Buying a home can be a complicated process. You need to find a property that falls within your price range, is convenient to work, and doesn't require more maintenance than you're willing to put in.
But while you may have a number of items to check off your personal list on the home front, if you have children, or are planning to in the near future, then there are a few key additional items you'll need to account for as well. Here are five that should be on your radar.
1. School districts
Buying a home in a decent school district is important from a resale perspective. But if you have children, it's important from an educational perspective, too. Thankfully, there are a number of online resources that can help you research school districts. Take advantage of them and do some digging to see which neighborhoods are the best choice for your family. And if you're willing to sacrifice living near a school for other perks, like more space for your money, prepare to add private school into your budget. (You may not need it, but you can't discount the possibility.)
2. Access to local services and amenities
Having children often means frequently restocking groceries, buying new school supplies, and visiting the pediatrician when germs inevitably invade. Living 20 to 30 minutes away from all of these things could make for a pretty inconvenient existence. So before you buy a home, consider its distance from the services and amenities you'll utilize the most.
Children tend to demand a lot of attention, so putting a little space between yourself and your kids at home isn't a bad thing. As such, you'll need to consider the layout of your home carefully before moving forward with a purchase. A ranch home, for example, may not be ideal, because it means you'll have your common rooms and bedrooms on the same floor. A two-story home with a master bedroom and a kids' bedroom that share a wall may not be the best solution, either. On the other hand, a home with a first-floor master suite and upstairs bedrooms may be more suitable for you.
Unless your kids are already older, you'll need to make sure the home you're thinking of buying is safe for little ones to run around in. That could mean avoiding homes with steep staircases and balconies. It could also mean staying away from outdoor water features like ponds and swimming pools or opting for homes that are already fenced in.
Children tend to come with a lot of stuff, from toys to sports equipment, and you'll need room to put all those items. It could pay to focus on homes with ample storage -- think larger closets, an oversized garage, or a basement (either finished or unfinished -- if your primary goal is more storage, it may not matter).
Buying a child-friendly home is crucial when you have kids in the mix. Keep these items in mind as you forge forward with your search, and remember, while you might pay a bit more for a home that caters to kids, doing so will put you in a strong position to sell it to a family in a similar boat down the line.