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How to Rent a Home when you have pets (and kids)

Considering Kids' Needs When Choosing a New Neighborhood

Your children should influence family decisions about renting an apartment , condo or house. Thinking about what kids need, and listening to what they want is part of your job as a good parent. Making a list of needs and wants should be at the top of your checklist for rental hunting.

Needs include matters such as safety, good rental management, affordability, ease of access to work and schools, convenient parking and public transportation, play space, proximity to grocery stores and acceptance of pets.

Wants concern interests, such as being close to public libraries, cultural facilities, recreation centers, churches, restaurants and public playgrounds.

Wants and Needs. Sitting down for a discussion with your kids about needs and wants is an opportunity to help them understand the difference between the two. It also gives them a voice in decision-making.

Your top concerns when deciding on an apartment or home rental should be safety, affordability and, as one couple interviewed by The New York Times points out, the family friendly "vibe" of the neighborhood.

Walking and driving a neighborhood as well as talking with local residents are the first steps in getting a feel for an area. If you are interested in a particular apartment complex, ask the manager if it is possible to talk with other family tenants. You can even ask these potential neighbors for opinions about local schools.

Researching Online. A quick way to get started researching neighborhoods and rentals is to view a number of rental real estate locaters online. Check for website features such as neighborhood profiles or what some sites call “heat maps.” These offer statistics and ratings about neighborhood necessities and amenities.

Online research may help you map out places you should visit in a neighborhood before touring it. Visiting local businesses and facilities -- such as supermarkets, medical clinics and recreation centers – gives you an additional snapshot of daily life in an area that you may someday call “home.”

Locate an apartment or house for rent and research schools and neighborhoods today. If you are ready to shop for a home to buy, search available homes for sale by searching through our detailed home listings.

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