If you're thinking of ... City vs. county living

Whatcom County residents are faced with two very different options when looking for a place to call home. They can opt to live in the city (Bellingham is the largest urban choice) with close proximity to everyday amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, parks and trails. Or they can choose the more rural setting of Whatcom County, with space to spread out and enjoy the peace and quiet of country life. Each has its pros and cons.

According to Christine Park, a real estate agent with the Muljat Group in Bellingham, people prefer living in the city to be closer to their jobs, shopping, restaurants, hospitals, theaters and parks. Park says city buyers like public utilities, prefer living closer to their neighbors, and want playmates close by so families can find friends easily. There’s even a perception, albeit incorrect, that the schools are better in the city.

“The biggest reason for city living is for the variety of neighborhoods available to buyers,” says Park. “Each area has it’s own feel and character, from older Craftsman-type homes in South Hill, to new subdivisions, to exclusive areas like Edgemoor and Lake Whatcom.”

So why live in the county?

“Most buyers choose a county home for its elbow room, privacy and seclusion,” explains Park.

People who are into large gardens, growing their own food, or just enjoying the peace and tranquility of more than an acre to call their own are prime county buyers. County buyers are also willing to accept the added responsibilities of maintaining a well and/or a septic system.

The other major factor to consider in a county home is price. Typically buyers can get more for their money once they get outside the Bellingham city limits. Depending on the area and the acreage, costs for a home in the county are sometimes dramatically less than similar sized homes available in the city.