Buying a house has a lot of moving parts to consider and that can be exponentially more true for families. Whether you already have kids, are planning to start a family in the future, or have a bun in the oven right now, before you sign the papers to become a homeowner, there are quite a few things you need to do and know.
Instead of scrolling through social media before you call a realtor, use your smartphone as a learning tool today and take a few minutes to read this article.
No matter if you’re going to have to be baby-proof for the first time and just need a two-bedroom home or your family could rival The Brady Bunch, buying the right-sized home will help you stay put for a while. Are you going to need room to grow in the next few years? Are the various types of conventional loans and mortgages available right now going to cover what you need? Or should you wait a while to get the most bang for your buck?
The adage for small businesses, “location, location, location,” is critically true for your home too. If you have children or plan to, seeking out a secure neighborhood with family-centric facilities becomes crucial. Although real estate agents cannot provide insights into specific school ratings, crime rates, or local demographics due to restrictions under the Fair Housing Act, you can conduct personal research.
When preschool programs and public education are part of your plan, evaluate local educational institutions by accessing the school district’s official site or GreatSchools.org. Pay attention to the student-teacher ratio and standardized test results — generally, a lower ratio and higher test scores indicate better quality. The age and condition of the school buildings are also worth considering.
Your children’s education has to have room to grow so they can make good use of their college funds.
Now that the neighborhood and size of the home are determined, it’s time for the kid’s side of things. Creating a checklist of child-friendly features can be a valuable strategy when house hunting and here are a few to consider:
- Storage: Children accumulate items quickly. From strollers and car seats in the baby stage to bicycles and sports gear as they grow older, consider houses with adequate storage areas to keep their belongings organized.
- Stairs: In a house with babies or toddlers, ensure that the stairs can be safely gated. Open staircases may be visually appealing, but safety should be the priority.
- Bathtubs: Children love bathtubs. So, make sure your future home has at least one spacious bathtub where you can comfortably sit on the edge.
- Fenced yard: Outdoor play is essential for children. A house with a safely fenced backyard offers a secure play area for them.
- Laundry: Kids mean laundry, lots of it. Ideally, the laundry room should be easily accessible and not next to a child’s room to avoid disruption of their sleep by potential noise from the appliances.
- Safety Hazards: Home safety extends beyond outlet covers and cabinet stops. Be aware of larger safety concerns. For example, a home with a swimming pool may require additional fencing or alarms, and outdated electrical systems could pose a risk.
- Open floor plan: An open floor plan facilitates supervision, allowing you to prepare meals while keeping an eye on playing children. Look for a home with a kitchen that overlooks the family room, offering space for family activities like game nights or movie marathons.
In the whirlwind of home buying, remember it’s more than just a property – it’s a space for your family to grow, learn, and create memories. So, prioritize the needs of your family, keeping in mind both immediate necessities and future requirements, to make the best choice for your new home.