If you experienced as crazy of a 2020 as the rest of us, you certainly must’ve noticed what may have seemed like a mass exodus from the city to the suburbs.
But even before the pandemic, dense cities like New York and San Francisco were often regarded as “net loss” cities — as in, more people moved out of them than in. COVID-19, of course, accelerated the departures.
Many urbanites are tired of paying city rates when they no longer need proximity to a downtown office — and they’re ready to trade up by moving out. There are some obvious pros and cons to this kind of move, so make sure that your clients have considered these 10 things before they sign on the dotted line.
Benefits of living in the suburbs
1. More space (for less)
Living, working and educating in a tiny apartment or condo is enough to make just about any client want to move to a bigger place in the suburbs. Your buyers can increase their buying power if they’re willing to move out of the city, giving them the budget for that bigger kitchen, home office or playroom. Moving out of the city may also offer perks like a garage or yard to enjoy.
2. Easier access to nature
There’s a reason the city is called a “concrete jungle.” Moving out of the city means easier access to nature, whether that’s a hike up a mountain, a trip to the water or a simple walk around the block.
Not to mention, there’s growing evidence that time in nature benefits both physical and mental wellbeing. But, walker beware — the sidewalks you’re accustomed to don’t always exist on suburban streets!
3. Better schools
Those people planning a family will want their kids to attend good public or private schools. The suburbs often deliver. It’s important to help clients evaluate the local options before buying a property, and greatschools.org is a good place to start their research.
4. Safer communities
According to sources like the National Center for Victims of Crime, major cities have higher property crime rates, household burglaries, theft, etc. compared to surrounding suburban areas. If your clients are particularly concerned about crime, have them look into the safest suburbs in their area.
Downsides for people coming from the city
5. Slash in salary?
Moving to the suburbs can save money in terms of housing costs, but some companies reserve the right to reduce employees’ salaries if they move to lower-cost locales.
For example, Facebook has been a big proponent of remote work, but remote workers’ rate of pay will be tied to where they work. Make sure your clients are fully aware of any changes to their income before making a move.
6. Maintenance costs
One the biggest downsides to a bigger home in the burbs is the cost of maintenance and upkeep. Make sure clients are prepared for routine home improvements like repairing the roof or upgrading the bathroom, plus physical labor like yard maintenance, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow, etc. (Pro tip: gift them a home warranty).
Plus, be on the lookout for HOA fees. Many new suburban developments have homeowner associations — find out how much they cost and what they include.
7. Longer commute
Your clients may work from home now, but that may not last forever. Moving out of the city will mean a longer commute for many, and it will probably cost more (including gas, tolls, more frequent oil changes, to name a few). Is this in the budget?
8. Got transportation?
On that note, they’ll probably need a car. While this may seem obvious, your clients may be so preoccupied with the home move that they have not given much thought to a vehicle. Maybe the couple has a car but didn’t consider that they might need a second. Either way, it’s helpful to make sure they’ve had the conversation.
9. Less physical exercise
Although they might have more access to the beautiful outdoors, suburbanites often get less regular exercise than their urban peers. Although there may be room for an in-home gym, clients should consider exercise before buying a property. And don’t forget to have them look into local amenities, such as gyms, community centers, organized sports, etc.
10. Fewer opportunities to mingle
As many of us have probably noticed in 2020, humans are innately social creatures. Your clients will likely be eager to meet new friends in their new locales, but this isn’t always easy in the suburbs.
In fact, the way neighborhoods are designed can actually reduce the spontaneous encounters people need to help them make new friends. You may want to help them research social opportunities in the communities under consideration and make a plan for staying in touch with family and friends.
Are they ready to make the move?
If your buyers are set on moving to the suburbs, make sure they’ve got the right professional movers to get them there. Be sure to share your go-to list of movers to alleviate the stress of finding and evaluating their own. I highly recommend clients receive three estimates before making a decision. Happy moving!