In these days of low housing inventory, it can be difficult to fulfill every item on your wishlist when buying a home, especially when it focuses on getting one in which you want to raise a family. Exhaustive online research helps regarding location — good schools, no sex offenders nearby, parks, close-by shopping, and family-friendly neighborhoods. But often buyers find themselves having left a lot off that list without even knowing it. They also get tunnel vision as to how long all those amenities will be needed.
So let’s touch on location first — things that at first glance may attract you, but may also make you wish you had thought them through before making that offer.
Trading that city-close shotgun house with no room between you and the neighbor for a mini-mansion (comparatively speaking) with a massive backyard makes you feel you are offering your kids a place to breathe, grow, and spread out the toys of their lives. But according to 2017 realtor.com article by Celeste Perron, making a decision like this solely for the sake of your kids can be a recipe for regret that can actually undermine yours as well as your family's happiness.
If you’re at the very beginning of the parenting experience, hormonal instincts have you looking for more space — that extra bedroom and bath for visiting grandparents or offering each of your children their own rooms. You may even be looking at having room to expand in case your family grows.
But taking the leap to a big home usually means buying in a more remote area. No longer can you walk everywhere. Now you find yourself desperately trying to locate the car keys for literally everything you do. You may also feel isolated, with your friends and family a good 45 minutes away in commute traffic. So how important was that extra bedroom after all?
Buyers can also overestimate how often they will have guests willing to take the drive and spend the night, hoping against hope the grandparents might not be able to stay away for long. Then reality hits, and that guest room either becomes a catch-all for toys that no longer get used. Grandpa and Grandma may even prefer to go home to their own beds at night after all.
Buying a home in an area primarily for its schools may not always be the ticket, either. If your comfort zone includes being close to things that make your heart sing (the beach, great shopping, etc.) but you feel the need to sacrifice all that for your kids to have better schools, it may be wiser to rent in the area before you commit, testing the waters for you and your family and seeing whether your lifestyle compromise is truly worth it. You may be able to determine whether you prefer public schools after all.
Parents who have been-there-done-that know kids are small for a New York minute, often regretting having bought a home based on the age their kids at the time they signed on the dotted line. In reality, kids’ habits and tastes change just as quickly as those school pictures do.
Making sure all the bedrooms are on the same floor seems vital at first. But parents often find that they may have preferred having their master bedroom downstairs, containing kids on another floor. While it will require lots of trips up and down those steps, at one point the desire for privacy can become overwhelming. Soon they realize they may have been able to settle for that trek by using monitors with a smartphone video feed to keep on eye on the kiddos when they were small. Besides, as parents age and kids fly the coop, that downstairs master becomes golden for keeping the house, making it homegrown kids can come home to and remember their early years.
Back yard play structures soon give way to sports or video games, while kids begin to prefer being at other friends’ homes — but parents don’t see it happening soon enough. And before long, buying a home because of its huge backyard doesn’t seem to have been so vital after all.
When your kids are young, they need to be in clear sight while you are working or preparing dinner. That means it might be more important to buy a home with an open concept kitchen/family room area instead of a basement or separate bonus room.
It’s hard to look beyond the immediate when your kids are small and the urge to expand your living space can be overwhelming. But finding a home that offers location as well as a floor plan that works for you as well as your kids (now and into the future), can be just as important.
Source: Realtor.com, TBWS