City or country: How to decide which is the right choice

Take a moment to imagine your dream home.

Is it surrounded by open spaces, fresh air, mature trees, and nature, or do you see a thriving urban metropolis, buzzing with people to see and places to be (masks and all)?

Do they need your own space, or do you get energized just thinking about being around people?

If you’re one of many Canadians who’ve already considered making the move to a wide-open space outside the city, or alternatively, if you’re looking for that urban pied-á-terre, there are a few things to consider before making the leap. Your lifestyle will change either way, but are you prepared for what that looks like in your day-to-day reality?

We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for each to help make the leap a little easier.

That rural lifestyle has its charms

1. Privacy When you look out your window and see the beautiful landscape the Canadian countryside can offer, and not your neighbour staring back at you, it’s truly a wonderful thing. It’s also something incredibly difficult to find in an urban setting. That feeling of privacy can lend a sense of security and freedom to homeowners knowing their children can play close to home, pets will have ample territory to roam, and they’re less likely to hear “keep it down” while entertaining.

2. Cost of living Finding a home within your budget, with room to grow and the footprint to support your family, can be an easier task when looking outside the city. It may also come with a lower cost of living overall, depending on the location you choose.

3. Proximity to nature Being in nature, breathing fresh air, and being inspired to get out for walks or hikes are all wonderful benefits to your mental and physical health. It’s no surprise that especially now, spending so much more time indoors, or isolated from others, that we would feel comfort and joy in those activities.

4. A different kind of quiet Who needs a white noise machine when you can have the real thing? If you prefer the wind in the trees, bird songs, or crickets chirping, over the hum of cars on the roads, you’ll probably find solace in a more rural setting. Though different from the city, there are still a lot of noise related things to consider when choosing the right property. The sounds of trains, trucks and neighbours all may carry across open spaces, like water, so keep that in mind.

But rural living has its downsides

1. Distance Think about the distance from amenities like groceries, restaurants and retail, as well as emergency services like hospitals, fire services and paramedics. If you’re self-sufficient, and in good health, these things may be manageable, but they’re certainly worth bearing in mind.

2. City services Services like sanitation, water and road maintenance may now be your’ responsibility, so make sure you understand what this entails.

3. Internet connectivity If you work from home, run a business, or just don’t want to wait for your streaming platforms to buffer, you may want to factor in the cost of additional tools or services you’ll need to make sure your internet connection isn’t disrupted at the worst possible time.

4. Insurance Some properties are much more difficult to insure than others. This will depend on many things, one being year-round access via a main road — even if you don’t plan to live somewhere all year, having easy access to it in the off-season in case of emergency will determine your potential insurance options.

5. Isolation Privacy is nice, but isolation can be, well, isolating. Make sure you check out the community you’re potentially moving into. Is it one where you think you’d feel at home?

It’s you’re thinking: “OK, maybe urban life is more my style” and there are certainly benefits.

It’s the city life for me

1. Convenience Restaurants. Shopping. Entertainment. City services like recycling and snow removal. Public transit and commuting to work (if you’re still doing that). Convenience is an obvious benefit, and it’s easy to see why so many people rank it so high on the list of must-haves. If you are the type that loves to get take-out for dinner, have a coffee shop within walking distance, and not worry about driving home from a socially distanced night out, urban lifestyles are definitely more your speed.

2. Neighbours Communities of people sharing something in common like their place of residence can have perks. More and more neighbourhoods are taking to social media to create groups dedicated to looking out for each other’s properties; sharing tips, products, and services they recommend; and nurturing an overall sense of community.

3. Job opportunities If you are looking for a fresh start in their career, or just looking to move up the corporate ladder somewhere new, there will generally be more opportunities in larger cities. You may also have to consider what a company’s work-remote policy is, or if it will always be available.

4. Choice Denser, more highly populated cities seem to always be building to fulfill an almost insatiable demand. While the demand brings competition, it also encourages variety. Condo buyers have benefitted in particular from much more choice.

City living also has its downsides

1. Costs First and foremost, what can you afford? Condo fees as well as other services in your desired community or building can add-up quickly. Not to mention the general higher cost of products and services like utilities, groceries and gasoline.

2. Noise Neighbours, public transit, nightlife and new construction all have their ups and downs, and noise is certainly on of the lower points.

3. Distance from nature Depending on the city, living an urban lifestyle may mean less convenient access to parks and scenic vistas. While this might not bother someone who is happy to stroll the neighbourhood in search of a new coffee shop, it’s important to make sure you know about the area you’ll call home.

4. Space Working from home is the new normal for many people, and a lack of dedicated space to divide the personal from professional can make it tricky to balance and maintain both. When work and life are so closely intertwined, it’s no surprise many people have at least considered moving further out of the core of their city just for the square-footage alone.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of reasons you should or shouldn’t decide to make a lifestyle change, but these commonly mentioned motivations should at least help start your’ thought process, and maybe one or more of them are true deal-breakers.