House Hunting With Small Children or While Expecting?

If you have young kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. There are a host of considerations to keep in mind when choosing where to live, and you might not realize what they all are. Don’t worry: House hunting doesn’t have to be extra stressful, if you’re prepared. Consider these options for your home buying wish list — and then share your own ideas in the comments!

Floorplan: Size is usually number one on a home buying list, but you’ll also want to consider the overall layout of the house. How easily can it be baby-proofed? Are there any design components that could make it more difficult or dangerous to get around? Where are the bedrooms located in relation to one another? For example, you may consider a one floor home to not only eliminate the need for blocking off stairs but also you won’t need to run up and down them in the middle of the night! Another thing to think about is an open floorplan, which is easy these days since open floorplans are popular. This type of layout is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also allows you to keep an eye on what’s going on in other rooms.

Entry storage: From the strollers, car seats and diaper bags of the baby stage to the athletic gear and school supplies of the older years, a never-ending parade of stuff comes with having children in the house — and the more places you have to put everything when you walk in the door, the better!

Convenient laundry: While a basement or garage laundry might not catch your immediate attention during an open house, it’s worth considering, especially if you have young children. Opting for a main-level laundry, such as in a mudroom or off the kitchen, proves highly convenient when dealing with kids with frequently wardrobe changes. Another practical choice is a laundry close to upstairs bedrooms, reducing the need to constantly carry heavy baskets up and down the stairs!

Stairs that can be safely gated: Regarding stairs, when considering homes with multiple levels, focus on the staircase and railings. Ensure that the stairs can be gated easily at both the top and bottom, and that the railings are sturdy with no wide gaps. While open, airy staircases may be beautiful, they can be stressful to navigate with a little one unless they can be easily blocked off.

Kid-friendly bathroom: No, not a themed bathroom, but rather a practical space tailored to your family’s needs. A bathroom with a tub is a need with small children and ample maneuvering space will definitely come in handy. When considering the potential time spent parked beside the tub, comfort and spaciousness are essential. Additionally, prioritize storage for bath toys and extra towels, and if you have a larger family, having multiple faucets is a big plus.

Bonus space: When you have kids (big or small), extra space is always a good thing. Look for an area of the home that has the potential to be used in multiple ways, from a playroom to home office or to a nursery for a future sibling.

Backyard: Even a small yard can offer big possibilities to a child, from building forts to digging in the dirt. For your own peace of mind, look for a backyard that is fully, securely fenced, so you can let creative play happen without worrying. If there isn’t a fence, budget for the cost of adding one when checking out potential properties. The good news is a fenced yard adds curb appeal and may positively impact the value of your home. Something also to consider, NOT having a private pool. Besides the costs and maintenance, the increased safety risk is a huge thing to consider.

Neighborhood: When house hunting, you’ll want to get a sense of how safe the neighborhood is – generally speaking. If kids are out riding their bikes and playing in the streets, it’s probably a good sign that your future kids can hang with their neighbors without worry. Sidewalks. Make sure the neighborhood has ample sidewalks for stroller walking and easy access to neighborhood amenities. Location, Location, Location. How long does it get to school, childcare, doctors, and favorite local hot spots.

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