Home ownership is one of the great American dreams. Most couples start out with a small starter home but as their family grows a search is on for the best home for your expanding family. Since your home purchase is a long time investment you’ll want to be sure you find something that fits your ongoing needs as well as current ones.
One Size Does Not Fit All
People frequently forget to plan for the future when moving homes. They look at a home perfect for the family’s current size but don’t consider if there is enough space in case of another blessed event or two. Children need space and room to grow and play. When touring a home on the market think about the size of the bedrooms. Are they big enough for a child to grow though the many phases of childhood? Are the closets large enough to store clothes that get bigger along with the child? Is there enough room to do more in the rooms than sleep? Is there enough space for an indoor play area, large toys and creative pursuits in addition to the bedroom furniture? Will you require a bedroom for each child or do you plan to have siblings share a room? These are important questions to ask yourself. A larger home may cost a little more but it won’t be as costly as moving again and again with each new addition to the family.
Welcome to the Neighborhood
You picture a sweet life in a new home with wonderful neighbors, manicured lawns and summer block parties. Will reality meet your expectations once you move in? Don’t doom yourself to misery by failing to check out the neighborhood as well as the actual home. Make time to walk a few blocks before signing on the dotted line. Sniff the air. Is it rich with the aroma of flowers and backyard BBQ’s or is there undesirable unexplained odors? Even a far off unseen factory or landfill can waft through some neighborhoods. Talk to the neighbors and ask what they like and dislike about the block? What do they wish someone had told them before they bought their house? This also gives you a head start in knowing your neighbors should you purchase the home you are interested in.
The Green Grass of Home
Don’t forget the backyard! Is it in tune with your needs? How much time will you have to devote to upkeep? Are you planning a garden? Will you need to hire a service for lawn car or do you have the equipment to take care of it yourself? If your kids will be playing in the yard is it free of pests that sting or bite? If so, how costly will it be to rid the yard of the pests? Add those costs and any others for backyard care to the costs for the home. Lawn care will generally be a monthly if not weekly expense. A backyard is an extension of your home since many family activities take place in it. As such, it is unofficially almost an extension of your monthly house payment.
Follow the Rules
Is the home you want to buy in an area with mandatory membership in a home owners association? If so you might want to look at their rules first. Some associations limit what you may do on your property or what you can build on to it for extending living space. These rules can affect anything from what kind of flowers you can plant to if you can add a family deck or a room. Get a copy of the rules first because some are very strict. They could even have pet policies that decide what kind of pet you have or how big it can be. You won’t want to choose a home where once you move in you are forced to give up the family pet.
Buying a home for your family is an excellent goal. By remembering to check out things that seem to be outside of the usual home buying process you can achieve better success at finding just the right family home.
Ashley Williamson is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to family life. She’s mainly interested focusing on family real estate and home improvement. Ashley currently writes on behalf of Renters Voice.