For first-time buyers, the prospect of planning and building a family home is one of the most exciting and daunting things they have ever done. Many of these buyers are young couples who are just beginning their lives together and who may be thinking about adding to their family in the near future. Forward thinking is an important part of the planning process when searching for a home. Here are some of our top tips to help buyers with a growing family plan the home of their dreams.
If you are thinking about expanding your family, space should be at the top of your home planning list. While spare bedrooms and multiple bathrooms come immediately to mind, there are several other features that will help you and your family live comfortably as you grow.
A large, combined kitchen and dining space, while not essential, is beneficial to families with young children. Consider the amount of time you will save rushing back and forth between rooms checking on the kids while preparing meals, and you will be immediately sold on this kind of living space.
If you’re a fan of Fixer Upper, you will know that open plan living is bang on trend and perfect for family homes. Take the combined kitchen/dining room idea and expand it to your living space, and you will have one grand room that can fit your immediate and extended family, guests, and even the occasional party.
Any parent will tell you that as soon as you have children, your home will explode with toys, gear, and other junk. If you’re thinking about starting or expanding your family, plan for a home with tons of built in or optional storage space. A walk-in closet is great, but hallway and bedroom closets are even better for hiding all of the stuff you accumulate with a family.
Although a bonus for many homeowners, a driveway and garage with space for multiple cars will serve you well as your family grows. This is especially important in areas with very cold winters and very hot summers, since a connected garage space can save you time and effort trekking to the car with little ones and all their supplies.
After you’ve considered the basic features of your young family’s home, it’s time to get serious and talk about safety. A family-friendly, secure home should have several key elements.
Any stairways should be safe for even the youngest family members, with no open balconies, ledges, or wide open railings. Also consider the material of your stairs and floors, since glass and marble (or even concrete) will result in much more painful trips and falls as your little ones grow.
At Modernize, we think that a large backyard is fantastic for family living. Just make sure yours is fenced in, free of fall and trip hazards, and not too overlooked if possible.
As a rule, most homeowners like to avoid homes with issues such as foundation problems, mold, dampness, leaks, and outdated electric and HVAC systems. This is particularly important for young families, since the safety of your children will be at the forefront of your mind (not to mention you will have less time for time consuming fixes on problems like these).
For many first time buyers, the prospect of additions and large scale home improvement projects seems years away (and probably out of reach due to budgetary concerns). However, when planning your home layout, young and growing families should be looking for homes with extension and conversion potential. Bonus rooms such as games rooms, dens, attics, and basements can all be converted to accommodate children, guests, and all your extra stuff. Some homes are particularly well placed for physical extensions, such as rooms over garages, sunrooms, and other add-ons. Whether you will have time for these large scale projects with your growing family is another matter entirely!
Kaitlin Krull is a writer and mom of two girls living the expat life in the UK. Her writing is featured on a number of home decor & home improvement sites around the web including Modernize.com She can also be found blogging from time to time on her personal blog, A Vicar’s Wife.