What to Consider When Planning a Move with Tweens

By Steffi Freedman

Nearly six years ago, my family and I made the move from the city to suburbs. It wasn’t pretty. I was eight months pregnant with my second child, devastated to leave, and yet, here we were, showing our home to prospective buyers, as we figured out what suburban town was the right one for us.

We set out on an in-depth search of where to raise our family next looking at everything from proximity to the city, school districts, community, and nearby parks and recreation. After renting for one year to “test-drive” the area, we ended up moving to a town nearby that had a vibe matching more of what we wanted.

Moving with children at any stage — whether it is within the city or out to the ‘burbs — is an interesting situation, but when you have ‘tweens, there are some key things to consider:


1) School District. If you plan to send your children to public school, this is incredibly important. You can go online and do research on a site like Niche, or survey people via Facebook, but keep in mind that you do not know the context of the commenters’ points of view. For something like this, finding a trusted and vetted person to have a discussion with will allow for a more open and thorough dialogue. Also, many schools will offer tours upon request where you can talk with the principal and other key people who would have an impact on your experience (i.e. a coach, the guidance counselor, the music director, etc.)

2) Community. Consider what you are looking for in your town or neighborhood. What kind of activities are available for your ‘tween – individually and as a family? Do you want a place where everyone knows your business or are you craving a more private existence? I am a huge proponent of visiting a town’s coffee shops or a going out for brunch to get a true feel of its vibe. You’ll find – especially at a coffee shop – flyers for local events, local business cards, and a higher chance of people interested in engaging in small talk about their community.

3) Safety. Of course anything can happen anywhere, but you may also want to consider reaching out to the police departments in the towns or neighborhoods you are considering. Someone there can give you local crime statistics and insight into any activity in the area.

For all of this and more, it’s best to enlist the help of a real estate agent who knows the neighborhoods you are considering. That person will know the minutiae about various locales, upcoming development, who to connect you with for the nitty gritty, and how to look beyond the online listing to see if it’s really the best fit for you and your family. Where you move matters, and, ultimately it’s your move.

Steffi Freedman is a real estate agent as well as the founder of The Freedman Team with Compass Real Estate. She and her team help people buy, sell, and invest in Center City and on the Main Line while connecting clients with agents who could best serve them in areas all over the world. She can be reached at steffi.freedman@compass.com and found on social media @thefreedmanteam.