You know what they say the most important factor is when it comes to real estate: location, location, location. It turns out that applies to all real estate, whether you’re looking for a place to set up a business or are looking for a place for your family to call home. It’s one thing to find suitable digs when it’s just the two of you, but when you add kids to the mix, finding the right neighborhood takes on a whole new dimension.
It used to be that the suburbs were the idyllic place to raise a family but, although a neighborhood in the ‘burbs might still be your best bet, reclaimed and revamped city neighborhoods can just as easily become home-sweet-home if certain features fall into place. Neighborhood Scout.com reports the top priority on most families’ lists to be excellent schools. Getting a good education is as vital as ever, and it starts with grade schools and secondary education. You don’t have to live near one of the best high schools in the nation on the list published by U.S. News. Whether you opt for public, private, Montessori or a church-affiliated school, you should look at the location of the school or schools you favor and talk to your realtor about available homes in the vicinity.
Low crime rate is next on the list and arguably may compete with educational opportunities for the top spot. It’s no longer a Leave It To Beaver, Brady Bunch world — and it hasn’t been for a long time. Even though Project America reports kidnappings to have declined over recent years, children’s safety is still a concern. But finding an area where the local authorities have the stats to show a low crime rate in a vicinity with a neighborhood watch and several distinctly marked safe places for children, provides a measure of assurance that children are safe to play in their own yards without immediate adult supervision looming.
If you have school-aged children, you’re likely to gravitate to a neighborhood with other families with children. Whether or not your kids will find their new “besties” in your chosen neighborhood isn’t the issue. Those other parents were looking for the same things you are when they found their little patch of paradise, so if you look for a neighborhood with families who have children close in age to your kids, you’ll get the benefits of what those families have already learned about settling in their neighborhoods.
Price range is another issue that tends to fight for high priority on the list. You want to find a bargain, something you can afford, but you also want other key issues to be met. An effective way to balance the price factor with the other criterion is to know the price you’d like to pay and the maximum you can realistically afford. The scale in between the two becomes the price range you’ll work with to locate available homes when you pinpoint the schools and surrounding neighborhoods you’re aiming for.
Owner-occupied, single family homes and college and advanced degree holding adults in the immediate area round out the considerations you’ll make when choosing a suitable neighborhood for your family. All of the issues involved are significant, making it difficult to try to prioritize them, but it helps to take a step back and look at each issue as a piece of a puzzle to complete the big picture. When you get your selection narrowed down to three or four, include the kids and make several trips to each home. Remind each other of the pros and cons of all the houses and ultimately make it a family decision. Finding the place for your family to call home is one of the most important things you’ll do in their lifetime, so take the time to find a neighborhood that isn’t just suitable, but one that everyone can live with.