Looking for the right place for you and your family to live can be tricky. Having kids means you must consider more variables, such as schools, local day cares and safety. Fortunately, apartment hunting can go smoothly when you know what to look for.
Here’s a parent’s guide for finding your next place:
Know the School District
You probably have a good idea what city or town you want to live in, whether it’s to be close to work or family. Your next search-narrowing strategy should be to educate yourself on the local school districts. Find out what schools are nearby, the teacher-to-child ratio in classrooms and average test scores. Does the school have a bus system or will you have to drop your children off? The more information you can get, the better. Once you find a school you like, search for an apartment that’s within the school’s boundaries.
A good neighborhood for children will have a library, group activities (such as sports teams through a park district), and plenty of parks and playgrounds. Take a walk through a prospective area and see what fun things you could do with your kids.
Investigate Neighborhood Safety
Your leasing agent won’t legally be able to tell you how safe a certain neighborhood is because of non-discrimination laws. However, you can research crime rates on your own.
Read neighborhood reviews posted by current residents to get an inside scoop on what the area is really like. This is especially important if your children will be walking to the bus or school on their own.
Check Building Safety
If your kids will be getting home on their own, then you want to be sure they’ll be safe. The apartment building should have key access, meaning only residents can get inside the complex. The unit’s exterior doors should have deadbolt locks and the windows should also be secured. Common hallways and outdoor entryways should all be well lit.
Is it Soundproof?
Living in a multifamily dwelling will never be completely silent, but thick walls should be on your apartment hunting checklist. You don’t want the kids to disturb your neighbors when they play. Spend some time in the unit when you’re getting a tour and see if you can hear noises from other apartments.
Greet the Neighbors
After you’ve toured the apartment and the landlord has left, take some time to introduce yourself to potential neighbors. Ask them for the low-down on the building and the landlord. For example, you may learn that the floors are squeaky, the light always burns out outside or a certain tenant is picky about noise.
Once you’ve found the perfect apartment for your family, be sure to check out 9 Tips For Moving With Young Children.