House hunting for your dream home is time-consuming and stressful enough without adding babies and kids into the mix. Whether your child is one or 16 years old, we know there are numerous considerations to make when buying a home with kids. Fortunately, there are ways you can make the home buying experience more efficient without having to waste countless hours touring properties and attending open houses. The best way to speed up the home buying process is by pre-screening a house before you ever step foot inside. After all, it takes time and effort to arrange a showing, find a babysitter and tour a home with your real estate agent. Instead, we recommend asking yourself (and your Realtor) these 15 questions about the property prior to touring and buying a home with kids.
Are the local schools reputable?
When moving with growing kids, it’s important to evaluate the schools in the area. If you’re keen on sending the kids to public school, make sure to research all schools zoned for the neighborhood before buying a home. Check out our free school ratings tool to assess and gather important information from GreatSchools. For tips on how to move your kids’ school records, check here.
Are there other families in the neighborhood?
Are you hoping to move to a neighborhood with other families and school-age children? If so, be sure to ask the listing agent about the neighbors. If you decide to move forward with purchasing the home, we recommend spending time on the street to see whether or not there are other families around. Clues might include bumper stickers for schools, basketball goals and other kids sports gear in the front yards.
Are the bedrooms all on the same floor?
Many parents prefer to have the children’s bedrooms on the same floor as the master bedroom. If this is important to you, then it’s best to find out ahead of time how and where the bedrooms are placed in the home. The bedroom placement may be obvious in the home’s listing photos, but if not, ask the Realtor.
Is crime a problem in this neighborhood?
Researching crime in the neighborhood should be a top priority when moving with kids. Fortunately, this is easy to do yourself. We recommend checking out AreaVibes’ ratings, local crime reports and NeighborhoodScout’s crime data. It might also be helpful to spend time on the street talking to neighbors about crime issues and their concerns (if they have any) prior to buying the home.
Is there a lot of traffic on the street?
Is the street a quiet cul-de-sac or a busy highway? If you have young children, you may be concerned about the amount of traffic on the road. Fortunately, you should be able to figure out just how busy the street is by looking at the home’s exterior listing photos or by driving past the house yourself.
Does the home have a bonus room or basement?
Is this a top-of-the-list priority for your family? If so, make sure the home has a bonus room or basement that can double as a kid’s playroom. The space must be big enough to hold books, toys and other play gear. If a playroom is a must, then we recommend reading the listing description carefully before arranging for a showing.
Is there a family room?
Not everyone needs a bonus family room, but if you prefer to keep the TV room separate from the formal living space, then this should be a priority for the family. Fortunately, you may be able to see whether or not the home has a TV room or den from the listing photos and description. If not, ask the Realtor.
Are there playgrounds and other recreational amenities nearby?
Do you need nearby recreational amenities? If being close to playgrounds, parks, museums, community pools or other recreational activities is a priority for you, then make sure to research the area ahead of time. Many parents who live in busy cities where large backyards are uncommon may need to prioritize a home’s vicinity to these services.
Who are the neighbors?
The last thing you want to do when you have children is to move next door to bad neighbors – especially criminals and predators. Make sure to check The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) for information on registered sex offenders in the area. In addition, the website provides important tips and advice on protecting yourself and your family from potential victimization.
Does the home have steep stairs?
For many parents of small children, stairs are a concern. If the home does have steep stairs, you’ll want to consider installing baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs. If the home has dangerous railings, you may not even want to bother looking at the home.
Is the layout of the home conducive to children?
Does the layout of the home fit your family’s needs and lifestyle? For instance, do you need an open floor plan with clear sightlines from the kitchen to the playroom or backyard? Carefully consider what kind of floor plan and layout you need with kids before you begin the house hunting journey.
Will the kids have to share a bedroom and/or bathroom?
Before looking at a house, be sure to take into account the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If the number is less than you desire, but the home is otherwise perfect, make sure you’re okay with the children sharing a bedroom or bathroom. If every child having his or her own bedroom and bathroom is a non-negotiable, then move on to the next home option.
Does the house have a swimming pool or is it located near a body of water?
While swimming pools, rivers and lakes certainly have their upsides, these bodies of water also can be particularly dangerous to toddlers and small children. Before looking at a home, parents should be aware of any and all drowning hazards near the home. If the home does have a swimming pool, parents need to consider what precautions should be made (think: a fence, locks and alarms on the doors) when living in the house.
Does the home have a decent backyard?
For many parents, having a backyard is a big plus when it comes to kids. This outdoor space gives children a place to play and explore – not to mention, a perfect spot for toys and playground equipment. Fortunately, you should be able to find out whether or not the home has a backyard prior to touring the home.
Is there a fence around the property?
Whether the home is on a busy street or near a dense forest, it’s important that the backyard (and possibly front or side yards) have a fence around the property. Not only will this stop small children from leaving the vicinity, but it will also prevent intruders from walking onto the property.
So you evaluated the home’s features, made an offer and bought a home. Congrats! Now all you have to do is plan out your upcoming move. Fortunately, Moving.com can help. We know that planning a move with kids is stressful, which is why we’ve created our own Moving With Kids Checklist to help you plan and organize the move. Need help finding movers? We can assist with that too. To find a reliable moving company, check Moving.com’s extensive network of movers. Our website makes it easy to find and book the best moving company for the job. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands.