What to Expect When You're Moving From the City to the Suburbs

What to Expect When You're Moving From the City to the Suburbs (Source: commons.wikimedia) 

Some city-dwellers sneer at the tree-lined streets and manicured lawns of the suburban neighborhoods around Chicago as anodyne and boring; some suburbanites look at the city as loud, smelly, and crowded.

But sometimes the battle lines are a little bit blurrier – for the family that’s ready to make the transition from renting an apartment to owning their starter home, for instance, the suburbs suddenly offer a new allure, as this Tribune article does a great job of illustrating.

There are, to be sure, plenty of reasons to want to make the switch from the city street to a cul-de-sac, or visa versa! Ultimately, we don’t have any answers in this classic debate. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes time to make the decision between the big city and the suburbs! It all comes down your tastes, preferences, budget, and needs.

But should you decide to make the transition out of the city, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are three big things to plan for before you make the move from the city of Chicago to the surrounding suburbs:

Prepare for Different Plumbing

Throughout the city of Chicago, the plumbing systems in single family homes and apartment buildings connect directly to a sewer line.

In some ways, this can be make living in the city a major inconvenience. Sometimes, directly connecting to the sewer system can mean putrid smells emanating up from your drains when city crews do work on your block. Even more often, it means basement flooding during periods of heavy rain, when the sanitary systems and storm water systems run together in some Chicago neighborhoods and lead to massive backups.

In some suburban areas around Illinois, though, your home’s plumbing won’t connect directly to a sewer line, but, instead, to a septic system. Should this be the case, your waste goes from your plumbing fixtures to a septic tank, where it breaks down, recycling some water into your lawn and discarding lots of waste in the form of sludge and scum.

Unlike in the city, you will have to have a professional come every so often to pump out this sludge and treat your septic tank – a regular maintenance chore that many new suburbanites overlook, until it’s too late.

Get Ready for Less Congestion… But More Driving

As we discussed earlier, many Chicagoans fear that a shift to the suburbs will leave them with fewer things to do – no coffee shop on the corner, no park within walking distance, no underground supper clubs that tweet out their location twenty minutes before dinnertime.

But for many city-dwellers who’ve made the move, the peace and quiet of the suburbs – not to mention a substantial reduction in crowds, congestion, and noise – is actually cited as one of the major benefits. And for many, moving out of the city means making the shift from renting to owning for the first time – a move that has been proven to come with an uptick in feelings of wellbeing and a sense of community engagement.

On the other hand, the very nature of suburban living makes having a car, for the most part, a necessity. While the Metra train does extend quite far outside of Chicago, and most communities do offer bus lines, public transit is not nearly as immediate and useful an option as it is in the hustle and bustle of the city. Be sure to consider whether the lack of public transportation will suit your lifestyle before you move away from the L for good!

Learn About Your Community’s Tax and Inspection Requirements

Within Chicago, there are certain expectations and standards about the many aspects of the real estate transaction process, including disclosure requirements, condo association forms, and, of course, taxes and fees.

In particular, before you transition from any place to another – whether it’s from the city to the suburbs or even from Chicago to another major metropolis – it’s important to research and understand how the real estate process works differently in each area. For instance, in our experience, some city-dwellers don’t realize that every city and village has different requirements around transfer stamps (tax from state/county/municipality), nor that every city and village sets its own standards for required inspections (for example, Forest Park has to do inspections on homes being sold).

If you have any questions about what it takes to buy or sell a home in or around Chicago, the Real Group team is here and ready to help! From the South Loop to Forest Park, from Ukrainian Village to Budlong Woods, our team has tackled it all. Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!

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