The Home Buying Process: When You Have Kids

Commute

You may want to make sure that you’re reasonably close to your workplace and school, especially if you have children who are still young enough to need an assisted daily routine. Getting your kids up and ready for school can be a hassle—there’s no need to add to the stress by having an extra-long commute to your work or their school.

Family-friendly features

Flooring: Keep in mind that most wood floors, with the exception of bamboo, will dent easily after a few years of exposure to toys being dragged all over it. Vinyl is probably the best type of flooring for resisting stains, dents, and scratches; although it’s not as sumptuous-looking as medium-to-high-quality wood flooring, you can find premium vinyl that looks less artificial.

Finished basement: If you have young children, having a finished basement is particularly helpful as there less safety concerns, and more opportunities to use the space productively. Some even convert the area into a guest room, gym, or a home theater.

Playroom: Having a specifically-designated room for your kids to play with and store toys will likely reduce the amount of clutter around the rest of the house.

Backyard: Depending on the type of climate you’re locating to, a backyard is generally a great addition to any family home, especially if you’d like to encourage your children to stay active. Do keep in mind, however, that having a backyard requires upkeep and maintenance.

Safety

Look for cabinets that can be locked, or install childproof-locks. It also helps to use semi-gloss paint for the walls—a seemingly insignificant detail, but it’s so much easier to clean.

Sometimes, an open floor plan isn’t as ideal as expected when there are small children roaming the house. Take note of how wide the entrances to each room are, because you may want to use child-proof gates to close off the kitchen or basement stairs.

Speaking of stairs, try to find a home with staircases that are wide enough to be safe for both children and elderly/impaired relatives or company. Many homes have unfortunately narrow, steep stairs that pose a hazard to even perfectly able adults.

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