Becoming a parent for the first time is such an exciting time. Holding your brand new baby, taking her for walks in her brand new UPPABaby Vista stroller with your spouse through the park, and all the new fellow parents you can make friends with open up new horizons for young couples.
But there are also the unknowns and the new dangers that lurk around every corner that you suddenly become aware of: how can I keep my baby safe? Will she be able to make friends? Where will I take her if she gets hurt?
All these brand new experiences and sensations - both positive as well as scary, include buying your first home. You want to find that perfect home for your new and growing family, but there are so many little things you have to keep in mind. And sometimes it gets, well, overwhelming.
So how do you choose that brand new condo for your growing family? Here are a few tips.
Find a Kid Friendly Location
The old real estate axiom “location, location, location” has never been so true for young families. Of course you want a kid-friendly location, but what does that mean exactly?
Start with a Great Neighborhood Let’s start with the obvious - you want a neighborhood with the best schools, proximity to activities such as soccer and karate, and a playground. These are super important, and we shouldn’t gloss over it. But getting the right school district is the price of entry for a kid friendly neighborhood.
What can you walk to? Think about what you can access that’s within walking distance. There’s nothing like the experience of walking to school, the playground, museums and stores with your children. Those are the kinds of bonding experiences that will leave great memories your family can look back on for years and years.
Find a Safe Roaming Area Also, does your condo community provide a safe environment where your kids can go play in the playground or ride their bike safely, without having to dodge traffic or worry about stranger danger?
Condos vs. Single Family Homes And if you’re trying to decide between buying a single-family home or a condo for your young family, consider this: do you want to be mowing, weeding or shoveling snow while raising young kids, or would you like that all done for you?
The Home’s Layout
Let’s talk about home layout. What floor plan makes for an optimal, kid-friendly in-home environment?
The Kitchen is Key Believe it or not, the kitchen is the most popular part of the house for a family with children, according to Jason Haber, a broker in New York City.
“The three things people look for in a family apartment are kitchen, kitchen and kitchen,” says Haber.
Look for a kitchen, or an open kitchen + dining area, that is large enough for kids to do homework, you or your spouse can prepare meals, and where you can have quality family time.
Consider The Master Bedroom and Kids’ Bedrooms Another thing young parents soon discover is that sleeping through the night is a thing of the past - at least for brand new parents. Consider where the bedrooms are laid out so you can have instant access to your children's’ bedrooms.
And if you have more than one child - or at least plan on bringing a little brother into the family - look for bedrooms with shared bathrooms and sufficient clse space for all the toys, clothes, skateboards, bicycles and video game consoles.
But don’t get hung up on the number of bedrooms. Kids can easily share a bedroom, and when they’re young they prefer it.
Finally, let’s consider the social environment. Does the neighborhood you’re planning to move into have other families with kids? Are there organized activities or parents-day-out clubs? What about organized sports such as hockey or soccer?
Many families make living choices based purely on the physical attributes of the home and neighborhood yet neglect to think about the social environment. This is a mistake.
We hope some of these suggestions will make your home search a little easier, whether you’re expecting or already have a small family, finding the ideal home for you and the kids is an important task. But don’t get overwhelmed by it - with a small checklist like we’ve listed here, it can be a really fun experience!