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Finding a kid-friendly rental and smoothly moving in

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I'm pleased to introduce this guest article written by Kristin Louis, blogger at ParentingWithKris.com

Family at a dining table in a room with modern decor

Finding a kid-friendly space could be a challenge. Kids have highly specific needs, such as space to play and the presence of special amenities nearby. Also, the fact that we’re short on family homes by 5 million, according to CNBC, further complicates the picture – there are a lot more families looking for rentals than before.

In this mini-guide, we offer some helpful tips and suggestions to make your search for a perfect kid-friendly rental easier:

Cast your search net

The tried-and-tested ways to find housing still work – look at listings online and get in touch with real estate agents in family-friendly locations. If you’re clear about the specifics you need – like the number of rooms or type of housing – you’ll have an easier time with the search. Sometimes informal networking offers better results than going through formal channels.

Be prepared for apartment-hunting challenges

Bear in mind that if you have a young child, finding an apartment may be a challenge – landlords may discriminate against you, says RealEstate. You may have an easier time renting a traditional home in a suburb. Look for ethical real estate agents and, again, network.

Prioritize their safety

Your child’s safety should guide your search. Some safety factors to consider are child-proofed interiors, neighborhood safety, traffic, lead paint levels (deleaded is best), the air quality, and the presence of medical centers nearby.

Research the quality of education nearby

You want to provide your kids with the best education possible. Research the school district nearby – what kind of schools are there, and what level of education do they provide? Are other parents happy with the quality of education on offer? Take a look at the GreatSchools ratings, which offer a reliable snapshot of the overall school quality at the target location.

Explore the entertainment options

Entertainment is necessary to stop your children from going stir crazy. See if there are places where they can have fun, relax, and unwind nearby. Some examples are parks, playgrounds, malls, and sports complexes.

Consider other amenities

Amenities will determine how convenient and comfortable your kids’ (and your) lifestyle will be. Some amenities you may want to have are daycare, playrooms, elevators, pools, cafes, exercise rooms, shopping options, transportation, and healthcare.

Talk to the neighbors

Community is important and will have a massive influence on your child. Are your prospective new neighbors the kind of people who don’t mind children? You don’t want to live next to someone who dislikes kids or, worse, has a spotty reputation.

Double-check the house

When you do find a suitable house, examine the place carefully. See if there’s ample space for your family to move around and live comfortably. Take a look at the floor plan and consider storage options, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, accessibility, and walkways. Apartmentguide explains the priorities nicely.

Have an open conversation with your child

Moving can be emotionally disturbing for children, especially when they’re very young. You must talk to them about it as early as you can. A positive attitude and your presence can head off problems early. Offer reassurances and answer any questions they may have. Show them pictures of the house and, if possible, visit the new place together.

Take their preferences into account

Make sure to account for your child’s preferences, if at all possible. You don’t want to move into an apartment or neighborhood your child detests – that won’t be good for either them or you. Fortunately, kids are adaptable and less picky than adults, so it shouldn’t be too hard to cater to them.

It will take time for your child to get used to their new home. Some homesickness is to be expected in the beginning, especially if they’ve had to leave friends behind. You can minimize it by offering them the same routine and care they are used to, and just by being there for them. Make it an exciting event – something to look forward to – and you will manage to ease them into the whole thing.

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