Whether you had children when you bought your home or welcomed them once you’d already established your nest, there might be a few things about your home that you wish were different. You can babyproof a house all you want, but there are some things that just aren’t compatible with having young children in the home. Let’s take a look at some of the most common regrets homebuyers with children end up facing from time to time.
The Home’s Layout
At first, a two-story home might seem like a great idea. When you have company over, you can just toss all the clutter and toys in a basket and hide it upstairs. But then you think about hiking up and down the stairs while carrying a baby or toddler multiple times a day, and it starts to seem a little bit unnerving. If you have a small child, you might worry about the safety issues stairs present and the hassle some safety gates can be. And if the master bedroom happens to be downstairs, there’s the issue of being far away from the nursery (although having bedrooms on separate floors might be great when the kids are older). If you have small children or think you might soon, you’ll definitely want to think twice about what sort of layout you really want.
Not Asking Neighbors’ Opinions
Before you pull the trigger on buying a house, it’s always smart to talk to the neighbors, especially if they have children too. They’ll have lots of great insight and firsthand advice about what it’s actually like to live in the neighborhood. Don’t feel shy about asking them for their opinion about the area, including any safety concerns they have about the street or neighborhood, what they think about the local schools, and how many family-friendly spots are nearby. Speaking of neighbors, don’t hesitate to check the national sex offender registry, especially if you have kids who are old enough to be at home alone.
If your kids like to play outside a lot, it’s important to have a good view of the back yard from a window or storm door. If you have a good view of the yard, older kids can enjoy playing outdoors while you get things accomplished inside.
When you find a home you like, don’t forget to check out the safety of the entire area, not just the property itself. What is the traffic like on the surrounding streets? Are there sufficient sidewalks and crosswalks in the area? Book an extra showing for high traffic times so you can see what the street is like at the end of the day. You don’t want to move in and be surprised to find out your street is a regular shortcut for speeders during rush hour!
Not Hiring Help
Parents who have young kids will be doing themselves (and everyone else involved!) a favor by hiring help on moving day. That might mean simply hiring a babysitter to take the kids to the park or another local hangout for the day, or it might mean enlisting professional help with packing and moving so one parent can clear out with the kids for a while.
Amount of Upkeep
Think about how much maintenance and other upkeep a house will require before you fall in love completely. You don’t want to spend every weekend mowing, pulling weeds, cleaning, and doing boring old chores when you could be spending time with your growing family.
No Other Children in the Neighborhood
Picture this: it’s day three of summer vacation, and your kids are lolling on the sofa and lamenting about being bored and having no one to play with. If only you’d checked to see if there were any other kids living nearby before moving in! It’s definitely a plus when kids have friends in the neighborhood. It means they’ll always have someone to play with, and you won’t have to spend as much time driving them to friends’ houses for playdates.
Last but certainly not least on our list, check out the local school district before you sign on the dotted line. You might want to see if you can tour the schools your children will attend, research their curriculum, and decide if it’s a good fit for your family. And again, speak with the neighbors who are also parents. They should have great firsthand information and opinions about the local schools.