The United States’ residential real estate market provides many options. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded 5.34 million existing homes and 682,000 newly constructed homes sold across the country. With so many options, people planning on starting or growing their families have a lot of potential homes to pick in different locations. The property supply is abundant.
What’s difficult is knowing what to look for in your target home, especially for those house hunting for the first time. Unlike single first-time homebuyers, the ones who have families in tow, or those envisioning kids in the foreseeable future, have much more to consider. Here are important aspects to look for when buying your first family home.
Consider the School District
If you’re planning to send your children to a private school, this may not be an issue for you (though it’s always an advantage to live close to your child’s school). But if you’re looking at a public school for your kids, it may be wise to consider the school districts. Once you’ve set your eyes on a particular location for a home, find out which school will be best for your children.
It’s no secret that some schools perform better than others, so if you want your child’s education to be in good hands, limit your real estate search to school districts where the schools perform well. Check out GreatSchools.org, a website that shows you all the public schools in a given area and their academic performance. It also provides a link to Zillow listings limited to that area.
Focus on the Benefits of the Features
When home buying, it’s important to look past the shiny features of a property and think practically and logically about how it would be to live there. For example, a loft that might look nice at first glance is actually a safety hazard for small children. The mezzanine’s railings may be stylish but easy to climb over. Or the high ceiling might be awesome—until you realize the longest broom can’t even reach it, or your heater can’t warm the place efficiently because of it.
Half of all homeowners regret buying their home for at least one reason, so try to keep a clear head about what living in a certain house will feel like. Focus on how a house feature benefits you—and immediately consider the disadvantage, if any. If you can live with the cons, deciding will be a lot easier.
Go Over the Floor Plan for the Long Term
If you’re buying a house as a family home, you need to be able to see you and your family living in it for more than a decade. So, if you’re set on having a certain number of children, see if it’s feasible to raise that number of children in the property until they grow older.
Also, consider the features you want in your home. Do you want an open floor plan so you can see everything that’s happening from the living room to the kitchen? Do you want a large yard where you can grow your produce like oranges for healthier juice to teach your kids to stay healthy? If it’s a multi-story home, do you want everyone to be sleeping on the same floor? Will your home be accessible to guests with a physical disability that may make it difficult for them (e.g., are the doors wide, are there stairs)? These are just a few examples of the questions you need to ask yourself when you think long-term about the floor plans.
After all the considerations, you might have to make a few compromises and reject a few potential homes before you find the right one. It’s OK to take your time in deciding what house to purchase for your family home. After all, this is a huge investment that could affect the way you raise your family.