When moving with children, or with family planning in mind, house hunting goes beyond finding the right house. You want to also find the right neighborhood and community to raise your child in. You want to find the right place for your child to happily and safely grow up.
Here's your guide to choosing the best neighborhood for your kids.
When you start house hunting draw up a list of towns and neighborhoods that catch your eye.
Having a list of priorities will help to make the house hunting process in each neighborhood much easier. Decide on your top 3 neighborhoods and towns in addition to your non-negotiable house features.
Many couples start to be researching the town’s schools. Look into the budget, what extracurricular activities are available, and if there are any recent news articles profiling the school.
Don’t just look into the kindergartens and elementary schools - look at the middle and high school as well. What are their reputations?
Visit the community center and library to find out what groups and activities are available. This is a great place to find out how involved the community is. Pick up any local newspapers or magazines and spend time flipping through the pages.
Search Meetup.com and local Facebook groups to see what kind of involvement community members have. This is also a great way to connect with other parents and ask them any questions you might have.
Take a drive through your potential neighborhoods at different times of the day. This will help you to see what each neighborhood has to offer. Are there lots of younger children at pickup and drop off times at bus stops? Or are there older children riding their bikes around?
Are there playgrounds and parks within walking distance? If your child is in extracurricular activities, or you plan for them to be, are there dance or martial arts academies with good reviews in the area?
It’s also important not to discount the importance of proximity to family and friends. We’ve all heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child. Keep distance and travel time from family in mind when making your choice.
Take the future cost of raising a child into consideration while drawing up your budget. Finding the right neighborhood and community is a process of checks and balances. You might have to be willing to compromise in some areas to check off those non-negotiables. This could look like finding a slightly smaller house in a nicer neighborhood or living further away from the city.
Knowing what your priorities are before you begin house hunting and what to look for in each neighborhood will make the process much smoother. It can be a lot of pressure to find the perfect home but when we define our own version of perfect things can fall together much more easily.