Should We Stay or Should We Go? 5 Questions to Ask if You’re Leaving the City

Countless city families have had this very same debate every single year—should we stay in the city or head to suburbia? It’s, arguably, the biggest decision you’ll ever make, so it’s definitely one not to take lightly. So if that’s where you are—deep in the city versus suburbs debate—read on. By running through these questions you’ll likely have a better sense of where you belong—at least for now.

1. WHY are you considering leaving the city?

While, often, there are a few factors weighing on your decision—kids starting school, new additions to the family, a desire or, even, need to be near the grandparents—usually something breaks the proverbial camel’s back. So what IS that—and is it a temporary inconvenience or a something that’s just going to make the ‘burbs look better and better over time?

A good example? The L train is out of service between Brooklyn and Manhattan—for awhile. If that’s got your grumbling about leaving the city, it might be good to think twice. While that’s a huge inconvenience, it’s not forever—and there are plenty of alternatives to the L. If that’s what making suburbia look like a solid choice, it might be wise to take a breath and take a pause. Maybe the ‘burbs are the right move, but maybe finding an alternative route into Manhattan is enough to alleviate your frustrations in the short-term.

But if you’re zoned for a school you don’t love, need more space or, simply, feel like your family is ready for life outside the city, then you’re probably on the right track. Keep digging, keep asking questions—like the ones on this list—and keep (or start!) exploring suburbia. When it’s right, you’ll know.

2. Think about what you want—can you (realistically) get it/accomplish it/achieve it in the city?

Don’t love your zoned school? You can always investigate private school options. Hate lugging that double stroller up a flight of stairs? Make your next apartment an elevator building or aim for the ground floor. Need another bedroom? The city is packed with two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, condos and brownstones. Need more space? Yes, you can find that, too…

Plenty of challenges that come with living in the city can be easily resolved. But then there are some—the need to be close to family, wanting a huge backyard or, again, wanting to be out of the hustle and bustle of urban life can’t really be “fixed” while you’re still in the city. Take a minute to jot down your goals and challenges and see which can and can’t be worked through in the city. That will start to paint a pretty solid picture of what’s next for you and your crew.

3. What will you be giving up by moving to suburbia?

Sure, lots will depend on the exact suburb you choose but, before you decide yay or nay it’s important to understand what you’ll be giving up when you make the leap. Love that 10-minute stroll to work? Riding your Citibike downtown? Not having a car – but still getting everywhere? The A+ pre-K you just scored a spot in? Be specific—the suburbs have culture, restaurants, shopping and great schools, so don’t lean on those to inform your decision.

Again, the ‘burbs have tons of amenities, activities and access, so don’t consider this a city-versus-suburbs debate, necessarily. This is more about assessing your life right now and what would change if you made the move—and whether you’d like one option better than the other.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong here – this is about what you’d be giving up and what you’d be gaining. So write it all down and then dig in. Sometimes putting it down on paper helps connect the dots.

4. What kind of education do you want for your kids?

This is a big one. While every parent wants great schools for their kids, every parent also defines “great schools” differently. Even if your kids are school-age yet, it’s important to assess what type of education you want for them down the road. A big public school with tons of activities and loads of AP classes? A small private school with individualized focus? Language immersion? Full-day preK? Something else?

By drilling down on what you want for your kids’ K-12 experience, the city or suburbia may come out on top. And by making that determination now, you’ll be able to get your family settled before school starts, easing the transition and ensuring you won’t be pulling them out after they’re situated.

5. What FEELS right?

This one’s a little trickier but, at the same time, it’s incredibly important. What FEELS right? Spending more weekends out of the city than in and love every second in suburbia? Or is it the flip side—maybe suburbia sounds good, but you can’t imagine not being in the city? That’s telling – and, likely, is pointing you in the right direction… at least for now.

Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit and click GET STARTED.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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