Things to consider when looking for a family-friendly rental

Private Property South Africa
Veronica Logan

It’s difficult enough to find a suitable rental when you’re just looking for yourself but throw a family into the mix and things start to get a whole lot trickier! To help make your property search easier, we’ve identified 6 factors that you should consider when trying to find a new home for you and yours.

1. Schooling opportunities
Probably the most important factor to consider when looking at potential rentals is knowing what your options are when it comes to schools. Moving into an area and having access to good education is crucial for families, so be sure to consider things like what schools are close by, what the waiting lists are like, how big the classes are and so on. It’s also important to consider what your children’s future educational needs will be i.e. anticipating what they will need in terms of high school, especially when most high schools tend to pull from catchment schools in surrounding areas. It’s therefore incredibly important to familiarise yourself with what’s on offer before making any long-term rental commitments.

2. The location
While location is important to anyone when viewing a potential rental, having a family does add a different dynamic to this consideration. For example, finding a rental on a quieter street is generally preferable for families, especially with young kids who will more often than not want to be playing outside whenever possible. Similarly, you won’t want to move your family into a rental that’s close to a hub of night-time activity, so be sure to consider your potential surroundings thoroughly beforehand. It’s also worthwhile taking into account your morning commute time, as basing your family close to where you need to get to can make all the difference, especially in the chaos of the early morning “up and at ‘ems”!

3. Proximity to neighbourhood amenities
When considering the location of a potential rental, it’s also recommended that you consider what amenities and recreational facilities are available to you and your family. A rental close to a library, local swimming pool or park could be an absolute win if these are well-looked after and maintained, so be sure to check them out before you commit to anything.

4. Safety
The safety of your family is another crucial consideration when it comes to a potential rental. Apart from carefully researching the actual location, safety also pertains to less obvious factors such as the safety features of the rental itself i.e. the integrity of the locks, whether there are burglar guards or a working alarm system etc. Furthermore, it’s important to consider the actual layout of the rental from a safety perspective particularly with young children i.e. are there steep stairs, is there easy access to a balcony, does the yard have a fence, can you baby-proof the rental if need be etc.

5. Storage and space
Families tend to take up a lot more space, especially as children grow older or new additions are welcomed. Rentals can often be limiting in terms of space, for both living and storage, so be sure to thoroughly assess your family’s needs both present and future. Look at the number of bedrooms on offer as well as the space you will need. For example, a cot may easily fit into a bedroom but if you plan on staying for longer than a year or two, consider how easily a bed will fit in once it’s time to replace the cot. With older kids, consider whether you’ll be able to store their outdoor items, like bikes or sporting equipment. It’s also important to consider how much room your kids have to play in, both inside and out.

6. The neighbourhood
While this might be wishful thinking, finding a rental next door to a family with children of a similar age to yours is always an added bonus when considering a potential rental. Areas that are predominantly home to families also often have added security features such as speed bumps in the road or street signs warning motorists that there are children in the area. It’s also worthwhile doing some research on a potential area and making sure that no incidents have occurred there that could be of concern.

At the end of the day, taking the time to find a rental that suits your family’s needs is definitely worth it in the long run. No one knows your family better than you do, so make sure you consider all the factors, both present and future, before settling down.

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