs like Brampton and Mississauga, provides boundless opportunities.
Think too of daily needs like grocery shopping or going to the gym. Many rural communities lack amenities that city-dwellers sometimes take for granted. This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, though. With good planning, locally-obtained essentials can be topped-up by a weekly shopping trip to the nearest town or city.
Space, Nature, Pace of Living
But if your job requires your presence daily in the city, consider the drawbacks of a rural move. Rural communities are often served poorly, if at all, by public transit, which means you will be driving to and from work daily, likely for an hour or more each way.
That time spent behind the wheel comes with serious pitfalls, from the environmental costs (an increased carbon footprint), to impact on health (longer commutes equal less sleep, more stress) and personal relationships (less time spent with family). Not to mention increased maintenance expenses and—if you drive a gas-powered vehicle—the cost of fuel!
Other Things to Consider
Insurance can be more expensive in rural areas, due to a higher risk of fire damage and distance from emergency services. If your new home is located far from hospitals, learning first aid for medical emergencies can be a lifesaver, literally.
Backup power and a fallback method of communication are also important, especially in winter, since rural utility lines can take longer to fix than those in the city.
Buying a ‘fixer-upper’? Keep in mind that transporting materials and finding qualified contractors in rural areas is more challenging and expensive than in larger towns and cities.
Safety is paramount when buying any home. Since rural homes usually rely on an off-the-grid water supply and wastewater disposal system, having your water source evaluated is a must. A water potability test will look for E. coli and other harmful contaminants. If the water is contaminated, you may need a new (and costly) well and filtration system, as well as a new septic tank. There’s no need to worry: a qualified well and septic inspector will put your mind at ease.
Zoning bylaws restrict property use in various ways. For example, even if your new home comes with enough land to plant a small farm, there may be limitations on selling the produce, if the property is zoned exclusively for residential use.
Life is full of tricky choices. When it comes to choosing a home, take time to weigh your options carefully before making a decision. Think about your life now, what you want it to be, and what you value. Consider the pros and cons of moving outside the GTA vs staying local, but don’t be afraid of change because it can be refreshing. You’ll make the right choice for you and your family!