Rental properties are scarce in many neighborhoods thank to the rising demand for these low-commitment dwellings. Therefore, many families rent the first property that comes on the market, even if it’s not perfect for their family.
However, families should be wary of making rental commitments that aren’t kid-friendly. Along with the dangers of things like unguarded stairwells and bumpy sidewalks, it’s expensive for families to live in non-family-friendly housing. Landlords often have to clean more and make repairs following a family with young children living in their property, so they’ll raise their prices or give you back less of your deposit.
Finding properties that are already kid-friendly reduces your risk as well as your financial output. As you search for the perfect property, keep these tips in mind.
Look at Houses
While apartments are often more readily available, they’re not always the best fit for families, particularly those with young children. You’ll often find much more space when you rent a house.
“I’m seeing larger families trying to get into smaller spaces because of the economy,” Rose Osman, a California realtor, told HGTV. “Their best option is finding a house, rather than an apartment…If a house is a single story, it’s usually at least 1,200 square feet. The more you can spend, the better the location and the schools.”
Additionally, you’ll have fewer neighbor complaints because your living space isn’t surrounded by other units, like in an apartment complex.
Pay Attention to Flooring
Carpet is the most kid-friendly flooring option, particularly when kids are small and learning to walk and crawl. It’s much softer to fall on carpet than hardwood, tile, or laminate.
Be aware, however, that maintenance can be more with carpet flooring. You must attend to spills quickly to avoid permanent damage and clean the carpets regularly, so you keep more of your deposit.
If you’re interested in having less maintenance in your rental property, opt for laminate or tile flooring. Carpeting requires shampooing and hardwoods require conditioning, but laminate and tile can be easily swept and mopped with very little effort.
Find a Great Location
A rental property in a neighborhood with low crime is important to most people with children. Crime rates can be ascertained through sites like NeighborhoodScout or local realtor websites. Additionally, check out the school district. If you have a school you’d like your kids to go to and it doesn’t have an open-enrollment policy, you’ll have to live in that school zone.
“Walk the neighborhood to get a feel for whether your children will have access to playmates and places to play,” advises an article from Realtor. “Does the neighborhood provide access to shops, entertainment and options for extracurricular activities?”
It’s also smart to talk to neighbors in the area. They’ll offer neighborhood insights about things like crime rates, local amenities, and other concerns. Talking to neighbors will also give you a clue as to whether or not they’re okay with having kids next door.
Check the Landscape
The front and backyard of the property are also important when renting a home. Some landscaping items are more kid-friendly than others. Look for things your kids will enjoy like a sandbox, a playset, toy storage areas, tire swings, and other fun amenities.
Find things you’ll enjoy like a privacy fence, fire pit, adult seating, covered patio, and more. While it might be unrealistic to expect all of these amenities in your backyard, have a list of must-haves and wants to help you make your final choice on a rental property.
Keep Emotions Out of It
It’s easy to fall in love with a home because of beautiful architectural pieces or cleverly placed decor. Often, those features aren’t very practical for kids, but your emotions could be swayed in the moment.
“As I was unpacking on moving day, I realized that the striking design features that caused my heart to skip a beat were going to be hugely impractical to live with,” Colleen Rustard of Petaluma California told Parents.com, expressing regret that many parents have when moving into a new place.
Look for things like the height of the shelves, the location on a hill, the sharp-edge countertops, and more. Consider the practicality of the place before signing an agreement.
Everything from the size, safety, and practicality matters while you’re searching for the perfect rental home for your family. It doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge to find a home that meets the needs of your family. As long as you’re prepared with a list of priorities and kid-friendly features to look for, the perfect rental property is as good as yours.