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NEIGHBORHOODS

When it comes time to take a look around for a new place to live, most of us exert the majority of our energy on finding a home that has the right features, or that is closest to work or school, or finding a place that fits our budget. All of these are very important things to think about, and none should be overlooked. But there is another consideration worth spending some time on. The neighborhood in which the rental is situated, and the way it fits in with your goals as a renter, is well worth your time and thought. Safety, although probably the first thing that comes to mind and maybe the most important in an examination of the neighborhood, is not all there is to investigate. There are other factors to keep in mind as well.

Safety the First Priority

With that much being said, safety is still the best and most logical place to start because it really is the most important thing to think about when it comes to the neighborhood you'll be living in as a renter. Safety and security are of the utmost importance to all of us. While it is impossible to predict trouble that may befall you in your life as a renter, to a certain extent you can reduce the risk by choosing to live in a safer area.

There are publicly accessible crime statistics available that you can dig up with a little bit of effort. In large cities, these statistics are usually broken up by boroughs or parts of the city. If you are an urban dweller, you may already have an idea of which parts of the town are safest to live in, but it never hurts to look at corroborating data. You might even gain some insight by getting a few quotes together ahead of time on renters insurance for different parts of town. Insurance protection is based on risk assumption, and if a townhouse in one part of town comes back much higher than an apartment a few miles away, there may be a discrepancy in crime prevalence.

Some renters choose to investigate police reports from different parts of town to check into crime rates and the typical sorts of things that go on in the streets in different areas. It is also highly advisable to check out sexual offender lists, which are required to be posted in many areas when a registered offender has moved into town. If you are bothering to take the time to do this sort of research prior to choosing a new rental home, you might as well be thorough. This advice is particularly apropos for out of town residents who are completely new to an area and may not be familiar with crime rates and things of that nature. Even so, there is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution even for someone who has lived in a particular borough his entire life.

Home Rental and Your Children

A single renter has a certain responsibility to think of factors beyond rental price, but this responsibility greatly expands when a whole family is involved in the move. Even the safety factor itself takes on a new dimension of importance when you are moving a houseful of children into a new place. Beyond all the factors external to the home itself that we have already discussed, there are some factors within the apartment or house that you should keep a close watch on when hunting for a rental. For this reason it is critical not to ever rent a home sight unseen, no matter how great of a price you are offered. It is always better to take a walk through the place and use the opportunity to make some mental notes about safety features among other things.

For example, pay attention to the front door as you enter. Is it well lit for night access? Examine the locking mechanism, noting the presence or absence of a functional dead bolt. Dead bolt locks are hugely instrumental in preventing break ins. They create so much extra work for would be thieves that most of the time, they simply give up and move on to a new victim. Any renter getting ready to sign a lease agreement should insist on the installment of dead bolts anywhere they are lacking prior to signing on the dotted line and putting down a deposit.

If your safety concerns have been met and you feel good about the security of a home you're thinking of renting, the next logical step is to consider the neighborhood in the context of your children and their wants and needs. For example, find out about the school district the home is located in, and the specific school your child will be attending if you choose to move there. If possible, make arrangements to meet with educators or other representatives at the school and get a tour. The school your child attends is a very important consideration to keep in mind as a part of the overall picture when you're deciding which rental home to select.

Children in the Neighborhood

Along these same lines, renters with children should also pay attention to the children in the neighborhood surrounding the home they're thinking of renting. Find out if there are children of similar age attending the same school your child would be attending. Ask around and find out about the bus route and the location of the bus stop where your child would be going every morning. Get a sense of the existing social network among the young ones, and try to get an idea of how your child might fit in. You might find a great house or condo for a great price with a huge back yard or a pool, but if your child is a social creature and there are no children nearby, this could be a deal breaker. It is better to find out these sorts of things ahead of time than to learn about them too late to make a difference.

There are many factors we have to bear in mind as renters when it's time to select a home to live in. It can be tough to keep track of all of them at the same time. Our best bet is to try to prioritize according to need and think about all the things we need in an apartment or townhouse. If you find a home that fits all of your needs, you can take a look at anything extra you might be interested in. This same principle applies to your examination of the neighborhood surrounding the home you're considering.

If you find a home in a safe neighborhood near the place you work in a good school district with children near your child's age, you can set your mind on less essential matters: things you would like to see in your home but that are maybe not quite as important. Scope out the neighborhood and make sure it's one you feel good raising a family in. Once you do this the rest of the process is relatively simple.

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