There’s a lot to consider when choosing a home to buy. But when you have kids an extra layer of complexity gets added. You’ll have to consider not just their needs and wants, but also their safety. If you’re a new parent, then you’ll soon develop a skill for scanning each room for risk assessments. Honestly, from the time your baby can crawl, to the time he/she finally understands that touching electric outlets is not a good idea, it can be exhausting visiting other people’s homes. Your own home shouldn’t be exhausting. It should be a place of safety and comfort where you can relax without having to keep a second eye on your child every two minutes. To help make things easier for you, here are some things to consider when buying a home with kids.
1.) Size and Layout
This will probably be your first consideration, whether you’re a new family or the kids are already in their teens. You’ll definitely need plenty of storage for toys and sports equipment. Perhaps also a playroom where the kids can be loud while the other side of the house remains relatively quiet. Also, think about future needs. If you’re planning to stay in this home until the kids are grown up, then ask yourself if it can accommodate that. If your children are still only toddlers, then you’ll want a room for them that’s located close to yours. A room at the other end might be nice in 10 years when your son or daughter decides to take up drumming as a hobby, but when they’re young you’ll want to be near them.
The key things to consider are the kitchen and dining room size, the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms. Is the kitchen or dining area big enough to accommodate everyone? What about when you have extended family over?
Right on the heels of being sure there is enough space and a workable layout is safety. You’ll want to be able to relax in your home without having to worry about your child’s safety. When viewing a home, closely scrutinize it for safety issues. Do any of the countertops, shelves or tables have sharp, dangerous corners? Is it easy to fix a gate to the stairway, both up and down? Are the sockets easy to childproof? Is an open floor plan a benefit to keeping an eye on your child or is it a hindrance by making it difficult to childproof?
When you buy a home, you’re also buying the neighborhood, so you’ll want to scrutinize that closely as well. Your child will certainly want playmates and you’ll definitely need a babysitter from time to time. So inquire about how many families live in the area. Also, look into crime rates and check a Megan’s Law website to see if any dangerous offenders live nearby. As well as that, you’ll also what to check where the closest hospital is in case of an emergency.
If your child is of school-going age or will be soon, then school quality should be of paramount importance. If a home is advertised as being close to a highly-regarded school, check that it’s located in the same district as your home. Knowing the school districts before you start your search will help keep you focused. You can use sites like greatschools.org and niche.com to research local schools. While homes located in districts with high-quality schools will be more expensive, that will still remain the case if you ever want to sell later on. A high-quality school is a huge selling point and not something to disregard even if you’re not thinking of selling for many years.
This ties in somewhat with the others but you’ll want to consider the location as a whole before deciding. As important as it is to think about your children’s needs you also need to think about your own. Does the location suit your interests and lifestyle? Do you like having friends over, going out for a coffee or a glass of wine or being close to friends and family? Commuting is another consideration if you don’t have a car or don’t plan on using it for getting to and from work. You work best as a parent when you’re in an environment that makes you happy, so don’t leave that out of your considerations. Your child will be happy where you’re happy.