House Hunting for Young Families

by Washington Federal Team on December 21, 2011

When you have young children, there’s more to consider when house hunting than the obvious number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Take a look at this checklist of what to look for in a new home:

Location

Make sure that the location is suitable for your family. Is it located on a busy street? Are there sidewalks? Is there easy access to transit, parks, shopping and restaurants? These questions will help you determine if the location of the home is right for young children.

Neighbors and Neighborhood

Along with the location of the home, consider the neighborhood itself. Is the neighborhood family friendly? How do the schools rate for performance and parent participation?  Do you see children playing and neighbors walking on the street? Are the houses and yard well maintained? Do parents bring their children into the neighborhood restaurants? Does the house fit the character of the neighborhood? A good rule of thumb is to buy the smallest house in the nicest neighborhood that you can afford. If the other homes in the neighborhood are larger than yours, your home has more upside potential to appreciate in value.  You will also want to find out if the neighborhood falls under the jurisdiction of a homeowners association.

Floor Plan

Does the home boast a first floor master bedroom or suite? This may not seem important now, but as you age, this will become more appealing. Is there a nursery area near the master bedroom?  Are the rooms open and spacious, or are spaces compartmentalized? There are pros and cons to each and it’s important to determine which will work best for your family. How much do you entertain? Do you have frequent house guests? Is there room to grow into the home? You may want to choose a home that has an extra room to turn into a nursery, playroom or gym as your family grows.  Determine how long you plan to live in the home and plan ahead.

Style and Maintenance

You want your home to match your family’s taste and lifestyle. A Victorian home has a very different feel than a modern home. Figure out which style best suits your tastes. Consider the exterior of the home and the type of maintenance it will require. Will it stand up to the local elements, whether it’s desert sun or heavy snow? How often will you have to paint? Assess the quality of the roof and the type of windows. Check out the landscaping and be sure you consider how much time you want to spend gardening.  Is there space for children to play outdoors? Do you want a deck or patio for outdoor living?

Choosing a home is an important decision and one that you’ll have to live with for years, so make sure the home you choose is perfect for your family.

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