I’ve managed to make it this whole time without writing my first real estate related post. It was hard. When you think and do something everyday of your life you want to talk/write about it! I dream of real estate, I do it during the mornings, day and night. In my free time I am usually reading books on real estate or watching my boyfriends, The Property Brothers, on HGTV. I LOVE REAL ESTATE. (Incase you couldn’t get what I was hinting at)
So you, my friends, are in luck because I am going to share with you some tips on purchasing (or renting! I’m not leaving you renters out!) a home that has kid friendly features. I realize that the type/price/style of home varies from area to area. For example, I live in a suburb that is new. If you live in my city and live in a home that is more than 10-15 years old, you are in the minority.
As time has gone on, styles of floor plans have evolved. If I’m showing a home to families in the old part of the city and the house is 100 years old, I know you probably won’t find a bathroom on the main floor. Older homes will usually have a formal dining room as a separate room away from the kitchen. There was no such thing as an “open floor plan.” Each room was compartmentalized. I LOVE this style of home. However, if you are a growing family, you may not. Homes built within the last 10 years are usually an open floor plan. It is dang hard to find a newer home that isn’t. We’ll get into the open floor plan style a little further down but I wanted to give you some examples on how house styles can change based on age and the area you live.
Here is my list of the top 5 things and features you need to think about when purchasing (or renting) a home for your family. I am writing this based on having sold many homes to young families and personal experience. We live in a modest 1,700 square foot home. It’s not too large and not too small. Our home and the location of our home is very family friendly. The community center and park is just a few blocks away and is easily walkable. Within the next couple years we hope to upgrade to a much larger home but for now, it works for us.
1. Location. Location. Location.
I’m not just talking about a good neighborhood. You need to think about school districts. Make sure either you or your Realtor calls the school to confirm school zones haven’t changed and it’s in the district you want. Do you need the bus to come get the kids? Find out if the bus will come to the home or at the end of the street.
Secondly, where the home is actually located on the street is important. Cul-de-sacs and houses at the end of a street are a great location. At the entrance of a subdivision and neighborhood is generally a lot of traffic since every homeowner will be driving past your house to get to theirs. Corners with stop signs are a good options too since cars will be slowing down to stop.
You or your Realtor needs to check with the city’s planning and zoning. Does your city have plans to build a shopping complex in the open grassy area behind your home? If so, you may want to reconsider.
2. Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans are very family friendly. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about open floor plan means the kitchen, dining room, and living room are open to each other.
Most newly renovated homes and newer construction homes will have open floor plans because that is the trend. If you are in the market for an older home only expect an open floor plan if the home has had a remodel. I do like that I can be cooking dinner and see my busy toddler playing in the living room the whole time and not worry about what he is getting into.
3. Split Floor Bedroom Floor Plans
Depending on the age of your kids and if you plan on having more may determine whether a split bedroom floor plan will work for your family. Here are examples of a split floor plan and a floor plan that isn’t split. Split bedroom floor plan means the master bedroom is on the same side of the house as the other bedrooms.
Split floor plans are great for families with older children or children who don’t wake frequently in the middle of the night. It cuts down on noise if you stay up late watching TV in your room and don’t want the noise to be heard from the kid’s room. We have a split floor plan home and generally love it. However, with a new baby coming along this floor plan wouldn’t work as well so we are choosing to put our new baby’s crib in the room with us so I don’t need to cross the house every time she is hungry in the night.
Notice the master is right next to the other bedrooms. This is great for younger kids and nursing moms who do not bed share. You can easily hear your kids crying and it doesn’t take more than a few steps to get into the room.
4. The Yard
This is probably an obvious one but it’s very important when choosing a home. I think the most kid friendly yards are not too large, yet not too small. We live in a typical city sized lot which is about 1/4 acre. It’s big enough for our son to have a swing set and play tee-ball yet it’s isn’t too big I loose sight of him. The BEST thing is a fenced in yard. I am able to stand at my kitchen sink finishing up dishes while our son is outside playing with the dog. I don’t have to worry about his running to the neighbors yard or in the street. Fences are also nice because they hide a messy yard. I don’t know about you but after a swing set, sand box, water tables, about 20 different ball our yard look like a hot mess. If the home you’re looking at doesn’t have a fence, make sure that if you want to put one in, your home owners association allows it.
20+ years ago when people bought homes, they usually bought them for life. The National Association of Realtors released a statistic that the average family re-sells every 5 years. When you’re buying a home it will be a good idea to think within that time frame. Where you’re at in life with helps dictate what size home you will buy. If you’re a brand new family or single parent just starting out a 2-3 bedroom home will work just fine. However if you live in a 3 bedroom home and enjoy having one bedroom used as a spare room, once you have two or more kids it can get cramped. If you plan on having multiple children in a shorter time frame you need to consider purchasing a home your family can grow into. It may be a good idea to purchase a larger home if you know you will have a larger family within the next 5 years. Keep in mind, several home loans require you stay in the home for a certain amount of years before re-selling. Buying a small home with the goal of selling within a year or two might not be the smartest move. Final word on this is base the size of your home on the size of your family and space you want within the next 5 years.
*** Keep in mind this post mainly speaks to families living in the suburbs or neighborhoods. These features will obviously vary if you live in an urban area or the country. Since I live and sell homes in suburbs and neighborhoods I can offer my advice and opinions based on my knowledge of real estate in those areas.***