Finding the perfect home is one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face. There are so many factors which go into your decision – from where your job is based to what budget you have available. And of course, everybody has a different idea of what makes a dream home. However, if you’re hunting for a family home to raise your children in, there are certain factors you’d be wise to consider in your search. In general, you should be looking for a home you can occupy for a span of at least five to ten years, with room to expand into. Finding a great house to raise kids in goes much further than just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms – that can always be altered later anyway. Here are the top considerations to mull over:
- What is the neighbourhood like?
Of course, you will want to select a house which within a reasonable commute of your workplace, but when it comes to your neighbourhood you need more than that. A sense of community becomes increasingly important when you have small children in a way that it often isn’t as a young professional without a family. You’ll want to be ideally in a neighbourhood with lots of young families, nursery facilities, playgrounds and of course great schools. Having other families as your neighbours ensures a child-friendly community and probably a good few mother and baby coffee mornings as well.
2. What Is Your Outdoor Space Like?
As a singleton or a young couple, as long as there is enough space to squeeze a few friends round for a barbecue, you don’t generally mind having less outdoor space, but children change all that – they will certainly need outdoor space to play. Also assess how safe any garden space is or can be made to be – does it have secure perimeters and a secure gate to enter and exit? If you’re not looking for a house for sale, but you want an apartment, then look to see if the location is near parks and other outdoor spaces that you can reach easily.
3. Is It A Smart Home?
Smart tech, or AI, in the home is becoming increasingly common, and for families with young children it’s a huge bonus. Network controlled security, heating and air conditioning units, lighting, safety features, and entertainment systems have gone mainstream in the last few years. And as parents of young children, they can be really useful, not least because you spend a lot more time at home. It may seem like a nice must-have now, but when you’re struggling to get the baby to sleep, having the ability to control lights, window shades or heating from your phone can become very valuable indeed, as anyone who has ever been trapped under a sleeping baby can attest!
4.Is There A Family Kitchen?
The kitchen really is the heart of the house when you have kids – it’s where everyone tends to naturally congregate, kids play with their toys or do homework and you share family meals – so it’s a good idea to make sure the kitchen is a decent sized room, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in there. Ideally, choose one with plenty of space for a dining table and chairs, perhaps some modular seating and perhaps an island with bar stools for quick breakfasts in the morning. Remember, if the house you like doesn’t have this you could add it – if you space available and the location allow it. In many ways, this is better as you can choose exactly what you want, but it will obviously add cost, so make sure you use your negotiation skills to secure a price reduction to allow some slack in the budget to cover a kitchen renovation if necessary.
5.What Is The Entryway Like?
It may seem quite a minor issue, but anyone with a young family knows that babies and toddlers come with a whole heap of equipment. On a daily basis, you are likely to be bustling in and out with a pram, car seat, changing bag, toys, snacks, schoolbag, sports equipment, coats, shoes and more. A decent porch or a spacious hallway can really help with this, as you can kit it out with a storage bench, pegs and other clever solutions to keep the clutter contained and make sure that you always know exactly where the kids stuff is to avoid the stressful morning dashing about the house trying to find things will cause.
6.What Are The Local Facilities Like?
Suddenly, when you have little people relying on you, you’re going to find yourself dashing to the local shop to pick up the carton of milk you forgot or the pack of nappies when you’ve run out, or needing to get hold of medicines at odd times – because teething never happens when it’s convenient! So the local shops and facilities become much more important. Having a supermarket or a well stocked local store can make all the difference at these critical moments, as well as having a doctor’s surgery and a pharmacy relatively close by. This move can save you a lot of stress on many occasions.
7.Is There Room To Grow?
You may not know at this point how many children you’re going to have, or how big your family will end up being. Life is full of unpredictabilities when it comes to such things – could the next baby turn out to be twins? Will the kids demand a dog? Will you decide you need to start up a business and work from home to get a better work-life balance? So it’s a good idea to choose a family home which has the potential to be expanded in the future – or even look at building your dream home. Look for things like a large yard that you could extend into without losing all your outdoor space, a basement or attics which could be converted to provide a study or more bedrooms, garage space at the side which you could build on top of – or even outdoors space where you could site a garden room or studio. This will help to future proof your home and means that you won’t have to go through all the stress and upheaval of moving again if your circumstances change quickly.
8. Can You Add Value?
The house that you buy should be first and foremost a family home which suits your lifestyle. However, it’s also worth thinking about it in terms of the financial side. As the biggest investment you are likely to make, and also something many people see as a future inheritance for their children, it makes sense to understand if the house is likely to appreciate in value. If it’s in a desirable area or somewhere up and coming, it’s likely to gain value through time, but also assess what you could do in the future – adding more square footage is a good way to drive up the value of your property. If a home already has everything possible done, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do anything to add much more to the bottom line, so you’ll be reliant on market-driven inflation only.