Buying a family home is an exciting milestone, but there’s an awful lot you need to think about. Whether you’re moving to a bigger property to accommodate a growing family, or choosing your forever family home, there are certain things you’ll want to look out for as you make your decision.
With young children in the home it’s important to think carefully about the layout of any new property. Are the bedrooms on different levels? If so, it may cause problems for the inevitable night-time wake-ups. If your toddler wakes and comes to find you, could they manage the stairs?
Open plan layouts create a lovely sense of space and light, but young families often appreciate separate rooms downstairs so that toys and games can be kept in one dedicated place – with an all-important door to close on the mess!
On a practical level, think about how you’ll access your home with small children. If you’re looking at apartments, is there a lift? Or if you’re viewing houses, are there steps up to the front door? Could you manage them with a buggy or a car seat? Remember to check that the door is wide enough to accommodate your buggy – otherwise you may find that a rather expensive shopping trip is on the cards!
Likewise, you’ll need to check the access to any outdoor space. Many gardens are built on different levels – are there many steps down to it? Is the garden fully secure? If your toddler or pre-schooler can’t access and play in the garden safely, you might want to think again – or add garden landscaping to your renovation to do list…
Many parents of young children choose an area based on the quality of the local schools. If you have a preferred school in mind, you’ll want to restrict your search area so that any new property is in the right catchment. Double-check with the estate agent and/or the school for peace of mind before committing to a property.
If the property you’re looking at is in the right catchment area, think about how you’ll manage the school run. Is the school within easy walking distance, or is it a drive away? What’s the parking situation like? Try driving past at drop-off or pick-up time to get a sense of what it’s like.
If you have younger children, you might also want to consider the location and quality of local nurseries, pre-schools or childminders.
When viewing properties, it’s a good idea to take some time to drive or walk around the local area to ensure it’s family-friendly. Proximity to a local park or outdoor space is often a pre-requisite for families. Local amenities such as a supermarket, cafe and nearby doctor’s surgery can also help make life easier.
Keep an eye out for notices advertising local parent and toddler groups or other activities. They can be a great way for you and your little ones to make new friends.
As ever, when you’re looking for your next home, research is key. If you’re not familiar with your chosen area, speak to local estate agents, friendly neighbours or whoever will give you the time of day! You’ll want to know whether the area is popular with families, whether it’s safe, and whether there are any issues you need to know about such as new developments.
Crucially, try and talk to other parents with children at a similar age to yours – they’ll be able to give you the lowdown on what it’s really like to live in the area with young children.
The golden rule when you’re looking at any new property is to stay detached and not get carried away with the excitement of it. That can be really tough when you’re imagining your young family growing up in a new home. After all, this is emotional stuff! But try to stay focused on your family’s needs, and think carefully about the practical aspects of any property you’re viewing.
Lastly, good luck with your search. When you finally find the home that’s perfect for your family, let us support you through the legal aspects of your purchase. We’re here to help!