If you’re house hunting and you’re a parent, here are 3 essential tips to find a home which works for your family.
Buying a home is one of the most exciting phases for a couple or single parent.
If you have children, you will need to consider additional factors in your search for the ideal family home.
Not only do you need to think about your own priorities, but your children’s needs will be front and center.
These 3 tips will help you keep your priorities in order so you can find the best possible home for your family.
Location, location, location. That old real estate mantra takes on new meaning when you’re looking for a family home.
Remember that the location of your home may determine the school you send your children to.
(If they aren’t school age already, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your children will never grow up! If only that were true.)
Buying a home in a higher-ranking district usually means your child will be able to attend a more well-funded and higher-performing school.
While you may not endorse this system, you do have to make a choice when it comes to your own child, and many parents opt to buy in the most established neighborhood they can afford for the sake of their children’s education.
Before you even start your property search, it pays to start looking into school districts and ranking your options in terms of neighborhoods you’d consider living in. Having this list to hand will help you limit your search for potential homes and keep your search more focused, saving you time.
It also means you probably won’t even look at homes that would be perfect if not for the school district, which can often lead to frustration.
If you make the decision to aim for a top school district, your decision will pay off in more ways than your child’s education. When it comes time to sell, or if you want to re-mortgage for renovations, your home will increase in value and sell more easily than houses in lower-ranked districts. In this sense, school district rankings can offer useful insights into the future performance of potential homes on the property market.
Any house can be suitably baby-proofed for the safety and comfort of your baby—hot tip: Who Loves Babies has expert tips on how to do this—but you can’t change a floor plan, so make sure you give careful consideration to your needs before you sign the dotted line.
While you may be flexible with the arrangement of rooms if it’s just you, or you and your partner at home, adding children to the mix makes the floor plan a more important consideration.
This is especially important if you’re planning to remain in the house long-term because one day you’ll wake up to find yourself sharing a home with teens!
(Yes, time does move that fast!)
Your floor plan should be ideal for your family’s lifestyle and priorities. If you have a baby, for example, you may like to sleep near them, so it’s important that your new home has a bedroom near to the master bedroom, or at least on the same floor.
If so, then an open-plan kitchen is the way to go.
The number of bathrooms can also be a deal-breaker for many people looking for the ideal family home, especially if your children are a little older.
Moving house can be stressful for children. If their future home is still an unknown quantity, they can be unsettled by the uncertainty, and resent having to move. This feeling of antipathy towards the situation can taint their feelings towards the new home, making the big move difficult for the whole family.
The key to helping your children make the transition is to encourage excitement about the process and let them feel empowered in the decision.
While you’ll probably want to leave the children at home for the first viewing of a potential home, getting your kids involved once you’ve narrowed down your search is a great way to make them feel part of the decision. Begin your house hunting online, and view the house in question on your own until you’re sure it is one of your top contenders, then bring the kids along to see the houses you’re considering for the family.
Most real estate agents won’t mind having your children along for the viewing. Kids ask some entertaining and challenging questions! If your real estate agent is taking you on a tour of your top choices, it’s worth taking your own car, so you have the car seats and other kid-friendly accessories on board.
It’s best not to view more than a few houses at a time, otherwise your child will start to get bored, or find the process overwhelming. Ideally choose a time of day when your child will be energetic and receptive to new information, like first thing in the morning, or after a nap.
While you may feel that you’re bringing your kid along to home viewings for their benefit, you may be surprised by what they bring to the process. Children often notice things that we don’t, and they’re great at feeling the vibe of a place.
You’ll have the final say, of course. And it’s important that your child understands that from the first. But if you have one or two top contenders with not much between them, you may be swayed when you realize that your child feels more comfortable in one space than another.
Whether you have a new-born or three school-age kids, buying a home can be a complicated process with the little people’s needs to consider. These tips will help you find your ideal home.