Buying A New Home With A Young Family: What you should know

Loretta Jane

My husband and I had two kids, he finished graduate school a year earlier, and we were finally in a stable enough position to purchase a home. It was our first time buying a home, and we weren’t sure what to expect. Looking back on the experience, it was fun and exciting, but there are a lot of things I wish I would have known. Here are some of the most important.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you even begin house hunting, your first step should be to get pre-approved. This will help you determine how much you can really afford to spend on a new home, which will help you conduct a more realistic search. Additionally, many sellers prefer to work with homebuyers, who have already gone through this process. This is because pre-approval lets the seller know you are shopping within your price range and that you can move forward with the sale, if you agree on terms. In general, it makes the process easier for you, as the buyer, and for sellers and realtors.

Don't Buy on Emotion

Many people buy on emotion and regret it later, which is why experienced homeowners caution younger families to look at homes with a practical eye. The very features that melted your heart may end up causing you grief, once you have to live in the home. For instance, take the time to get a better look at those newly installed kitchen cabinets. How high is the first shelf? Do they have glass doors that children will be likely to break? These types of concerns should be addressed, through the house hunting problem, to help you avoid potential homeowner nightmares.

Where Are the Bedrooms?

Your realtor can look up important features, such as the number of bedrooms, but the location of the bedrooms may be something you'll have to see in person. If you have a newborn or infant, you'll want a nursery that's close to the master bedroom. If you have older children, you may want to ensure their bedrooms are near your own, as well. Bedrooms on two different levels may pose a problem, either now, or as your children reach their teens. You may also want to look at the features of the room to decide which room your children get. For example, if you have a messy toddler their room may require a carpet steam cleaning more often than if you put your six year old in the bedroom with carpet.

Look for Homes with Sidewalks

Depending on the area, some streets may not have sidewalks, which will lead children to playing in the road. Even if it isn't a busy street, this can pose a safety risk to bicyclists, roller skaters, and even for kids making chalk art. Be on the lookout for homes with sidewalks out front. A bonus feature might be homes with walkways that go around the home. Sidewalks serve as a barrier between your property and the road, which can make a safer area for your children to play.

Take a Look at the Neighbors

Many young homebuyers are so excited about finding their first home that they don't consider the environment. Even if the home is ideal for your family, take the time to learn about the neighborhood. Ask the police about crime statistics in the area and try to meet some of the neighboring families. This will help you determine if their children are an appropriate age for your children. If you feel as though neighboring children will be a bad influence, you may want to continue your search.

Is the Home Really Big Enough?

Many families just look for the right number of bedrooms without determining how their family will fit into the rooms. Is the kitchen big enough for everyone to gather together? You may have the same concerns about the dining room, if there is one, and the living room. Similarly, will the yard be big enough to offer your children a play area? Buying a home with ample space can help you keep younger children at home, where you can keep a closer eye on them.

Shopping for a new home is an exciting adventure, but letting yourself get caught up in the romance can blind you to real world concerns. You may even want to take the time to sit down with your spouse and list the features that are most important to you. This can help you watch for those features without letting yourself lose sight of practical concerns and, in the end, you'll be much happier with your new home.