Why Home Ownership is Different When You Live in a Small Town
Are you considering moving home to start living in a small town? Movement away from cities is speeding up, with net domestic migration to the New York City metro area dropping by 900,000 since 2010. That’s a trend we’re seeing more and more.
It’s not just the lure of fresh air that’s taking people out of our cities. Small communities are taking action encouraging people to move into what areas. They even offer incentives, such as cash grants and help with tuition fees.
This is because while 75% of the USA is classed as rural land, only about 16% of the population lives in these areas. Living in a small town isn’t for everyone, but they’re keen to have you if you want to live there! Let’s help you to answer the question. Is rural life for you?
Is It Cheaper?
You might think the answer to this is a simple yes, which seems like the obvious response. That’s more than likely to be true, but things aren’t as simple as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. You’ll find that some things can be more expensive in rural America.
Property is cheaper, that’s for sure. Manhattan apartments can cost $1 million or more. In the country, you can expect to pay more in the region of tens of thousands of dollars for a house.
However, you’ll probably also earn less living in a small town. Most prices are relative to earnings. But you may find that the cost of traveling to work or during your leisure time costs you more.
There are long distances to cover, not much public transport in a lot of places, so you’ll spend more on gas. You might also find that the cost of food fluctuates a lot. This is because the cost of gas affects the cost of driving the trucks which bring goods to your small town.
A Sense of Security
Living in a small town brings a sense of security to your life. It’s not unusual when you live in a city to see the police dealing with the effects of violent crime.
You may have seen some figures suggesting that it’s less safe to live in rural areas but this is due to a higher rate of traffic incidents rather than violent crime. So do be aware on the roads – they’re often not as well maintained as city roads.
In your day-to-day life though, living in a small town feels safer. Because it is. This feeling of living in a secure environment is often enhanced by the local community.
Lower Rates of Crime
To expand on the point about crime – the crime rates in small towns are a fraction of what they are as major cities. Crime exists in rural areas, sure, but this is more likely to be petty theft or vandalism than anything more serious.
Communities in Small Towns
A question for city dwellers – how many of the people living in your apartment block do you know by name? Thought so. Small towns are a more affable place to live. In the cities, people are so busy we barely notice each other, let alone take an interest in each other’s lives.
When you’re living in a small town, you’ll quickly find that everybody knows everybody. There can be a bit of gossip, but people tend to get on, on the whole. They’ve grown up together and many people will have lived there their whole lives.
People living in a small town are likely to be curious when someone new moves to town. You might not be used to it, but don’t think that they’re nosy when they come to say hello. Soon, everyone in town will know your name too. Which is a good thing – it’s a lot easier to make friends in a rural area where people have time to get to know each other.
This also means people are looking out for each other. Which helps to protect everybody’s homes. They know who lives where, so are bound to raise questions if someone they don’t recognize is letting themselves into your home!
Peace and Quiet
Tired of being woken up by ambulance and police sirens in the middle of the night?
Living in a small town guarantees you some peace and quiet. When you wake up, you look out your window and see a beautiful vista of meadows and fields. Rather than looking down on yet another traffic jam.
You’ll trade walking down crowded streets for hikes through the peaceful scenery. Supermarkets for small grocers. And high-rises for charming cottages. For some people though, things are too quiet. The pace of life is very different too, which a number of people just can’t get used to.
Rural Pace of Life
Life in rural areas is much slower than it is in the city. When living in a small town, most people quite quickly settle into the slower pace.
However, living in a small town might not be for you if the hustle and bustle of the city is what keeps you going. You might be a born and bred city dweller who’d do better in, say, Miami.
There’s less to do in rural areas in terms of entertainment, shopping, and museums. Having said that, you can always take weekend trips back to the city if you miss it – and strike a balance that way.
Rural life is far less stressful, so spending a good deal of time out in the sticks could do wonders for your mental health. If a slower pace of life does sound up your street, you should start looking for homes for sale in Idaho and similar states where there are lots of rural areas.
You may find that your work-life balance gets better, but maybe you thrive in a busier environment. Neither city or rural life is the answer for everybody!
Getting Hold of Things You Want
In a city, you can walk down any street you like and have a range of places to eat lunch. In a rural town, there might be one bar and one caf?. Maybe a couple of restaurants, depending on where you live.
That’s not a bad thing in all cases. The lack of choice is what causes people to come into regular contact and get to know each other. It can be nice to know the people working behind the counter, as well as your neighbors. They might even be your neighbors themselves.
However, it does limit your choice. You might get bored of going to the same sandwich bar for lunch every day.
When you need something to come through the mail ASAP, it can be a frustrating wait in rural areas. In a city, chances are a quick walk or short drive can take you to such a large number of shops that you never bother with mail order.
When you’re living in a small town, on the other hand, you’ll get a lot of practice filling in your card details for online stores. And potentially some anger when the delivery service can’t find your house, give up and go home.
Safer for Children and Pets
Will living in a small town benefit your kids? There’s less traffic and lot’s for them to explore. This means they’ll get a ‘wilder’ upbringing where they can go and discover the neighborhood by themselves. They’ll have all sorts of adventures that they’d never be able to have in a busy city.
You’ll know they’re safe out and about in a small town, particularly as the community will do its best to help if they’re ever in trouble.
Living in the country also means you can introduce a pet to the family. This isn’t impossible in a city, but living in a small town is much safer for a cat or dog. There’s less traffic, for example.
Health and Healthcare
As we’ve mentioned, the slower pace of life in the country could do wonders for your mental health. Plus, you won’t be breathing in emissions fumes all day. These have been proven to damage people’s lungs, and the effects are very harsh on children’s lungs.
The only thing you might like to bear in mind is that a small town may not have large medical facilities of its own. Hospitals and specialist treatment might be a few towns over, requiring a lot of driving time to access.
Cities, meanwhile, tend to have specialist treatment available pretty much on tap. Homeowners living in a small town have to think about how they will access healthcare when they need it.
One thing to think about when moving to a small town is the cost of utilities. If you’re very remote, you may find that your home, or the entire town, has no reliable gas supply. Some regions use oil heaters because of this restriction.
It’s also worth thinking about internet access. Some cities have access to super-fast broadband, whereas a remote rural town might still be trundling along at very slow rates. In fact, around 39% of American citizens living in rural areas don’t even have access to a broadband connection of any speed.
If you’re planning on working from home or starting a business that relies on the internet, this might affect you.
A recent Executive Order from the President’s office is looking to boost broadband access in rural areas. But an infrastructure project at such a scale will take a long time to complete. Another thing you should be aware of is that cell phone reception can be bad in the countryside. Which can be a source of frustration – again, especially if you’re running a business and need to speak to clients or partners.
The Types of Property Available
In the city, there are all sorts of properties you can get your hands on. Penthouse suites, townhouses and ‘bolthole’ apartments are all options. In a small town, there might be just a couple of common types of homes which have been built. They probably all look fairly similar.
There might be some rundown properties which have been abandoned years ago. These aren’t great places to live near if you have curious kids. However, on balance, they can also mean your own home costs less.
However, unlike the city (in most cases) you’ll get a yard. So you can actually sit out and enjoy the sun, for example, on your own property. Buying a good barbecue set is a top tip for your first summer in the country.
The alternative, in the city, is to join the heaving crowds heading to the park where there’s barely enough room to sit. Let alone cook a delicious meal.
Selling Your Old Home When You Move
We hope this guide has helped you figure out if living in a small town is for you. Most people sell their home when they move. The alternative is to rent it out, but that can be a headache. Particularly if you’re moving to a different state.
Give your house the best chance of a great sale price by introducing the ‘luxury factor‘. Minimalism is a fantastic way to do this, as it creates space where there was clutter before.
When you’re buying a new home, whether you’re living in a small town or not, there are also crafty ways to cut the cost. Our team will be very pleased to talk you through ways to maximize the sale price and help you through your move to living in a small town.
Whether you remain in the city or move to the countryside, we wish you the very best of luck with your move – and we’re here to help if you need us.