Moving with children adds another very important criteria to your house selection search: It must be in a family-friendly neighbourhood. It’s not enough to have a great house in a so-so location anymore, once kids are in the picture, you’re looking for the whole package. But what characteristics should you look for in a family friendly Waterloo Region neighbourhood?
Here are five signs that your potentially new neighborhood will be perfect for raising your family.
A good location will have certain kid friendly amenities nearby. You may hit the jackpot and be surrounded by a virtual kid haven, but more than likely you’ll have to pick and choose.
Drive around and see if there are parks nearby. Walk through the immediate neighborhood and look for kids or signs of kids. Sure signs of kids are play equipment (swing sets, soccer goals, trampolines) in the yards.
Kids Playing Outside
Another sign of a family-friendly neighborhood is kids playing outside. If possible, do some reconnaissance and drive around the neighborhood after school or on the weekends. If a neighborhood is family-friendly, you will probably see school buses or kids walking to school in the morning and afternoon, and maybe kids playing outside before or after dinner.
On the flip side, a row of homes sporting “Grandpa and Grandma’s House” signs suggests an absence of full-time playmates. A neighborhood may not be suited for families with kids if you see a lot of seniors.
An easy way to check out the area is to take a quick walk around and chat with people. Start conversations with people you see at the parks or playgrounds. Ask parents what they like about living in that neighborhood and if there’s anything they don’t like. Tell them you’re considering moving to the area. People are often quick to brag about the positives and complain about the negatives.
Proximity to Necessities
Though the neighbourhood might be great for most families, make sure it’s right for your family. If your child will be in day care, how far away is it? Is the school within walking distance or will your child need a ride? Are these locations on the way to work or 20 minutes in the wrong direction? Are you near public transportation?
Proximity to schools and child care is important to consider as big commutes add to family stress. Consider what your morning commute would look like now and in the future. What will it be like with a child each in elementary, middle and high school? The last thing you want is to spend an hour or more in the car getting everyone where they need to be each morning.
A Safe Environment
Safety is very important when considering any neighbourhood, but especially with little ones in tow. Is the home near dangerous, noisy railroad tracks? Is the house near heavy traffic? Scout out businesses in the neighborhood, too — having bars within walking distance is less desirable than ice cream parlors and pizza joints when raising a family.
If you won’t have a garage or assigned parking space, is there ample street parking nearby, or will you need to walk several blocks with kids to get home? Are the streets well lit? Would you feel comfortable walking your dog or kids around the neighborhood in the evening hours?
With these tools and the tips above, finding a family-friendly neighborhood just got a lot easier. Another great ‘tool’? Working with a Waterloo Region real estate agent who knows all the neighbourhoods they sell in well, and can help steer you towards the areas that are best suited to families like yours.