Everyone needs a place to call home, and on a tight budget, housing costs can seem staggering. However, with some creativity and flexibility, you can find affordable housing and create a home of your very own.
The first thing to consider when deciding where to live is the location.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel safe in this home and this neighborhood?
- It’s important to feel safe in the home and the neighborhood where you choose to live.
- Here is a list that can help you assess your neighborhood’s safety and take precautions to ensure you and your family’s security.
- How far away is it from work or school? What is the cost of transportation?
- Traveling to work or school is different for everybody. When choosing a place to live, look at the time and cost it will take to get to your job or school. Transportation is different for everybody, so it is good to look at the options available to you.
- Ask yourself: What will work for my budget and time?
- How close is it from day care or school for my child/children?
- Child care and school are important considerations when choosing a place to live. If your child will be in day care or at school while you are work, it will be important to look at the time it will take to get him or her there from your residence and the cost for travel. Check out GreatSchools.org to find reviews written by parents and students of schools in the neighborhood you’re considering.
- Am I close to my support network?
- It will also be important to think about how close you will be to your support network, or if there will be a support network at the new place you choose to live.
- Depending on your situation, staying with your support network could be the most viable option until you are ready to live on your own.
The second thing to consider is the type of apartment or house, particularly:
- Is this house already baby and toddler proofed?
- Safety is important, and some homes will not be up to date with safety regulations for a child. It will be important to look at the time and cost it would take to make your new home safe for a child/children.
- Check out our article on How to Make Your Home Safe for a Baby. (add link)
- How long do I plan to live there?
- How long you plan to live in your new home will impact your choice of where to live. If you are looking at short-term living, then you probably don’t want to choose a place that requires you to spend all of your time and money to make it livable if you will soon be leaving.
- You also need to look at the duration of a lease, if renting. If you plan on leaving in six months, you won’t want to be signing a one to two-year contract with a landlord. Read over any lease front to back so that you are completely aware of what is expected of you. Consider bringing friends or family with you to a lease or contract signing as a support system, and add a second voice in the decision.I
- If you are looking to find a long-term place to live, then you will need to consider the work and cost it will take to make it a safe and affordable place to be. The lease or monthly payments on a home over the course of a longer period will be different than for short-term living.
- What are the other costs besides rent or monthly down payments on a house?
- Check to see if utilities are included in the rent, or how much the average monthly utilities are for that area. Most gas and electric companies have average costs in their records to tell you what the cost would be for a particular place. Some utilities are a set price for each month, and some will vary depending on your use. You will want to check with your landlord or realtor to look into these extra monthly costs when choosing a place to live. For some ideas on how to save on monthly costs, check out “Tips for Saving on Monthly Expenses.” (WDB link)
There is no single answer to the question of, “Where’s the best place to live?” There are many different options and ways to answer this question. No matter if you rent, buy, or stay with a support network, you can create a safe and loving home for you and your family.