Pros and Cons of an Urban Home

Urban homes, whether they are condos or small cottage homes off of the main byways of downtown Boise, are options that many relocating to the Boise don’t always consider. Boise is usually known for its sweeping countryside and robust suburban areas, but not usually for the urban homes and urban living arrangements that it has to offer.

Some of the urban homes and living quarters that are available in downtown Boise are the beautiful Victorian and Colonial homes in the Historic district, condos and lofts that offer maximum urban efficiency, and also a number of classic cottage style homes dotted here and there. There is even the Boise North End that is a cross between urban streets and suburban communities that offer numerous homes of different sizes, styles, and ages. So really, the possibilities for an urban home are endless.

But how do you know if living in that kind of urban environment is for you? Well, here we have a few of the pros and cons that come along with an urban home.

Pros of buying an urban home:

Less yard to manage

One of the great things about living in a highly urban environment is that everyone is packed in tight next to each other (something that will also be listed as a con) which means that lawns and gardens are much smaller. And we all know what smaller yards mean: less yard work! If you are one who doesn’t appreciate having to mow a large lawn, weed, or just all around manage a big yard, then an urban home might be something you should look into. In fact, some of them don’t even have lawns— for those who don’t even want to think about it.

Close proximity to parks, theaters, etc.

Entertainment is a big plus for those living in an urban community. Only a few minutes in any direction and you can easily find yourself at a theater, the cinema, a park, a restaurant, and many other things. Not to mention the concerts, shows, and sports games that take place downtown. So really, if you want to be able to enjoy all the entertainment of downtown while staying close to home, then living in downtown Boise would be a dream come true.

Close proximity to stores

Shopping is also very convenient for those living in an urban community. Stores of all kinds, including specialty shops, can be found within only a few miles in every direction. Not to mention a lot of mom-and-pop shops that offer some of the best shopping in town. Not to mention there are large bulk food stores, and even wholefoods stores and so on and so forth.

Close Proximity to Friends and work

If your friends and place of work are in town, then you will reap some great benefits for living in an urban area of town. Public transit, short commuting times, and so forth will make your life much easier. Want to check out a new restaurant with some of your friends, you can easily be there in a minutes. Need to head into the office to do a quick report, your there in a flash. It really is a convenient way to live. Not to mention it allows you to be more social if you like.

Close Proximity to Hospitals, Fire Departments etc.

Then of course there is the proximity to public works. Public works being utilities, fire departments, police departments, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and so forth. If you live out in the country, it might take a fire truck a long time to get to your home to save it from a fire. Or, if you need to go to the ER, you will have to make a long drive or pay for a ride in an ambulance. However, living in an urban part of Boise means the firefighters can get to you quickly, the hospital is around the corner, and so on and so forth.

Less bugs

One thing that people in the country may worry about is a plethora of bugs. Now, bugs exist everywhere, you will have to deal with them no matter where you live, but you won’t have as many as someone who lives next to their own private forest or field. This is a benefit that is more important than it seems. With the spread of viruses like West Nile and Zika, it is best to stay away from areas with a lot of bugs. (Again, we are not saying that there are no bugs in downtown areas, just less than the great outdoors).

Smaller homes

Homes in downtown areas are also naturally smaller. This can be a pro and a con because, for some people, downsizing can be freeing; on the other hand, for some people it is their worst nightmare.

Cons of buying an urban home:

Far away from outdoor fun

Now, like we said before, outdoor activities are some of the biggest amenities that this state offers its residents and visitors and when you live downtown, they can seem farther away. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are still close at hand (for example the Boise River, a floatable river, runs right through downtown). However, people who live in the country are a bit closer to those opportunities.

If you like to go into the mountains or desert on a regular basis for fun, then you might want to pick a home in the suburbs or the country.

Air pollution

With lots of people comes lots of exhaust which can cause lower air quality. Boise downtown is still a healthy place to live. However, it suffers from inversions on a frequent basis so the air is quite constantly, in the summertime at least, hazy. It doesn’t help that southwestern Idaho, again during the summer, is the prime place for wildfires which tend to send smoke Boise’s way. All this makes for mediocre air quality. So, if you need to have super clean and fresh air on a regular basis, downtown Boise might not be for you.

Light pollution

Boise downtown tends to have a lively nightlife, like most downtown areas, and this can cause some bad light pollution. Now, keep in mind that Boise is not a massive city, it is large but not too large, and so the light pollution is not as severe as a place like New York or LA. But still, it is enough of a problem to be mentioned. It is hard to see the stars at night in some places of downtown and it might not be as dark as you would like it in your home at night — investing in some blackout curtains may help with this.


It can seem a bit crowded in downtown Boise. If you like to have more space to yourself, then downtown might not be the place for you. You will get more people walking up and down the sidewalk in front of your place and more people to walk through to get somewhere by foot.

Smaller homes

Like we said, this can be a pro and a con. If you are someone who likes to have more space then you are going to have trouble finding an affordable home downtown. For reasons we explained earlier, downtown is more concentrated so the homes can’t be bigger and that doesn’t agree with everyone’s way of life.


Lastly, there is the noise. Downtown areas, including Boise, are notorious for being loud, even into the night. So if your downtown home doesn’t have some way to block out the sound, you may be listening to sirens, other people’s conversations, and the roar of cars all day and well into the night.

All and all, the decision is yours. Does an urban environment fit your lifestyle? If so, then it will be perfect for you. Downtown Boise is the right size for comfortable living, but still has all the amenities and features you could ask for.

Call us at the Hughes Group today to find out more about urban homes in downtown Boise. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you.

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