Shopping for a new home is both an exciting and complex process, especially if you’re looking for a place to raise a family. Parents of young children will have unique priorities and concerns, when it comes to selecting a new home. Even if you’ve given your growing family’s needs some thought, there may be some details you’ve forgotten. Take the time to review this guide and jot down notes, as you go, so you’ll have a keener eye for these important home features.
1. Look at the Neighborhood
Many couples get so excited about viewing the homes on the market that they don’t really pay attention to much else, during showings. As you drive up to the home, look at the other homes in the neighborhood. Do they seem well-maintained, or does the area seem to be on a decline? Look to see if there are neighborhood watch signs in the area. If there are children playing outside, are they similar in age to your children? You can gather a wealth of information about the neighborhood, just by observing activity, as you drive through the area streets. If you see anything that concerns you, make a note to ask the realtor, once you arrive at the home.
2. Schools Should also Top Your List
You can begin learning about schools in the area, long before your scheduled showing appointment by doing a search online. As you search for area schools, make use of Google Maps to pinpoint the locations of each school, relative to the real estate property you’ll be viewing. You should also take the time to tour area public schools to evaluate their quality in terms of educational offerings, security, and other factors that concern you as a parent. Finally, take the time to learn the school bus routes, in case you need them in the future. You want to ensure car trouble won’t keep your kids from getting to school.
3. Judge the Spaciousness of the Home
When you’re just starting a family and interested in buying a home, it’s important to think about the needs of your children. That means in terms of the future, as well as the present. Currently, you want to ensure the rooms are large enough for your children to play without getting underfoot. The size of the backyard may also be a concern in this area. Additionally, you and your partner should discuss future plans. If you anticipate having more children, will there be enough room to add an extension to the home? You may need that extension to add additional bedrooms. Bonus tip: try to envision your own things in each room to estimate the open space you’ll have.
4. Pay Attention to Traffic
Another concern is the type of Columbus neighborhood you’re prospective home is in, as far as traffic. If it’s a busy street, this might not be the best place to raise a family. If there aren’t public parks nearby, your children may be compelled to play in your yard, or by the road. Be aware that some activities, such as bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerskating, require the type of flat, hard surfaces that the street provides. A busier street raises the risk of an accident. Depending on the time of day you view the home, you might want to return in the early afternoon and mid-evening hours to get a more complete impression of neighborhood activity.
5. Look into Area Entertainment
If there are parks in the immediate area, it might be a good idea to visit them and see what they have to offer. Is there a public swimming pool nearby? If you can move into a neighborhood that features many local activities and amenities, that can help you find fun and inexpensive ways to keep your children entertained. You may not always have the extra time, or money, to travel across town, so looking into the area’s offerings may be especially beneficial. As you tour these facilities, you can learn more about admission fees, rules, and the general atmosphere to determine which activities are appropriate for your children. Keep in mind that summer vacations will seem longer and more frustrating without ample opportunities to get out of the house.
6. Take a Critical Look at the Bedrooms
There are two concerns you should address, as you tour the bedrooms of the home you’re thinking about buying. First, are the bedrooms appropriate for your children. This will likely be a larger consideration, where younger children are concerned. Windows that are positioned low, or bedrooms situated near a staircase may raise safety concerns. Secondly, look to see how the bedrooms are situated. You may want toddlers and younger children close to you, so make sure there are bedrooms near the master bedroom. If you have teens, you may want them at a slightly farther distance, but still within earshot. It’s up to you how you want the bedrooms situated, but make sure you give the subject some thought, as you tour new homes.
7. Look at Other Features in the Home
As you browse the real estate market for your potential home, try to look at them as your children would see them. For instance, are there dangers down low that might get a toddler into trouble? In some cases, such as a doggy door, the issue can be easily and cheaply resolved, but other hazards may not be easily fixed. Look for places that might cause a child to easily get stuck, fall, or wander off. If you notice more than a few items that cause you concern, you’ll be better off looking for a different home.
While some parts of the homebuying process affect everyone the same, such as getting pre-approved and locating a good investment, parents will have additional concerns. By sitting down with your partner and making a list of your biggest concerns, you can be better prepared to evaluate each available home. Above all, don’t let the situation get you frustrated. You will likely not find a home that fits your needs right away, but perseverance and a caring real estate agent will eventually help you find your dream home.