Making the decision to start a family is one of the most important choices you’ll make in your life. It is not something to rush into. Aside from making sure that you are financially ready to support a child, you’ll also need to think about your living situation. Here are the primary concerns you’ll need to take into consideration when buying a home for your growing family.
One of the most important factors you’ll need to evaluate is your budget. You’ll need to find a balance between buying a house that will be large enough to accommodate the changing needs of your family going forward and making sure that it is a home that you can afford.
Remember that children will add several new categories to your budget, including diapers, baby food and an ongoing supply of new clothes as they grow. You’ll also need to factor in unexpected expenses, like visits to the pediatrician or emergency room, when your child gets sick. You will not want to be stretched so thin that you wouldn’t be able to cover these expenses while still making your mortgage payments.
Number of Children
In your mind, you may like the sound of having four children, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually will (nor that it’s the right idea for you). On the other hand, you may think you only want one child but then change your mind later and want to grow your family even more.
In selecting a house, look for one that will be able to house your first child with the possibility of more. Young children can share a bedroom, even if they are of opposite sexes, so don’t feel the need to have separate bedrooms for each child. If you can afford it, get a house with an extra bedroom. You can always use it as a guest bedroom for when the grandparents or that Uncle Jesse in your family decides to make a visit.
Schools in the Area
Your children will need to go to school at some point, unless you plan on homeschooling, so be absolutely sure to look for a neighborhood with good schools.. Focus primarily on the elementary and middle schools, as you may very well end up moving again by the time your children reach high school.
You’ll want to look for an area that provides plenty of fun things for young children to do. Look for parks and playgrounds nearby, as you’ll likely be spending a fair bit of time there. Day care centers, indoor playgrounds and even toy stores in the area can be signs that a neighborhood is family-friendly.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that the neighborhood will be safe for your children. Check the crime rate in the area, and look for possible houses on cul-de-sacs. Kids love to play with their friends out in the street, and you don’t want tons of cars whizzing by during rush hour if you can avoid it. Look for other children playing outside or families walking together along the sidewalk. These are positive signs that a neighborhood is safe for children.
Look to the Future
So many home buyers will initially only consider (and still buy) homes that they only plan to stay in for a couple of years, instead of thinking longer term when their children will get older and what items they will need at that time. Once they make friends, uprooting them will become harder. Be sure to think about what is going on in the area and how it might change over the years. Think about what your kids will need then, and not solely what they will only need in the next couple years. Will this house still be suitable for your family five or even ten years down the line? If the answer is “yes,” you may have very well found your dream home!