House Hunting in the City Finding the Perfect Home for Your Family

As parents we strive to create the perfect home for our children. A place of solitude, refuge–a place to call home. A place where our children can play freely in the backyard; a place where they can socialize and grow with other children; a place where they are safe. As parents we research every aspect of home buying from school districts to neighborhood stores. But what specifically should parents look for in their search for the perfect home? How can they find the perfect home in New York City where white picket fences, large backyards and cul-de-sacs do not exist but, instead, elevators, doormen and the subway are the norm?

According to Jane Gladstein, executive vice president of Corcoran Group Marketing, a division of The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage firm in Manhattan, "The perfect apartment rarely exists. We help buyers find the right environment and the right home that meets their needs."

When looking for a home, there are four factors to consider: the neighborhood, the building, the apartment, and of course, your budget. "Keep in mind," cautions Connie Day, marketing director and former sales agent of Bellmarc Companies, a Manhattan-based real estate brokerage and management firm, "You may have to alter your choice of neighborhood to get the space you need within your budget."

The Neighborhood

The most important criteria of a neighborhood, if you have or plan on having children, is the school system. Before you select a neighborhood, Day advises deciding whether to send your children to private or public school. If you choose a public school, you must live in the school district. If you opt for a private school, you’ll want it conveniently located near your home. Being in walking distance of a school is convenient for parents or caretakers who will need to go back and forth to the school. If it’s not, "it doesn’t matter how nice your apartment is," says Day. Adrienne Albert, president of Marketing Directors, a real estate brokerage firm in Manhattan, agrees, "Time is a problem for parents." Close proximity to the school affords parents more time with their children. "What parents are buying is time with their children. You don’t want to schlep your children around the city when you can be spending time with them."

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