A mother and daughter walking in a family-friendly neighborhood

When searching for a place to call home for you and your family, choosing the right neighborhood is undoubtedly as important as the property itself. The perfect house will be futile unless the area it's in satisfies your family's needs and preferences. With that said, it's essential to understand there is no one size fits all pattern you can use when researching suitable neighborhoods. Every family differs, whether it's in size, lifestyle, age, or daily routines. Therefore, understanding what it is your little tribe needs is of the utmost importance. Unless you want to be moving every couple of months, that is. Without further ado, here's how to choose the right neighborhood for your family.

Know what your family needs

Typically, most families need a place where they can raise their kids in peace, friendly neighbors, proximity to good schools, and a headache-free commute to work. However, these requirements often differ depending on many different factors. Because of this, it is vital to take your family's needs into considerations. 

Think about what matters most to you and your kids. Do you prefer urban or suburban areas? Do you like being surrounded by other families, or do you value privacy? Some neighborhoods will seem ideal at first, but you might realize later on that the commute to work or school is more time-consuming than you'd like. Or that there are not enough amenities that your daily routine requires. Once you start asking yourself these questions, you will realize that choosing the right neighborhood is as complex as finding a good home. Nonetheless, thorough planning and research will surely alleviate the task.

Do thorough online research

Luckily, there are many resources that can help you choose the right neighborhood for your family. Online research will allow you to get to know potentially suitable areas. Whether you are researching family-friendly places in Massachusetts or anywhere else, you will likely be able to find plenty of valuable information from other residents. And nothing will help you come to a decision much like insight from people who already live there. Therefore, take your time and be thorough. Only by reading endless articles and posts will you be able to learn what you need to know about an unfamiliar area.

Check out the neighborhood several times

Once you narrow down your search to a few family-friendly neighborhoods, it's time to go check them out with your own eyes. The easiest way to do this is to drive or walk around the area. Remember, doing this once won't be enough. Some neighborhoods are entirely different at night or on weekends. Visiting on Monday morning will probably make the area seem unrecognizable on Friday afternoon. Therefore, take your time to explore the streets several times.

A family checking out a neighborhood

Pay attention to what the other properties look like, observe the people, and maybe even try to make small talk with some of the residents you encounter. The amount of traffic and the general atmosphere of the neighborhood are also factors you need to consider. Don't be afraid to be nosy (in reasonable amounts) as your most essential task is to provide your family with a suitable living area.

Check affordability

Taking your time to research the affordability of a neighborhood is critical if you want to avoid financial troubles in the future. Raising a family is expensive, but some areas make it a bit more bearable. Believe it or not, the cost of food and other essential items can vary considerably from one part of the city to another. The prices of local schools, day-care options, and after-school activities are also more affordable in some places. And don't forget the taxes, utilities, and maintenance costs! There are many tools online that can help you calculate living costs in different areas.

Deciding on a neighborhood that suits your budget best will require some prioritizing and compromising. You might need to opt for a fixer-upper home in order to satisfy your family's other needs. Remember that you can always upgrade some things later on, but you won't be able to change how much things cost in the area.

Research schools

Lastly, what differentiates families from other home buyers is the need for proximity to good schools. Nowadays, just like everything else, this is easy to research online. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

  • Enrollment statistics

  • Parent reviews

  • Sport, academic, and artistic accomplishments

  • The size of the classes

Children in school

If the perfect school for your child isn't in the neighborhood you're interested in, remember you can still have your cake and eat it too if transportation options are good enough or if you are willing to drive them to school. Once you decide on a school, make sure to schedule a tour. This way, you'll get to see the building and meet the teachers. Additionally, this will make your child more confident on their first day.

Final words

Having a family requires you to observe things from different perspectives. A lot of planning, researching, pondering, and decision-making is often needed. However, with the help of a reliable realtor and a bit of patience, you will surely be able to choose the right neighborhood for your family.

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Guest Writer: Mary Aspen Richardson