Help clueless future parents buy the right home to raise kids in!
January 10, 2014 11:21 AM Subscribe
As future parents and first time homebuyers, what aren't we thinking about, or under-emphasizing/over-emphasizing, in trying to pick a home to raise (two) kids in? What should we consider in deciding on house versus condo, location, neighborhood, size, layout, features, etc?
posted by EmilyClimbs to Home & Garden (36 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Here are some specific we're wondering about, but please also add things we don't even realize we should be thinking about! (And yes, we know that different families will come down differently on all of these issues... we just want to hear your opinion and any generalizations based on families you know.)
- How much space do we really need? The two of us seem much more comfortable in smaller living spaces than your average couple and hence are drawn to small, more affordable places, but how is the equation likely to change when adding two kids? Both in pure square feet, and anything to think about re layout (ie the ability for one of us to sleep with minimal disruption from crying/playing kids? Pros and cons of stairs?)
- At first we were thinking condo (it's definitely what we'd buy if kids weren't in the picture), but now we're leaning more towards a house. Particularly nervous about noise issues in a condo, but also it feels like so few people choose to raise kids in condos and there must be good reasons for that... your take?
- Related to the condo decision (it's hard to find 3BR condos in our area) is whether to buy a place we'd outgrow and need to move from... besides the hassle, it seems like making the kids change schools would be a big drawback, but maybe we'd want to move to a better school district by middle school time anyway (or even sooner)?
- Are there less obvious things about school quality we should be thinking about? (Especially things that are more likely to stay constant almost a decade from now once we're actually using the school system?)
- What are the pros and cons of being in a more urban, walkable area, versus something more suburban with quieter streets and almost no walkable shopping/entertainment/etc? (How far *is* really reasonably walkable with kids of different ages? Is our current preference for walking over driving likely to decrease when we have kids? Increase to avoid the hassle of carseats/etc?) FYI these would actually be in different parts of the same large inner suburb of DC (Silver Spring, for the curious) but with very different feel.
- What other kind of neighborhood features are important?
- How big a deal is it to have a yard? Laundry on the same level versus basement? For the kids to be in close walking distance to school, versus further but ineligible for busing, versus taking the bus?
- Anything else you think we should be thinking about?
(For reference, we're planning on two kids, and looking at a price range that would allow one of us to stay home for a few years. But feel free to mention it if you think we should be focusing even more on keeping the mortgage amount really low.)
Thanks so much!