If Your Kids Could Have Their Way, Where Would They Move

Young professionals without kids have the freedom to move based on personal preference, financial reasons, and job opportunities. Often, high-paying jobs and seemingly endless amenities for entertainment, dining, and sightseeing draw people to bustling, costly cities on the coast. Parents, however, operate under a different must-have list where high priority is given to finding family-friendly neighborhoods with ample outdoor space.

To define the best areas for kids, Zillow analyzed 100 of the nation’s largest cities, grading them on commute times, child population, and kid-friendly amenities like theme parks and playgrounds. Consider the following four cities that made the top 10 kid-friendly cities list.

Fort Worth

Out of the top 10 cities for kids, Fort Worth holds the highest percentage of youngsters at 16.1% of the total population. In addition, 13.8% of homes listed for sale in Fort Worth include kid-friendly terms such as “playroom” and “custom treehouse,” which helps relocating parents narrow their scope. Fort Worth holds four parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents, while the median yard size is a comfortable 5,742 square feet. M/I Homes’ Creekwood community in Saginaw, located just north of the city, is representative of Fort Worth family living. Creekwood holds recreational fields, lake access, and green space. Various amenities, including a duck pond, fishing pond, biking trails, playgrounds, and swimming pools, are fundamental for families with children. Plus, close access to I-35W minimizes driving time to and from work for employed parents.

 San Antonio

At no. 4 on the best kid-friendly cities list, San Antonio kids make up 14.6% of the city’s population. House hunters with kids might have an easier time finding the perfect place given 14.3% of listings depict kid-friendly amenities. What San Antonio lacks in accessible public parks – two per 10,000 people – it makes up in yard size at a median 6,211 square feet. San Antonio also holds one of the higher theme park proportions of the top 10 cities at 0.04 per 10,000 residents. If you’re searching for family-friendly homes near San Antonio, consider the Waterford Park community. Waterford Park includes a community pool, playscape, open space and cabana for both adults and children to enjoy. This Alamo Ranch new construction community is located within the highly-rated Northside Independent School District, which feeds into several distinguished elementary, middle, and high school public facilities.

 Charlotte

Charlotte is the sixth best city for child rearing, based on its large kid population (14.3%) and numerous tot-approved listings (8%). With four parks and 0.03 theme parks per 10,000 people, Charlotte doesn’t lack profuse amusement. Still, Charlotte’s distinct attribute is the city’s sizable backyards at a median 10,549 square feet. Avery Park, a new home site in Cornelius, is a prime example of kid-friendly living near Charlotte. Avery Park offers easy access to Lake Norman, parks, playgrounds, a community garden, and dog park. Residents benefit from a convenient location, just 20 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte, facilitating faster commute times throughout the work week.

 Dallas

Dallas comes in no. 10 of the best cities for kids with 15.7% kids and 7.6% of homes listed with kid-friendly terms. Dallas offers three public parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents. The median yard size of 7,133 square feet designed to satisfy any energetic toddler proves everything truly is bigger in Texas. Castle Point is a prime community for single-family house hunters. Located in Garland, northeast of downtown Dallas, Castle Point is a few miles away from George Bush Turnpike and minutes from major highways. In addition, Castle Point is within walking distance of Springfield Park and the Rowlett Creek Preserve, while the greater Garland area holds thousands of acres of green space and nature trails.

While kids are destined to enjoy green space and neighborhood amenities, parents are wise to weigh job opportunities, local schools and real estate prices alongside family must-haves. Luckily, many of these major cities fit everybody’s best interest – regardless of age.

**Jennifer Riner writes about rentals, home improvement and design for Zillow Blog.

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Move Stress Free!

Moving is fun and exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful! There are so many moving pieces with getting your home and family ready to move, that it can often take the excitement out of moving.  However, there are always ways to help make your move stress free (or at least a bit less stressful).  Here are our top 10 suggestions to make your move “stress free”!

  1. Clean out –  Prior to packing, start going through your things and getting rid of anything you haven’t used in months (or scarier – years!). Don’t pack items that you know you’re going to get rid of once you move!  Start a box that can go to Godwill as soon as you know you’re going to be moving!
  2. Collect boxes –  Who said you should have to pay a fortune for moving boxes? Start collecting boxes from family and friends, the office, grocery stores, etc. Check your local websites (places like Craigslist, Facebook groups, etc) to see if people are giving away boxes or selling them for cheap. You’ll be happy you did when you start looking at the prices of boxes in your local stores.
  3. First Day Essentials –  Create a box of first day essentials (trust us you will thank us later). Make sure that this box gets put in your car, or is the first box that is unloaded off of the moving truck. Items such as: glass cleaner, antibacterial wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, scissors, markers, hammers, a shower curtain, paper plates, napkins, cups, first aid kid, etc. are all great items to put into your first day essentials. (You’re most likely going to sweat and there is nothing worse than wanting to go take a shower and realizing you don’t have a shower curtain – take our word for it!)
  4. Color code your rooms –  Assign each room in your new home a color. Utilize stickers to put on each box with those colors, helping you and your movers know where items need to be delivered come moving day. Put a list of all of the rooms and their associated color on the front door or garage door so that your moving team can know exactly where to drop them!
  5. Change of address –  As you receive mail at your current address, call companies to start switching your address information upon moving day. Make sure to leave forwarding information for neighbors and the new owners, just in case!
  6. Keep your clothes on hangers –  Take garage bags and cut holes in the bottom of them to put your hangers through. This will allow you to keep your clothes protected in the move, but organized as well. All you have to do is hang them up in your new closet!
  7. Use what you have –  Wrap your dishes and breakables in towels, blankets, sheets etc. You have to move those items anyways, why not save money from having to buy extra tissue paper or newspaper?
  8. Save your Receipts – Keep all of your moving receipts. Depending on your move (relocating for work) you might be able to write off some of those items on your tax returns!
  9. Arrange for Daycare / Childcare –  Arrange childcare the day of the move if you have children.  If you have pets check to see see if there is a local pet daycare that you might be able to use while moving your items in. With everyone coming and going from your home, it might be easy for someone to accidentally let your dog or cat out of the house.
  10. Label your electronics –  Don’t just start unplugging your computer cords and stuffing them in a box. Utilize labels to properly identify which cords go to what items. You can even use color coded labels (blue for the TV, green for your desktop computer, etc).

Have other suggestions for a stress free move? We would love to hear them!

7 Ways to Help Your Family Adjust to a New City [Guest Blogger]

Uprooting yourself from a familiar place you call home can prove to be a tough task. It takes careful planning, the support of your friends and family, and a period of adjustment to your new locale — in this case, Houston. However, if you do intend on making the leap of faith, following a few simple guidelines can help make your family’s transition easier and more comfortable.

6 Ways to Help Your Family Adjust to a New City

Keep Family Communication Open

As with any other big decision, it’s vital that you keep the avenues of communication open between your family and yourself. Allow them to express all the concerns they have with the impending move. This allows them to air out everything that’s bothering them, giving you the opportunity to help with the transition. Children often take the news the hardest; they must leave behind friends and familiar surroundings. Make sure you take extra time to help them get settled and have them discuss their feelings once you get to your new home.

Move to the Perfect Area of Town

Because moving to a new area can seem overwhelming, especially a thriving one such as Houston, make sure you have everything planned ahead of time. Check out different homes in Houston, see what the community has to offer, and try visiting the area before the move. Finding a home in the perfect area of town to suit your family’s needs can often be the difference between happiness and loneliness. Remember to always ask your family what they think about the new area and house. Make sure your new home feels like home and not just a new house, this may take a little while, especially with children, but making it as comfortable and as beautiful as possible for everyone in the family is key to adjusting to a new city.

Get Involved

Even if you begin to work an insane amount of hours, use your free time to get your family involved in the local community. The sooner you get your spouse or children involved in activities, the faster they’ll acclimate to the move. Many bigger cities like Houston offer an array of free or cheap activities such as youth sports programs, museums, and fun runs to keep your family occupied and get their mind off the move.

Deal With Goodbyes

Perhaps the most difficult part of a move is saying your goodbyes. Everyone has something that they’ll miss. Understanding that everyone copes with this in a different way is important. Make sure you allow everyone to air out their grievances before the move and afterward. That way, you can pay special attention to your family members that are having trouble with the transition.

Schedule Family Days

Once again, the mental health of your family tends to be the most integral aspect of the move. Even if you’re working non-stop, take a day to schedule a family day. While this tends to be a bit more difficult with teenagers, they won’t regret it. Make sure that you don’t make the outing too long. If you have younger children, it’s a perfect way to get your mind off work and entertain the kids by going to the zoo or an Astros, a Texans, or a Rockets game.

Make Your New Home Feel Like Home

Making your new abode feel like home means making it as comfortable and as aesthetically pleasing to everyone in your family. It’s a good idea to have the whole family help out and have some input in the decorating and painting process of the new home. Check out these apps to help spur some creative design ideas. Letting them pick out the new paint colors, theme and decorations for their own rooms, will give them a sense of customization, ownership and pride in their new home, which will in turn expedite the adjustment process.

Help Your Spouse

Much like your children, your spouse has doubts and questions about the new move. To help with the transition, make sure your finances are in order. This allows your spouse to search for a rewarding job as opposed to taking the first one that comes their way. Also, lend ideas to how they spend their free time. Sitting idly at home is a horrible way to transition to a new city, so finding clubs, trivia nights, and open mics is a great way to meet new people and have fun at the same time. No matter where you choose to move and at what time in your life, the transition is harder than you think. However, you can help smooth things over by making sure your family is in good spirits. This will enable you to keep your focus on your job and not stressing out over things at home. A healthy family life should be the focal point, and once everyone is adjusted, you’ll find yourself loving life in a new place and enjoying new adventures for years to come.

***

JT Ripton is a freelance writer out of Tampa, who loves to write about a myriad of things, home improvements, moving and interior decorating being a few of them, you can follow JT on twitter @JTRipton

New Homeowner’s Checklist

Moving into a new home soon? Here’s a handy checklist of things to do before & after the big move, put together by SecurityChoice.net, an ADT Authorized Company. Enjoy!

Download the checklist: SCnet-Homeowner-Checklist

SCnet-Homeowner-Checklist

Still looking for that new home? Browse away.

Selling & Moving Don’t Have to be 4-Letter Words.

Spring is almost here.

Wait, we didn’t hear any cheering! For those of us who reside up north, Spring is a big deal. Dreams of sunshine and warmer days consume our thoughts. The break in weather also means that more people start to think about moving into a new home and hope for a bustling real estate season.

If you’re one of those who needs to get his or her home ready for potential buyers to “ooh” and “ahh” at your stunning taste in decor, here’s a great place to start. We’ve dug up some blogs that will point you in the right direction and hopefully have you on your way to “sold!” more quickly.

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