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4 Tips for Buying a Kid-Friendly Home

Posted by Justin Havre on Friday, August 31st, 2018 at 10:30am.

Home for Expanding Household Buying a home for a family can be a challenge. To meet the needs of a growing, changing family, a home must be flexible in its layout, large enough for many generations, and safe for everyone from children to older adults. 

Home Amenities That Benefit Families With Children

Open Floor Plan

In a typical open floor plan, public spaces like the living room, dining room and kitchen are open and connected, with few or no walls in between. For parents of small children, there are many advantages to open floor plans. Adults at work in the kitchen can oversee children playing in the living room, dining room and beyond. In addition, open floor plans allow families to spend time together as they work on separate activities in separate spaces. For families with older children, open floor plans promote togetherness while still giving everyone space they need to feel relaxed. 

A Spare Room for... Whatever

Families benefit from spending time together, but too much time in the same place can put a strain on familial relationships. Having a spare room in the house for parental hobbies or kid play time can ensure that families have space to grow and be themselves. When conducting your home search, consider homes that have at least one extra room. 

In-Law Apartment

An in-law apartment can be anything from an apartment over the garage to an extra suite of rooms attached to the main house. There are many advantages to in-law apartments. In-law apartments allow younger family members to provide older family members with in-home care. In-law suites also enable older relatives to provide child care assistance to young, struggling parents. In-law apartments can also be useful for college aged children who need a place to live while in school. Overall, in-law apartments help families save money and also help family members help each other. 

When looking for at a home with an in-law apartment, consider the location of the apartment and the amenities it provides. In-law apartments can be varied in their design and layout. If the apartment lacks certain amenities, such as a full kitchen or laundry facilities, this will increase the contact between the two groups of families living together. In addition, in-law apartments located on upper floors may be difficult for elderly relatives to live in long-term. All of these factors must be considered before a home should be purchased. 

Focus on Storage Space

Kids come with a lot of stuff and require a lot of storage space. When looking at homes, open every closet, look in the attic and investigate the basement or garage. Pay close attention to the size of the garage, where your kids are likely to store a lot of bikes and sporting equipment. Give priority to homes that have built-in shelves and other storage organization systems.

Consider Safety and Convenience

Safety and convenience is important for parents of small children. Below are some features that are important to note if you have young children in your house.

  • Steep staircases. A steep staircase can be a danger for small children learning to walk. Any home with a steep staircase will need to be protected by a baby gate, possibly for many years.
  • Bedroom layout. Many parents of young children like to sleep in the room next to their kids. A home with a master suite across the house or on a different floor from the other bedrooms may be an inconvenience.
  • Heavy traffic. Heavy traffic can be dangerous for toddlers and other young children. For this reason, many parents prefer to live on streets with slow-driving traffic.
  • Water features. Pools, ponds and rivers can be a drowning hazard for children, especially for young children who can’t swim. Buying a home with a water feature can be problematic for parents of small children.

Focus on Storage Space

Kids come with a lot of stuff and require a lot of storage space. When looking at homes, open every closet, look in the attic and investigate the basement or garage. Pay close attention to the size of the garage, where your kids are likely to store a lot of bikes and sporting equipment. Give priority to homes that have built-in shelves and other storage organization systems.

Neighborhood Amenities That Benefit Families With Children

Check Out the Neighbourhood

A home in a neighbourhood that is good for kids will have nearby amenities, places to play and walk, and often other children. Before making an offer on a property, take a long walk around the neighbourhood to look for favorable characteristics.

  • Look for evidence of neighbouring children. Depending on the day, you may not see the neighbourhood children outside playing on their lawns, but you might still see evidence that they exist. Swing sets, outdoor toys, minivans and kid-sized bicycles are all signs that a neighbourhood is already home to many children.
  • Check for continuous sidewalks. Continuous sidewalks make it possible for your child to go for a walk and visit neighbouring children without walking in the street. Sidewalks are also helpful for young children who are learning to ride their bicycles. As you walk around the neighbourhood, look for wide, continuous sidewalks.
  • Look for nearby parks and other amenities. Look at a map to investigate the kind of kid-friendly amenities that are in the neighbourhood around the house. Parks, trails, schools and recreation centers are all good places to take kids.

Research Nearby Schools

If you have school aged children, research the nearby schools to find out how they are rated by parents. If you have questions about the school and how appropriate it would be for your child, make an appointment to stop in and meet with the principle. This will give you a chance to see the school, its play ground and classrooms. This can help you decide whether or not that school district is right for you.

Good Traffic Conditions

Good traffic conditions outside are important, especially in homes with young children. Homes on roads with heavy traffic can be a danger, however, large yards and homes set back away from the road may be safer than homes with a small yard. In addition, sidewalks give members of the family a safe place to walk. Even if traffic is heavy and fast, sidewalks help keep people safe. When assessing the relative safety of a property, consider the size of the yard, presence of sidewalks and flow of traffic before deciding whether or not a property is right for your needs. 

Amenities Within Walking Distance

Amenities within walking distance of a property will affect the activities of family members once they move in. Homeowners who place a premium on nearby conveniences like grocery stores, parks, daycare centres, libraries and other amenities should spend time driving around a neighbourhood to find out what kind of stores and entertainment spots are nearby. 

Communicate With Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent can help you find the property that's right for your needs. If you're a home buyer seeking a property that your family can grow into, talk to your real estate agent before beginning your property search. Your real estate agent can help you find homes and neighbourhoods that meet the needs of your family. 

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