How to Pick the Perfect Neighborhood (For Your Entire Family)
From four-year-olds to fur-pawed pals, moving means accommodating everyone’s needs. Here are a few tips that will help you weed out the worst neighborhoods and plant your family in a new place to call home.
Sailing as a single
When it’s time to go solo, your primary considerations are typically price and proximity to your place of employment. But, before you plop down your down payment, double check for any homeowner association fees or city taxes that may inflate your monthly mortgage obligation. Take a quick look at the local crime statistics map, which will help you determine your potential risk of becoming the victim of a home invasion or worse. Even in a good neighborhood, it’s not uncommon for burglars to target single women. NBC12 recently reported on a rash of home invasions in Henrico, Virginia, in which burglars specifically stalked a townhome community looking for single female homeowners.
Considering the kids
Kids complicate the relocation process since you no longer have just yourself to look after. You must take into consideration not only the home, but the quality of the community as a whole. School zones can abruptly change from one street to the next and, as a diligent parent, you’ll want to know who your neighbors are ahead of time. The National Sex Offender Registry can help you determine your potential new home’s proximity to child predators. Access to parks, playgrounds, museums, and other amenities are also important when you have children.
Regardless of age, children often have difficulty with change. They equate familiarity with stability and will need extra time and attention to adjust to their new surroundings. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests maintaining open lines of communication and emphasizing the positive aspects of the move.
Gone to the dogs
Moving with pets requires substantially more planning compared to packing up people. In addition to the overall quality of the community for the humans in your pack, you will need access to reputable veterinarians and activities and events that welcome four-legged friends. Choosing a specific home is different when you have dogs, as well. Most communities mandate that dogs remain on their own property, either on a lead or within the confines of a fenced yard. Hillsborough County, Florida, for instance, has more than a dozen ordinances that specifically relate to dogs; violation of the county’s Animals at Large edict can result in up to a $200 fine and a mandatory court appearance. Large cities, such as Chicago, require all animals to be registered and, in many areas across the country, certain breeds are strictly prohibited.
Dogs are keenly aware of changes to their daily schedule, so maintain a routine as close to normal as you can. This will help you and your dog feel more at ease while you settle in. Your pet’s behavior may change for a few days, especially if he or she is particularly anxious in the first place. Allow them plenty of time to explore the new home and neighborhood and make a point to sneak in a few extra belly rubs. Since dogs are keenly sensitive to scent, keep his bed, bowls, blankets, and toys from your old home so that he will have a familiar smell. Redfin, a national real estate brokerage firm, further suggests having familiar furniture in place before your dog’s first visit.
Whether you’re signing up for new bachelor pad, family home, or sprawling estate, the needs of your entire family – even those who bark instead of banter — must be taken into consideration. Research ahead of time but proceed with the understanding that both your kids and your pets may have a harder time adjusting until they feel safe and secure.
-written by Cindy Aldridge