Buying a home means making a number of essential decisions, from the number of bedrooms you want to the type of kitchen you prefer. One of the most important decisions to make is the location of your home. For some people, living in the suburbs, like Alpharetta or Marietta, is the only option. Others are more open to living in an urban area, such as downtown Atlanta. If you aren’t sure whether you’d rather call the suburbs home, live in the heart of the city or move even further out, to the exurbs, there are a few things to consider when you make the decision.  

What you want in a home

The size of your home plays a pretty big part in determining whether you should live in the suburbs, city or exurbs. Usually, homes in the suburbs and exurbs offer more space for less money than an urban home. Homes in the Atlanta suburbs tend to cost considerably less than homes of a similar size right in the city.

Your commute

Your commute and transit options play a big part in whether you end up living in the suburbs or choosing a home that’s a bit more centrally located. Entrepreneur notes that back in 1999, economic forecaster Harry S. Dent predicted that there would be an upswell in the number of people who moved from the suburbs to the exurbs. Part of the draw of moving even further out is the ability to build a bigger house and the ability to telecommute to work. When your commute involves walking across the hall to the home office, it doesn’t matter if it takes 45 minutes to get to an urban area or to the nearest office park.

But if your job doesn’t allow telecommuting, you’ll want to think about the best way to get to work every day. For people in the city, that can be walking or hopping on a bus. For people in some suburbs, it can be driving or walking to a commuter train daily or driving all the way to work.

Safety concerns

The overall quality of the neighborhood will impact where you decide to live, too. A 2013 report from the Urban Land Institute found that safety and school quality were two of the top concerns people had when picking a place to live. More than 90 percent of people surveyed said that they thought safety was the most important thing. If it does come down to city or suburbs for you, you can get an idea of the safety and culture of the neighborhood by talking to people who currently live there. Talking to the neighbors will also give you an idea of what there is to do on a weekend night or throughout the week and how much time it will really take you to get from point A to B by car or public transit.

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