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Tips for Purchasing a Home with Children in Mind

One of the first parts of the home buying process is determining your housing wants and needs so that you can know what to look for when home shopping. One important factor to consider for your wants and needs list is whether or not you plan to have children. However, most people leave it at that and don’t dive deeper into how exactly having a child affects your housing needs. Here are important factors to consider when home shopping if you are a parent or plan to be a parent.

Space

The first aspect to consider is also the most obvious: space. Adding another person to the household requires enough space to accommodate them, so knowing the amount of rooms that you need is crucial. Also, don’t forget how important privacy can be, so make sure that your master suite can function as a place to relax and get some alone time.

In addition to bedrooms, the number and size of bathrooms should be near the top of the priorities list. Think about whether or not the main children’s bathroom is large enough to accommodate two children getting ready at the same time since this can prevent future scuffles.

Play space is also an important consideration. If possible, shop for a home that has a large living room area or even a den/spare room that can be used for a play area. Evaluate the front yard for location and orientation to cars and main roads. Backyard space can also be used as a central area where children can participate in outdoor activities. Think about whether or not the backyard is visible from inside of the house so that you can supervise the children while finishing chores or other indoor tasks.

Caring for a child means more laundry, so a laundry room that can fit a large washer and dryer without affecting ease of access can be a lifesaver. The location of the laundry room can also make a very big difference in your home life. A basement or garage laundry area may be out of the way and quieter, but it may also cause more inconvenience than a laundry room on the first floor.

Lastly, you should think about how much space you will need for your family’s belongings. This includes built-in storage like shelves, closets, pantry, and cupboards. However, one aspect of storage that is often ignored is entry storage. Entry storage is the built-in storage at the entryway of a home that can be used to set down car seats, backpacks, groceries, and other items upon coming into the house. Many parents don’t realize just how beneficial entry storage can be until it’s too late.

Safety

Safety is a far higher priority for parents than the childless. While most prefer areas with low crime rates and structurally sound homes, parents must take additional steps for their children’s safety.

There are virtually no homes that are 100% childproof. So when viewing homes, parents and expectant parents should think about safety in terms of how much work it would take to make areas of the home childproof. If the home has stairs, how hard would it be to block them off from toddlers? A narrower staircase with few openings on the railing can be easily blocked off with a couple of baby gates. OSHA regulations mandate that that guardrails for balconies and landings must be 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches. If the guardrails are too short for your comfort, that could end up being a deal breaker.

Homes with pools should have a safety fence to prevent accidental drownings. Pool safety fences go for around $100 dollars, so if you find your dream home with an unfenced pool, you can just work this into your new home budget by looking around at your options.

The traffic nearby the home is also very important. Consider how safe it is to cross the street, the volume of traffic, and how well-regulated traffic is in the home’s area. This is one reason why cul-de-sacs are so sought after.

Our last safety item to consider is how the home’s design plays into your supervision abilities. For example, an open floor plan can allow you to cook dinner in the kitchen while the children play in the living room without losing sight of them. New parents can benefit from bedrooms that are close together. However, if you’re planning on living in your home for a long time, you should think about how well that arrangement will work when your children become teenagers.

Location and Other Factors

Location is vital to your personal housing needs as well as future parental needs.

Review what kind of neighborhood you’ll be moving into. Are there sidewalks in good condition and is the home in a family-oriented area where you’ll be among other families? To get an idea of what a neighborhood’s atmosphere is like, visit it at multiple different times of the day and on different days of the week (at least one weekday visit and at least one weekend visit). The difference between a neighborhood during the day and that same neighborhood during the night can be as drastically different. Some might call it a “night and day” difference.

Beyond neighborhood culture, it is also important to think about your proximity to emergency services and hospitals. A long police response time or trip to the emergency room can literally be a matter of life and death, so don’t let this element of your home’s location fall off of your radar.

Schooling is central to raising a child and local school systems are one of the better-known facets of buying a home as a parent. So when shopping, ask yourself how far away local schools are and whether or not they meet your standards. If the schools aren’t close by, is the commute manageable for your family?

In addition to school commutes, you should consider what your work commute would be since a shorter commute means can mean more time at home with the family. For when you aren’t able to watch your children, you should also pay attention to how close childcare services are to the home and how well that works into your commute.

Lastly, examine other common attractions such as grocery stores, parks, and other local businesses in the area since you will most likely be visiting them often.

Every day we meet with clients and real estate agents to help plan out the ideal home and location for a purchase. Depending on the location and price of the home, sometimes this requires compromise and extra planning. Contact us for more information about qualifying for financing options that may greatly improve your purchasing power for the home you desire. We are available to help you budget and explore all of your options, give us a call today.

 

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Financing details are for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon by you. Rates, program terms, fees, and conditions are subject to change without notice. Not all products are available in all states for all amounts. All mortgage applications are subject to underwriting guidelines and approval. This is not an offer of credit or a commitment to lend. Residential Wholesale Mortgage, Inc. is licensed by the CA Bureau of Real Estate #01174642 and Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS# 79445


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