Buyers who are already parents, (or hope to one day soon be parents) usually know which kid-friendly characteristics are most important to them in a home … but do you know all the things you should check?
Room for a nursery or kids rooms? Check.
Good school district? Check.
It’s pretty common that once we’ve moved into a home we notice things about the home we didn’t previously. Some of these things are easily remedied and overlooked, some…not so much. So as a parent myself and after representing many parent homebuyers, here is a list of features that should be added to your checklist!
1. Floor Plan
Many home buyers initially try to size up a room according to the furniture that will be in it. Is the nursery big enough for the crib, changing table, rocker and more? Will the kid’s room be big enough for a bed, bookcase, dresser, toy box, desk?
Don’t forget to consider bedroom placement. Is the nursery upstairs? Are the kid’s rooms next to the master bedroom?
I can honestly say the first house I bought was on a rather busy street, down the road from a hospital. My daughter was young at the time and we had a fenced backyard, but the constant traffic and concern anytime she was in the front yard was definitely there.
One thing I can tell you I did overlook… sidewalks. They offer an extra layer of protection, since they’re a buffer between cars and kids at play, and are crucial during the stroller/trike/wagon phase. Sidewalks also encourage family walks and the occasional lemonade stand!
3. Open Floor Plan
While lofts and bonus rooms are nice for corralling rambunctious kids and for teenage gathering space, they’re not so great for those always-need-an-eye-on-them toddlers. There was a time when boxy floor plans were popular. Every room had its distinct space and area – that’s not typically the want now. Most buyers, parents or not, want an open floor plan. After all, it’s much easier to watch and referee kids when you can see them!
4. Backyard Visibility
All parents know the importance of having a yard, especially a fenced yard. Unless you plan to spend your day going in and out with them, you will want to make sure you can see the backyard from inside. Which rooms overlook the backyard? Are they rooms you’ll be in often? Having the ability to see them playing in the backyard while you’re inside will make having a backyard even better!
5. Hill-Less Yard
You may be surprised how just a slight incline may greatly impact your kids sporting abilities, especially when they’re just starting out. How’s the backyard? The front? Driveway? Are they flat? Are you on a hill? You’d be amazed at how many baseballs you’ll lose with even the gentlest of slopes. Imagine trying to learn to ride a bike or skateboard in these conditions? While it may make for some good fail videos, your kids will probably be grateful for you thinking ahead on this one.
6. Amenities Proximity
Are there neighborhood amenities? Parks, playgrounds, pools or things like that? Are they a walkable distance? What else in the area may be within a walking distance? Coffee or shopping that you can get to without having to completely load up the car? Though they may not be a necessity now, they could make a huge difference later.
It would not be ideal to find out after you’ve moved in that your neighbor is president of a local motorcycle group, that meet at their neighbor’s place Sunday mornings at 7:30am. Or that your other neighbor doesn’t like children or dogs. Scope out the neighborhood, visit a few times and if you see your prospective neighbors outside, talk to them! They’re usually more than happy to tell you all about the neighborhood and who lives where.