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Buying a House in the Age of Babies.

Wanted: The Perfect Home for our Growing Family

After a few years of renting tiny apartments in San Francisco and then renting a little bungalow in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, we’ve decided to purchase our first house. It’s exciting and slightly terrifying and more than anything, we’re trying to keep our wits about us and not let the emotional side of things steer our decision.

Three years ago, if you would have sat me down and asked me to make a list of my must-haves in a new home, I would have written down a big back deck for entertaining, hardwood floors for dancing across in socks, a fireplace for cozying up next to my husband, and a gas stove for cooking dinners for friends and family.

Today all of those things still make the list, but two small children have changed the way in which I think about everything, including what matters most in our family home.

So back to that list of must-haves, suddenly I am drawing circles around and highlighting things like: bedrooms close together, no busy streets, and a fenced in backyard.  Brent and I have looked through dozens and dozens of homes on real estate sites and I am am constantly crossing off homes that a few years ago we would have loved. My keen mama-eye spots the would be baby dangers a mile away. “Look at that drop off to the basement, can you imagine a child falling down there?” or “How in the world would you baby proof a living room with that layout?”

It’s pretty amazing how differently you look at a potential home when you become a parent. That stone fireplace or swimming pool that might have convinced us to buy a home several years ago, suddenly has us marking it off the list. In some ways it is making our home search more difficult, but I know in the long run it will be nice to have a home that suits the needs of a growing family with little ones.

And it doesn’t just end with the house itself – When we do find a home that we love, we have to research the schools, the proximity to playgrounds and natural areas. We have to think about the walk ability of the neighborhood, how safe our children would be riding their bikes, and how many other families with similarly aged children are close by. There is SO much more to consider than I ever thought possible!

So now I’m coming to you for advice – As a parent, is there any part of your home that you love or loathe that we should take into consideration as we continue our house hunt?

~Melissa

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