Author Topic: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs  (Read 1713 times)

TheFrenchCat

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Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« on: June 07, 2018, 07:43:00 AM »
My husband, daughter and I will be moving soon to be closer to his family (nuclear+2/3 of extended).  We'll be renting month to month on the lake where most of his family lives while looking for a house.  Given the market in the area, it's far cheaper to buy than to rent.  There's three towns where we're considering buying:  the small city where his job is (I work remotely), the lake where his family mostly is, or a suburb where the school we want to send our daughter to school. 

The job city is 30 minutes from his family, 30 minutes from the suburb town and 45 minutes from our ideal high school for our daughter.  The lake is about 30 minutes from his job and the high school and about 20 minutes from the elementary school.  The suburb is about 20 minutes from family, 30 minutes from job and 10-15 minutes from the high school.  The real estate markets are very strong in the suburb and at the lake, and dismal, but very cheap, in the job city.  Prices of what we'd want are around $100-150k in the suburb, about $250k at the lake and about $75k in the job city. 

We're very close to his family and would love to live near them.  But I grew up in a suburb and have never lived more than a mile from a grocery store.  The lake is 15 minutes from the closest grocery store, 20 minutes from church (which is in the suburb town) and is horrific in terms of walking anywhere apart from to the lake or to family, who would be our next door neighbors. My husband would probably want to live on the lake asap.  I think I'd prefer the suburb at least till our daughter's done high school, and then maybe move to the lake.  So we're still hashing out what we actually want, but this isn't contentious.  We fish and kayak, so the lake would be awesome, but I'm apprehensive about how remote it is. 

Where do you think we should live?  I'd also any other advice on our situation.  Especially from people who understand why I'm hesitant about so much driving.  It's too normal for his family (his dad commutes 1.25 hours and one uncle commutes 1.5 hours, each way, almost all highway.  Another uncle used to commute 6 hours to the other side of the state, stay there during the week, and drive home on the weekends.  I love them, but that's way too much for me.).

Thanks! (and thanks for reading the novel)

Jrr85

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 08:05:40 AM »
My husband, daughter and I will be moving soon to be closer to his family (nuclear+2/3 of extended).  We'll be renting month to month on the lake where most of his family lives while looking for a house.  Given the market in the area, it's far cheaper to buy than to rent.  There's three towns where we're considering buying:  the small city where his job is (I work remotely), the lake where his family mostly is, or a suburb where the school we want to send our daughter to school. 

The job city is 30 minutes from his family, 30 minutes from the suburb town and 45 minutes from our ideal high school for our daughter.  The lake is about 30 minutes from his job and the high school and about 20 minutes from the elementary school.  The suburb is about 20 minutes from family, 30 minutes from job and 10-15 minutes from the high school.  The real estate markets are very strong in the suburb and at the lake, and dismal, but very cheap, in the job city.  Prices of what we'd want are around $100-150k in the suburb, about $250k at the lake and about $75k in the job city. 

We're very close to his family and would love to live near them.  But I grew up in a suburb and have never lived more than a mile from a grocery store.  The lake is 15 minutes from the closest grocery store, 20 minutes from church (which is in the suburb town) and is horrific in terms of walking anywhere apart from to the lake or to family, who would be our next door neighbors. My husband would probably want to live on the lake asap.  I think I'd prefer the suburb at least till our daughter's done high school, and then maybe move to the lake.  So we're still hashing out what we actually want, but this isn't contentious.  We fish and kayak, so the lake would be awesome, but I'm apprehensive about how remote it is. 

Where do you think we should live?  I'd also any other advice on our situation.  Especially from people who understand why I'm hesitant about so much driving.  It's too normal for his family (his dad commutes 1.25 hours and one uncle commutes 1.5 hours, each way, almost all highway.  Another uncle used to commute 6 hours to the other side of the state, stay there during the week, and drive home on the weekends.  I love them, but that's way too much for me.).

Thanks! (and thanks for reading the novel)

For us, a lot of our non-work driving would be dictated by the kids, so I would err towards living near the kids schools, which I presume will put you nearer most of her activities and friends.  Plus, if you have family on the lake, and therefore have a place to stash a kayak and canoe, you'll get a lot of the benefits of living on the lake anyway. 

But it doesn't sound like a major difference between the lake and suburb.  Being 45 minutes away from your kids high school seems like a bad idea.  Id' much rather be close to the school and the parent commute, because that way your kids will have a much easier time catching rides if needed and being close to friends.

historienne

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 08:10:40 AM »
How does the school system work?  Are you sure you'll be able to send your kid to those schools if you don't live close to them?

Pigeon

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 08:13:49 AM »
For me, hands down it would be the suburb near the school.  My last kid is just finishing high school.  My kids were very involved in extracurricular activities, had summer and after school jobs and lots of time with friends.  It would be a total pain to live far away from that.  Once they were out of school, I might think about moving to the lake.

fuzzy math

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 08:24:36 AM »
Are these 3 different school districts?
Personally I would feel crazy living 20 mins from a grocery store. My instinct would be to live in the city because it would relieve a lot of stress on your DH. Unless public schools there are terrible. I would look at the test scores for all the districts and the ammenities (availability of sports, languages, special programs etc).
Living in the suburbs is a compromise and gets you the school you want, but you're not getting the benefit of the lake or living near your husband's job. You're always going to be driving somewhere because you won't be exactly where you want to be. Is there a huge difference between 30-45 mins drive if you don't live at the lake? How often would you visit family if you did live 45 mins away? How much of your time would you spend w the family if you did live there? Do you have the kind of relationship where you'd even want to see these people every single day?
 Is there a full time community at the lake where your DD could find friends or is it all old retirees? Do people move away off season back to their main homes? The fact that there aren't services (church, grocery) make me think it could be stifling there. 

I think you really need to consider that you will build your life wherever you live. Your friends, neighbors etc will all be there. Don't half live in the other 2 areas. Where can you see yourself making a community best? If you lost your remote job where could you find work?

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Tuskalusa

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2018, 08:30:05 AM »
Another vote for the suburbs near the school. Being in the school community has been a blessing. We have lots of family friends from the elementary school years. Now that our son is in middle school, hes doing more extracurricular activities and hanging out with his friends. This is all easier because we are nearby.

Agree that moving to the lake could be awesome after DD finishes high school.

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2018, 08:45:24 AM »
Thanks, these are all really great points to consider.

The schools are Catholic schools, so we can send her to them where ever we live.  This is very important to us, though if something changes with that, the the public school in the suburb is head and shoulders above the lake and city districts.  Those two are severely underfunded.

We do have relationships with the family where we'd enjoy seeing them every day.  And they're good at giving each other space, too.  If they all lived in the suburb, it'd be a no brainer for us.  We'll see them at least once a week at church no matter where we live.  If we were in the suburb, we'd only be 20 minutes from them. 

The lake is about half full time community, half summer houses.  There's a decent number of kids, but they're a good bit older than our daughter at the moment.  DH's cousin lives in the suburb and has two daughters quite close to our daughter's age.  Which I suppose may end up being more important for establishing family ties for our daughter.

Fuzzymath, what you said about building our life where we live has really resonated with me. 

LifeHappens

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2018, 10:13:32 AM »
I moved from a city to live on water in a somewhat remote location. At my current house it is a 25 mile round trip to the grocery store. Most errands are a 35 to 50 mile round trip. The airport is 1 hour and 15 minutes away on a good day.

We're in the process of selling our home to move back to a city. I miss walking and civilization in general.

Just my experience, but think long and hard what you want your lifestyle to be when choosing where you live.

SunnyDays

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2018, 11:05:29 AM »
Don't know where you live, but you mention "summer houses" so if you live in an area with cold/snowy winters, you might want to rethink living at the lake.  Population might go way down in winter, then there's highway driving to contend with.  Around here, that means "lake effect" snow and it's own little weather system.  Personally, I wouldn't let proximity to family be the determining factor, because while you might be okay with seeing them daily, you likely won't be, given everyone's normal routines.  So I would focus on the best fit for job and school and leave family considerations out of it at this point.

Noodle

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2018, 11:29:45 AM »
My considerations would include--what kind of winter weather does the area get? I grew up in a small town that got a lot of snow, and I would never have chosen to live out in the country in that climate. It can take quite awhile for the plows to get out, among other challenges.

Also, how would you feel about your kid driving rural roads at night? People think of urban areas as risky, but again (having grown up in a fairly rural area) really dark roads with the risk of wildlife collisions, help farther away in the case of an accident, and based on my classmates, the tendency to do risky/stupid stuff because there are fewer eyes watching them, night driving in the country can be dangerous too.

phred

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Re: Where to live: rural vs. suburbs
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 11:36:17 AM »
I'd probably pick the suburbs but as close to the city as I could get while still being on the school bus route.

Summer houses sometimes don't have much winter insulation.

In the burbs you have grocery & drugstores fairly near without the packed-in pollution of the city and the desert of the rural.  In winter (snow region) the roads are apt to be cleared sooner than rural roads.

Sounds as though city real estate doesn't have much investment potential (price appreciation), so would probably skip for that reason