When you decide to have kids, your housing priorities change. A small and cozy apartment may be perfect for a single person or a couple, but life with kids in a minimal space is more than challenging. Growing families will often outgrow their previous homes and decide to move to a better one for their needs. Searching for your dream house is exciting, but be ready to make many important decisions about the next chapter of your life. Here’s what you need to know about finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family.
There is no universally right timing for buying a home. Many millennial homebuyers are currently searching for homes for their families. Some decide to buy before they have children, while others wait. Everything has some pros and cons:
- If you buy a family home before having kids, you’ll have room to grow, and maybe you’ll be more relaxed. You won’t have to move while expecting a baby and going through a rollercoaster of emotions that all parents-to-be face. The downside to this timing is that you might not know all your parenting decisions yet, which may affect the home buying process.
- If you wait until your baby is on its way, you may have a better picture of what you want for your kids. However, finding a home at that time and organizing a relocation may be very stressful for a pregnant woman.
- Waiting until you have one or more kids will give you time to better understand the family’s needs and priorities. However, looking at homes while your kids are young can be overwhelming.
Whether you find yourself in any of these situations, just have in mind that finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family isn’t easy, but it’s worth any trouble.
Set your budget
Set your price range and know what you can afford. Think carefully about many factors. For example, if you’ll have more kids, will both parents be able to continue to work, and you’ll still have two incomes? What is your usual monthly budget? A large home will require more investment and more maintenance. The bigger the house, the higher the electrical bills and other utility bills will be. That’s why you need to consider energy-efficient appliances when home-hunting.
No matter the timing, the budget, or the location, moving to a new home while having to juggle family and all other responsibilities will be challenging. What is important is that you choose a good long-term investment and consider all the factors before deciding. Probably some compromises will have to be made, so discuss everything together with your partner.
The main thing you want for your kids is a safe neighborhood with a family-friendly community and amenities. Research and check the quality of schools in the potential neighborhood, crime rates, and demographics. Then, drive around that area. Make a visit after school hours and on weekends. Do you see families with children? Are there many playgrounds, swing sets, or basketball hoops? Are there kids playing outdoors? Check nearby recreation and entertainment options – parks, recreation centers, pools, fitness centers, museums, etc.
When deciding on the home size, first create a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves. If you know for sure that you’ll only have one child, a home with two bedrooms is desirable. However, if you’re expecting a second or a third child, look for a home with at least three bedrooms. Your children can share a room, but while one of them is still a baby, it may disturb the older brother/sister’s sleep. Think about all aspects, the present and future.
When your kids grow and become teenagers, they’ll probably need separate bedrooms and a place where they can hang out with friends. Furthermore, more and more people work remotely, so many young professionals are looking for a home office in a house. Think if you will need a guestroom. Pets are also members of a family and have needs. So consider the outdoor space too. A garden will also be crucial for your family gatherings during the summer, such as barbeques, birthday celebrations, family dinners, etc.
Finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family includes finding as many possible kid-friendly features. When looking at houses, you need to answer all of these questions:
- Are the doors, windows, and stairs safe enough? Will your family be safe from break-ins or possible accidents? Stairs must be safely gated for the security of your baby and toddler.
- Is there enough storage space? More kids – more stuff. As kids grow, they’ll have more and more clothes and toys, not to mention bicycles, various requisites, and sports equipment. You need as much closet space as possible to be able to store all their items.
- How big is the yard? Kids need to spend time outside in the fresh air. A house with a big, fenced yard will ensure they have a safe place to play.
- Is there a bathtub? Look for a house that has at least one spacious bathtub; children love them.
- Will you have a laundry room? A laundry room is actually one of the top home features for 2021. Everybody who has children needs to deal with lots of dirty clothes. Your washer and dryer should be conveniently placed in a laundry room that isn’t adjacent to the children’s room. They might wake each time the washer and dryer are on.
- Is there an open-floor space? A kitchen should overlook the living room, so you’ll be able to cook while your kids are playing. Open spaces are great for family bonding, game nights, and movie nights.
- Is a home kid-proofed? When expecting a child, baby-proofing is necessary. Install outlet covers and cabinet stops and replace outdated electrical systems.
- Will you have enough space for parking? Is there a garage? This will all influence your everyday life.
Relocation to your dream home
Once you find all (or the majority) of these features in a home that you can afford, you can start the homebuying process. When the home is yours, the only thing left is to hire relocation experts that are right for you and prepare for a move. Pack your stuff carefully and methodically, and rely on a babysitter if necessary. It will make the situation easier for all of you.
With all of this in mind, we hope that finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family will be successful and as quick and easy as possible. Once you move in, you’ll have countless happy moments and make thousands of happy memories together.
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Northern Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.
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