Buying a home can be a complicated yet exciting process. If you have kids, the process is even more layered and complex. Parents have to consider not only their personal wants and needs but also the fast-changing needs of growing children.
Finding a home that accommodates the needs of the whole family depends on five key elements that will be revealed when you ask yourself the following questions.
Is the home large enough for our needs?
- Do not settle for a smaller house. When it comes to a family home, size matters. Choose a bigger home with ample storage for the kids’ toys, bikes, and sports equipment. If the dream is to watch the kids grow up in the house or to grow the family, you’d want a home that can adapt to the family’s changing needs. Can the nursery be converted into an older kid’s room? Is the backyard large enough to host birthday parties? Can you accommodate sleepovers, or middle-schoolers storming the kitchen for snacks after a game of football? The home should be large enough to accommodate both present and future needs. Thinking about what is necessary now, as well as in years to come, ensures that you have made a smart investment.
Is the home childproof?
- Unless you have older children, it is important to make sure that the home is a safe haven for the little ones to run around in. This could mean shying away from homes with steep staircases and balconies, or yards with ponds and swimming pools. With toddlers and school-age children in mind, opt for a home that can be easily childproofed and a property that is fully fenced in.
Are the local schools reputable?
- For most parents, finding good schools for their children is a top priority. A professional real estate agent will be able to pinpoint the best neighborhoods that belong to top-rated school districts.
Check the availability and cost of daycare and early-learning programs, as well as the quality of the zoned public schools. Consider alternatives such as private schools, magnet schools, charter schools, or homeschooling. Choose a school district with elementary, middle, and high schools for long-term convenience.
Are there parks and recreation nearby?
- Aside from checking for accessibility to good schools, see if the neighborhood has playgrounds, parks, community swimming pools, and other recreational facilities. Finding a childproof home in a neighborhood that’s safe and convenient may come with a heftier price tag, but all will be worth the investment.
Did I adequately research the neighborhood?
- Hoping to move to a neighborhood with other families and school-age children? Be sure to ask the listing agent if the community offers the lifestyle and amenities you need. As the forever adage goes, location matters.
If a house piques your interest, drive around the neighborhood, if you can. Observe the homes, the traffic situation, the proximity to potential noise and environmental pollutants. Park your car and take a walk around the neighborhood to get a feel of a place that could be your next home.
How do I get my kids involved?
- Engaging the children early in the home buying process gives them time to adapt to the change that comes with moving to a new house. Talk openly about relocating. Be honest when kids ask questions about the move.
If you’re pre-screening homes, make your kids a part of the decision-making process. Have them watch virtual tours. Ask what they like and don’t like about the house.
Once you’ve made an offer on a home, drive them around the new neighborhood. Make it special by stopping by nearby parks and attractions so they get a better feel of the place.
It pays to involve every member of the family when it comes to buying a new house. It is crucial to seek out a place that works for them at the moment but will adapt to everyone’s future needs. With the right research and a good real estate agent, the ideal family home can be found in no time.
Nina Hatvany and her team of real estate experts in Team Hatvany offer a selection of ideal family homes from Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, and the Marina to Noe Valley and Bernal Heights, and from Sea Cliff to South Beach in the Bay Area.