REX regularly features posts from talented guest writers. Today’s post was written by Alex Hall from SingleParent.info.

When you have kids, your priorities completely change. If you were sans child, you could pick a house in any neighborhood and admire it for its “character.” However, with kids in the mix, you have a lot more to be concerned about. You have to consider the schools available, whether or not the area is safe, and if your kids love playing outside and riding bikes, picking a place with high traffic is definitely not ideal. These are just a few of the things you’ll have to keep in mind when moving your family.

What are the available schools?

Whether you go public or private, you’ll want to find a house accessible to the kind of school you want your child to attend. Sites like GreatSchools.org are a terrific resource, but an even better idea is contacting potential schools and scheduling a meeting with administration and a tour of the campus. When it comes to important decisions like this, you can’t beat a parent’s intuition. Additionally, picking a house near a terrific school is financially smart — statistically, homes in neighborhoods near good schools maintain a higher resale value.

Is the neighborhood kid friendly?

Loud neighborhoods with loads of traffic are not ideal for kids. The noise can affect their ability to concentrate on homework or fall asleep. There’s even evidence that excessive noise can cause undue stress. High-traffic areas are obviously very dangerous for children. Being struck by a car is the third-leading cause of death for children 5 to 9 years old.

To get a feel for the amount of crime in a potential neighborhood, check CrimeReports.com to see what kind of activity you would be dealing with. You can also find any registered sex offenders that may live near using FamilyWatchdog.us. Some other red flags to look for include:

  • Graffiti on buildings, fences, and sidewalks
  • Extreme amounts of litter
  • Barred windows on businesses
  • Unleashed dogs roaming around
  • Large groups of people loitering

While avoiding the possible dangers of a neighborhood is important, you should also check out any amenities your kids may appreciate. Are there parks nearby where your family can enjoy some outdoor bonding times? Some subdivisions have public pools or recreational centers where your child can play and meet friends in the summer. Picking out a neighborhood your kid will enjoy is almost as important as picking one that will keep them safe.

Consider the Commute

If you’ve found a good school and a safe neighborhood, it still may not be the perfect area for you. Consider the amount of time it will take to drive to and from work. If your kids don’t take a bus, you should also consider the distances you’ll have to drive for drop off and pick up. Wasting time on a long commute means less quality time to spend with your family in favor of sitting in a hot car for hours. The better option is quite obvious.

You would do anything for you child, so putting in the extra work to consider their needs before buying a home is a piece of cake compared to some decisions. First and foremost, finding a good school where your child will thrive will help ensure they enjoy their education. Picking a safe neighborhood that also has access to kid-friendly amenities will make it easier for them to socialize and enjoy their new home. Finally, make sure wherever you move is close enough to work so that you’re not wasting time behind the wheel rather than spending quality time with your family.

posted by Eric Rothman

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