Buying a home can be a complicated process, and even more so when it’s for your growing family. While buying a small house for yourself or with a partner only requires a few criteria and possible compromises, when it comes to raising children, there are more non-negotiable criteria.
If you’re in the market for a family home, finding a child-friendly house can be a challenge. But here are 6 things you should take note of when looking for that perfect family home to grow your family.
Don’t Settle for Compact
We’re not saying that family homes need to be big – after all, some families can do Tiny House Living despite having kids. But when choosing family homes, it’s best to have as much space as possible to let your children feel comfortable indoors.
Children need space to run around, play with their toys, and have at least some semblance of privacy. Parents love their children, but you could go insane with minimal space and privacy because your house is too small to meet everyone’s needs.
You’ll find homes within your price range that offers more space than others. A large living room can serve as a multi-purpose room for your family’s different activities. Or, if you’re looking for a two or three-bedroom home for your family, be open to homes with more bedrooms which can serve as a guest bedroom or an extra room like a playroom, a mancave, an office, a library, a craft room, or even a storage room.
Don’t settle for a home simply because it’s the cheapest one in your shortlist. If you’re a couple planning on having a certain number of kids or a large family looking for a bigger home, you need to consider the size of your house and the size of your family. When viewing homes, it’s important to think ahead and imagine how practical a certain feature would be in your family’s daily life.
For example, if you’re a family of five, would all of you fit around the dining table given the size of the dining room? If someone visits, is there still enough room or will someone have to eat in the kitchen? Is there enough storage space for all your belongings? Are there enough wall sockets for your appliances? Will some kids need to share a room? These are some of the questions you and your partner need to ask yourselves when viewing all the prospective homes.
Safety Is a Priority
To the average adult, some architecture and interior design choices pose little to no safety hazards. But to toddlers and small children, it can be very dangerous. For example, if you’ve ever seen some staircases in modern houses, you might notice that they have beams with spaces between. There are even stairs with no handrail or guard to keep people from falling off.
And it’s not just the safety hazards indoors, but outdoors as well. If there’s a pool, will it be surrounded by a fence? Are there slopes in the landscaping that can cause them to trip? Is the yard filled with stones that can cut them if they fall?
If your children have reached their pre-teen or teenage years, there’s no need to worry too much about these because they’re more mature enough to handle a non-childproofed home. But if you’re starting a family or have young children, you need to consider how much childproofing you need to do to make the home safer.
And safety isn’t just limited to the property itself. Do your research on the area and find out the crime rate of the neighborhood and the surrounding areas. See if traffic accidents are common in the area. Check the FBI’s sex offender registry websites to see if there are any dangerous sex offenders in the nearby area. Also check how far the nearest hospital is in case of an emergency. It may seem like a lot, but knowing that you’re in a safe location can give you some peace of mind for your kids’ safety.
Aside from the safety checks of the location, also see if it’s a convenient place to raise children. Aside from proximity to good schools (more on that later), see if the neighborhood has everything your children will need to grow. This can include parks, malls, shops, and places for entertainment and extracurricular activities.
Ideally, these places can be walkable, through bicycle, or one short commute that isn’t too difficult for them. Location is one of the factors that can drive a house’s value up or down. Finding a home that offers safety, convenience, and quality won’t be cheap. But it will be worth it when you have everything your family needs at a close distance.
Local School Quality
Should you choose to send your child to a public school, they’ll be attending the school that your home’s school district falls under. And not all public schools are the same in terms of quality, class size, and other factors that can affect your child’s education.
Ideally, the home you want should fall within a high-performing school district’s boundary. If you’re considering a home, do your research and see which school your child will attend should you buy that house. Or if you really want to make sure your child studies in a good school, research good school districts and limit your house-hunting search to those areas.
Research the Neighborhood
Most neighbors won’t pose a threat or safety hazard to your family. While most neighbors will probably just be polite and leave you and your family alone, there’s a chance for two types of neighbors on either end of the spectrum: you could have the worst neighbors living next to you, or the kindest neighbors who will make you feel welcome.
Berkshire Hathaway found that 50% of homebuyers wanted friendly neighbors as their top neighborhood feature. Ideally, your neighbors are friendly, have well-behaved kids your own children can interact with, and are all generally safe and sane people.
When searching for a house, take a few minutes to walk around the nearby area. This can give you a feel of what it’s like to live there as well as a chance to see what the neighbors are like.
Choosing a kid-friendly home can be a challenge as it has more criteria to consider than a home for yourself or you and your partner. But with the right research and a good real estate agent, you can find the right home to grow your family in.