When we bought our last home, we knew what we wanted. At the time we were DINKS (double income, no kids). We knew we wanted a family and that the house we were buying we would be where we raised them. The house was built, I became pregnant with our first child. Life happened and 3 more kids followed. The only problem? Our house no longer fit our family.
We sold our house earlier this month and are now in the process of
annoying our realtor house shopping. We have been looking hard for the last 3 weeks and yesterday it hit me why this has become a major pain in my side. I know things now that I didn’t know before we had kids. If we purchased our home when we just had toddlers, it would be the same. There are so many things that happen in the years after toddlers that we now know that put purchasing a home into better perspective – when thinking long term.
Knowing these little things, has put a filter on what we should be looking for, since we plan on staying in our next house until the kids graduate (or we win the lottery). What are these things? Here are the top 10 things to ponder on before you make possibly the largest purchase in your life.
Here’s 10 Things to Think About Before Buying a Family Home:
Master Bedroom Location 1 of 10Before buying our last home, we knew we wanted babies and to be close to them. So what did we do? We chose a house with a nursery near the master. The nursery is only needed for a few years, so our next home - we are good with space between us and the kids.
Play Room 2 of 10Our last house had a playroom. We recently fell in love with a house, but the playroom was minimal, more of a loft. Knowing how much our kids use this space - both young and old - it's a priority. Plus, once you have one - it's hard to go without. (P.S. Re-reading this, such a first world problem.)
Formal Living Room 3 of 10Our formal living room in our last house became a bounce house room. We never used it and well, the bounce house took over it. Make sure the space is usable, even if it sounds good in theory.
Proximity to Schools 4 of 10Here in suburbia (aka North Texas), the schools are built in the neighborhoods. Knowing this, ideally if you can purchase closer to a school it makes like oh so simpler when it comes to getting to school. If our older kids could walk home from school, we would save $600 a month in after school care! That $600, I would much rather be putting into a house!
Where You Live Life 5 of 10I've always dreamed of a country home. You know, just a few acres and a modern vintage abode. We found it. It is beautiful and the yard is to die for. We just about put a contract in, then I had a good conversation with a friend. After thinking it through, we would need to make some major life changes to live in this house - OR be open to spending a lot of time commuting. Between changing churches, buying another reliable car and the thought of all that driving - we quickly realized what we would be losing. It was everything we cared about. Don't worry country home, someday we will retire! For now, we will enjoy our random outings with friends at parks, because we love where we live.
Safety Concerns 6 of 10While I am totally digging the high ceilings in some of the new homes, the sparse railing FREAKS ME OUT. So do the staircases that go STRAIGHT DOWN. Before knowing what my kids are capable (and incapable) of doing, these would have never crossed my mind.
Storage 7 of 10I accumulate STUFF. SO does my husband and my kids are especially good at this act. As the kids get older, the more STUFF they get they want to keep. There is sports equipment, trophies, memorabilia, etc. Make sure the home has adequate space for storage, you'll appreciate this later.
Backyard 8 of 10When building our last house, we were able to choose a lot. We chose a lot that was larger than most in our side of the neighborhood - though still was small compared to most. A few years ago, we decided the kids needed an outdoor play set. We went outside to measure where we would put it and guess what? There was no space. Sure our yard was big enough, but the tree was too big and in order to put it in, we would of had no patio. Things to think about when purchasing a home..... especially long term if you are thinking things like an outdoor living area or pool (or play area!).
Crime Rate 9 of 10Oh CRIME. Sure, it's always a factor - but with kids this just freaks me out even more. While I want my kids to know the world and that it's not perfect, the Mama Bear in me wants them to live in a safe community.
image source: eNet Initiative
Price 10 of 10Before we had kids, we both had well paying jobs. Sure, we knew that life happened and with that expenses would come along. What we didn't expect is all of the unexpected costs - when it comes to children. It seems like everyday the PUBLIC school is asking for another donation. The medical bills associated with seemingly little accidents stack up. The costs of a larger vehicle to transport these monkeys increases. While the mortgage lender may tell you that you can afford a much larger home than you thought - take into consideration all that life could deal out in way of costs for the next 16+ years.
image source: Trulia
And the above list is why I stress our realtor out to no end. This list is why we haven’t found a house yet. Oh, and looking for a house when interest rates are at a low and near the holidays – yeah not necessarily the best time to buy a house.
Hopefully this list will help give some insight of what to think about in the years to come, without making you into a house hunting freak like myself. Your toddlers will only be toddlers for a few years, and a house can last a lifetime.
Side Note: We are fortunate to live in an area with affordable housing, where you can get a ton of square footage for a minimal price. We watch House Hunters and gasp at home prices around some parts of the country. So if you think a playroom and formal living are crazy these features are normal for our area. Move to Texas! It’s hot here. There are tornadoes. We don’t all ride horses and own a cow. There isn’t much pretty in way of nature. On the positive… there is a ton of retail shopping and housing prices are fantastic.
What Are Your Major Must Haves When Finding a Home for Your Family?
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Molly blogs parenting, geekery and technology at digitalmomblog.com.