It’s no secret that family planning and looking for the perfect family home can bring a host of new challenges, from moving to finding furniture to anticipating what your children might need tomorrow, next year, five years from now. All of it can be scary, and the stress of making these far-reaching decisions could be enough to make you reconsider this whole family thing.
Don’t fret. You’re not the first person to feel this way and won’t be the last. We’ve pulled together a list of the top 4 things you should look for in a family home. After all, making everlasting memories with your family starts here.
Location, Location, Location
Yes, that overused adage, but it still rings true. When looking for a new family home, you should already have a clear picture of what the surrounding area looks like before visiting a listing. Think about your proximity to schools, amenities, playgrounds and parks. Your family needs space to frolic, after all. What about extended family? Having loved ones close by is great for everyone. Plus, you’ll have babysitters a phone call away (don’t tell anyone we said that).
Lastly, what is the age of residents in the area? Are they younger or older? Neither is necessarily a bad thing and depends on your social habits. For example, you could have built-in friends next door for your kids or neighbours who won’t appreciate the noise when things get a bit rowdy.
Tip: If you’re feeling a little lost, the Golfi Real Estate Show is a great source of real estate information covering all of Southern Ontario.
Think Long Term
When you look for a new family home, you should think about growing into it. We accumulate so much stuff over time and underestimate what we have and need. When seeing homes, look for storage spaces and make sure there are more than enough rooms for everyone and everything. Don’t be afraid to renovate and make the house work for you and your family well into the future.
If you’re planning to have a baby, be prepared to be buried under every stuffed animal and new baby gadget hitting the market. Your space will quickly disappear before you know it. But, hey, you can always have a garage sale.
All jokes aside, moving too often isn’t easy on kids. Displacing them means they’ll have to reintegrate themselves in schools and other social situations, which isn’t easy for them. You want to make sure your family home is a house of stability and comfort for them as they learn and grow.
Places To Play and Grow
Making a space work for your family’s needs means you need to think outside the box. For example, any extra room can be converted into a play area for the littles. Maybe you need that extra room on the second floor for an office instead. Consider a finished basement as a playroom. It’s bigger than a single room and comes with a bit of soundproofing for good measure. Plus, you can put a gate on the stairs, so it’s safer.
Backyards are tried and true spaces that can be host to many fun days in the sun. But remember, backyards can be seasonal depending on where you live. It’s not a space that’s available all year round when a rainy or cold season hits.
Keep Safety Top Of Mind
As adults, we sometimes take safety for granted and forget how easy it is to get hurt. But, unfortunately, kids get hurt all the time as they explore and learn about their environment. As a parent, it’s your job to be steps ahead of them at all times, and house hunting is the perfect time to lay the groundwork.
When you look for a family home, do your research. Make sure the streets are safe, and it’s not in a high-crime area. Is it on or near a busy road? You don’t want your children exposed to dangerous elements just outside the front door.
Tip: You can use an online crime tracking tool to find out which neighbourhoods are safe.
Stairs can be a significant danger to children learning to navigate them, so keep track of where and who many baby gates you might need to install for safety. Also, as we mentioned earlier about basements, keeping toys and play areas down there can help contain the risk of an accident when stairs aren’t part of the equation.
In the backyard, make sure it’s adequately fenced in, and the gates can be locked. If there’s a pool, it must be as safe as possible. Keep the entry locked up if possible, or find a way to keep access to it under guard. Alarms can be purchased that trigger whenever someone opens an entryway or tries to get in through a gate.
Don’t Get In Over Your Head Financially
Daycare is expensive, diapers will burn a hole in your wallet, and extracurricular activities take their share. Don’t get in over your head financially when looking to buy a family home because enough things look to take your money. Factor in expenses you haven’t thought of yet. Talk to friends and family who can provide insight into things that surprised them.
Set a budget and stick to it. You might see a dream house that has everything you’re looking for, but are you going to be overextended? Of course, owning a home is the best investment you’re going to make, but at the same time, you need to live a little and have wiggle room for vacations, special events or family movie nights. So purchase a home within your means and create lasting memories your family will cherish forever.
We can help you find the perfect home to start a family in. We have over 25 years of experience putting families in the ideal home.