My husband and I purchased our first home just after we got married, which was before we had children. Once we added a couple of toddlers to our family, we quickly realized that we needed to move. Even though we bought the home because we were planning to start a family, without children running around we were completely unaware of what we should have prioritized during our search process. Our second time around, our search was quite different. To save others from making our mistakes, here is a series of posts aimed at helping home buyers who are parents (or who want to be parents soon!).
Tip #1: CONSIDER THE STREET TRAFFIC
This was definitely our biggest mistake in choosing our first home. The house we chose was on a busy street, with a steeply sloped, short driveway, and down the street from a houseful of young renters who loved to race up and down the road at all hours of the day. All of those factors became a huge deal once our little boys learned how to walk. Trust me...holding two toddlers with a death grip in your own driveway isn’t fun.
Look for neighborhoods with low speed limits, speed bumps, and/or frequent police patrols. Before kids, our current neighborhood’s speed limit of 20 mph might have made us look elsewhere. But now, we love it! Our kids can play more freely in the front yard, because even if a car comes by, it is usually going slow enough to stop quickly.
Try to find a home towards the back of a neighborhood or situated on a dead end street. The less people that need to drive past your home to get to theirs, the better. Our current home is lovely because only three families ever need to drive past it to reach their homes. There are times that my kids ride their tricycles in the street for an hour and not a single car comes down the road. That kind of peace of mind is important.
Visit the neighborhood during different times of the day to see if people are walking around. During mid-morning, are there parents pushing strollers or walking with their toddlers? After school, are there kids walking home or playing in their yards? Those are signs that people feel comfortable with the traffic. Don’t forget to take a look at the vehicles around the neighborhood too. Trust me, you do NOT want to live down the street from anyone who thinks he/she is starring in The Fast & The Furious.
This post is the first in a series of five. Stay tuned for Tip #2: Baby-Proof Homes!
Contributed by Cassie Villela.
Cassie Villela is a real estate investor and mother of two in San Antonio, Texas.
Photo credit: pngtree.com