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Articles on Living in Small Town America

Introduction to Small Town Guide

Why Move To A Small Town?

Financial Advantages

Quality Of Life Advantages

Choosing a Small Town

Making the First Impression on the Family

Shopping For a Home

Looking At Schools

Looking At Amenities

Career Considerations

The Art of Commuting

Finding a Mover

Moving Considerations

First Days in Town

Expanding Out

Leveraging the Town Advantages

Staying In Touch With Old Neighbors


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Normally the initial decision to research the possibility of moving to a small town begins with the husband or wife, and must then be presented the entire family to get their feedback.  In doing so, it is important to create a favorable impression of the town in consideration.

Your first job, before showing the family, is to really get to know the town.  Learn where the best restaurants are, and all the fun things to do.  You should have a complete plan in mind of what to visit to satisfy every member of the family’s interests. 

Unlike the big city, advance reservations are seldom required, and you can walk in anywhere.  So it is critical that you take the time to put together an action-packed, totally enjoyable outing.  Your goal is to get someone else in the family to say “Wow, I wish we could live here!”

If you have trouble coming up with ideas, talk to the local chamber of commerce or a real estate broker.  Old-timers may have great ideas you never thought of. 


Be sure to make the drive enjoyable.  Nothing is more of a turn off than a boring one hour car ride.  Find some fun stops along the way, and make sure everyone has a drink and snack.  Play some music that the whole family enjoys, and make frequent stops. 

Think of the trip as a first date. It is critical to make a great impression or there may not be another.


Once you have a plan in place to move to a small town, it is time to develop wide-spread support for this project.  Even one dissenter can cause serious problems -- if your daughter hates the idea, she may develop support to undermine the plan.  So it’s very important to use all of your salesmanship skills to put your best foot forward on developing an affirmative response. 

The first negotiation lever is to leverage the reduced expense and stress from living in a small town to support other interests that are currently underserved. For example, since your living expense will be much lower, you will have more disposable income to use on such ideas as a new car for your son or a horse for your daughter.  Or perhaps your reduced pressure on earning money can lead to a better attendance at school activities or maybe coaching your kid’s sports teams.  Your weaponry are those two items initially; more money and more time for things that were passed by in the big city.


Of course, there are many other smaller intangible benefits that the rest of the family may pick up on.  For example, some kids just like smaller class sizes or a life with less stress.  While in the big city kids obsess on grades and fashion, small town kids have a happier existence. Or maybe the entire family will enjoy more natural activities such as hiking or water sports.  Possibly living on a farm or ranch is much to the liking of everyone. 

Probably, like most families, there will be one serious hold-out who does not want to move.  Like any project, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  This will be your most important sales effort.  You may want to deficit spend initially to bring this person into a positive frame of mind and give enough negotiating room to succeed. 

Once everyone arrives, most of the positives will come to the front anyway, and you won’t need any more salesmanship.  Once your kids have new friends, and the adults have new interests, everything is fine.

Comments from our Visitors

William, Mount Vernon, New York - 12/21/2007

I think you can argue this point all day and get nowhere.  The decision to live in a small town or large city or even somewhere in between is personal.  There are many reasons to do both and a positive reason for one would be a negative reason for another.  Some people love the big city and the throngs of people while others can't stand it just as an example.  If you think you want to make a change I would consider taking a weeks vacation and staying with a friend or relative that lives in the type of area you are considering.  While you are there dive into the area, look for a job (not really to take it but to see what you find).   Look at real estate, services, residents, traffic and any thing else that you can think of.  If it is an important part of your own or your families lives make sure it is available and affordable.  Just like with any important decision you make do your research.  In the end though, the decision is personal and what is ideal for you would be a nightmare for someone else.

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