Each stage in life has different demands and different priorities. Families in the children-rearing stage of life have a unique set of demands and priorities in regards to their home. And this is why many young couples begin looking for a new home after starting a family. It’s always a great idea to consider the changing needs of your family and what is most important in your next home. Below we’ll help you consider those needs by going through four essential questions to ask yourselves in the home buying process.
First, does the floorplan fit my family?
Open floors plans are a great idea for any family. And we’ve learned that spaces that can double as a work area/play area are also a great idea. With a good budget changes can be made to fit the floor plan to your family. For example, our washer and dryer used to live in the basement. But with the arrival of our kids, we moved it to the second floor, so Claude wouldn’t have to drag the kids downstairs when she did laundry. This was a small adjustment, but it made a big difference. Other floor plan changes are not feasible- so pay attention to the aspects of floor plan that can’t be changed.
“THIS WAS A SMALL ADJUSTMENT BUT IT MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE.”
How well do I know the neighborhood?
It’s one thing to buy a fixer upper in a dumpy neighborhood as a couple, but it’s a whole other thing to buy a home when there are kids in the picture. Our best tip is to walk around in the potential neighborhood and look for people outside or walking their dog. There’s nothing like first hand advice from someone who lives there. The most honest opinions on the condition of a neighborhood will come from those already living there.
What is the yard like?
Obviously, this is a big question for families. Ask yourself if the space is large enough for a birthday party, to throw a football or to set up a swimming pool. Also take note of whether there is a fence around the yard or not. If fencing is needed, it will be a substantial cost that should be taken into account.
Finally, am I satisfied with the schools?
Again, first hand opinion is optimal. Talking to neighbors is a great place to start. However, that’s not always possible. If that’s the case, local reviews and national survey data can provide some insight into the condition of the schools in the area.
“Buying a home for a family will always be a challenge… but not an insurmountable one.”
These four questions encompass much of what needs to be considered when buying a home for a family. According to Trulia
“Half of all homeowners have at least one regret about their current home.”
While that’s a shocking statistic, we think it’s true. Even Claude and I regret one aspect of our kitchen. We installed a multi-level island which looks stunning, but unfortunately is too high for our kids, making it hard for them to sit at it to eat breakfast. Other families wish that they had more space. A lot of parents want a place in their home that can be kept neat and organized for guests, but also another area where kids can play and enjoy themselves. Identifying these needs is valuable.
But while we would all love the optimal space for our family, that’s not always possible. I’m just going to say it, it’s important to learn how to live efficiently. In that same Trulia
article, the author comments,
“One third of owners with buyer’s remorse wished they’d put more money down or waited until they were in better financial shape. So, if you’re bidding on a home that’s $20,000 out of your price range, don’t strain your finances. You’ll need to pay back that extra loan with interest.”
We couldn’t agree more with this advice. Don’t overstretch your budget in order to meet every inch of your criteria.
Once you are in your new home there will be more maintenance and running costs than you realize right now. If you feel stretched when you’re putting an offer together, you won’t feel any less stretched when you start getting house related bills each month. A great way to save money is to buy something smaller and learn to live efficiently. Larger homes cost more in so many ways. They cost more to heat or cool; they cost more to renovate; and finally, they cost more time and energy to keep clean. Buying a home for a family will always be a challenge… but not an insurmountable one.
Kids will grow up, housing needs will change, and so will you. One day they’ll be needing more space to park their cars, instead of more space to play jump rope. One day they’ll be needing more space to entertain friends than to play with toys. Life moves on and things change. But we firmly believe that home will always be wherever you are with your family.
And that doesn’t change.
PS. The Chris & Claude Co. sells and buys homes through Kingsway Realty.