Buying a house is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor that’s often accompanied by large amounts of stress. As a result, most people don’t like to move more than they have to.
As the parent of a growing family, it can be difficult to purchase a house today that you’ll still find comfortable and enjoyable in three, five, or 10 years. It is, however, possible.
Prioritize the Following When Buying a House
When buying a house for a growing family, look at the buying process through a unique lens. Not only should you think about your current needs, but you should also keep one eye on the future. Your posture is both practical and prognostic.
As you go down this road, it’s especially important that you take certain factors into account. Let’s take a look:
While most people think in terms of square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms, the first thing to look at is affordability.
Everyone has a different financial philosophy, but one rule of thumb is to never spend more than 25 percent of your monthly take-home pay on a mortgage. In other words, if your monthly take-home pay is $5,000, the most you should spend on a mortgage is $1,250.
The tricky part of this equation is that you’re buying a house you hope to grow into. Since you’re probably optimistic that your income will go up over time, it’s easy to talk yourself into exceeding this threshold (especially when you’re qualified for more like 30 or 40 percent).
However, if you spend more than you should on a house now, the rest of your family’s finances will suffer for years as a result. This will limit your ability to save, invest, and spend in other areas. Just something to keep in mind.
The location of your home is always important for practical reasons like proximity to work, access to the interstate, and nearby amenities, but it matters even more when you have a growing family with kids.
With kids in the picture, you have to think about schools. If you have a wide age gap between your kids, you should also consider different levels of schooling (such as elementary, middle, and college).
After doing thorough research, you may zero in on a few specific areas of town that you like.
3. Good Neighborhood
Your search for the right location doesn’t stop with identifying the right school zones. You also want to think about the individual neighborhoods within these zones.
We’ve discussed how to find a good neighborhood for your family in a previous blog post – which you can check out here – so we won’t go into too much detail. Just make sure you’re looking at a variety of factors so that you’re making an informed decision in this area.
4. Floor Plan
The floor plan of your house is highly specific to your own desires and needs. Think about things like privacy, age of children, whether you want the master bedroom to be located near the nursery, how comfortable you are having your kids go upstairs and downstairs, etc.
It’s the little things like this can impact your happiness in a house and give you the desire to move after a couple of years.
5. Unfinished Rooms
Some homebuyers look at unfinished rooms in the home as a turnoff – something else to worry about – but they’re actually good for a growing family. Unfinished space gives you the opportunity to expand your livable square footage in the future without having to move. It also represents an opportunity to increase the value of your home rather dramatically.
6. Exterior Space
Not all homes have unfinished rooms that can be renovated into livable square footage. If you think you’ll eventually want to add on to your house, you’ll need some exterior space on your lot to expand into. When buying a house, consider the total square footage of the lot, setback lines, and building restrictions. This will give you a better idea of your options.
7. Storage Space
One of the inevitable truths about having kids is that you accumulate “stuff.” Strollers, toys, games, books, bikes—every birthday and Christmas mean more and more.
“If you plan ahead, your house won’t end up a cluttered mess,” Dwell.com mentions. “Built-in storage is a great way to provide organized space for books, games, toys, or other knick-knacks.”
Can’t find a house with adequate built-in storage and closets? Keep this in the back of your mind when visiting listings and think about how you can add it after buying a house.
8. Big Backyard
Do you want your kids to be holed up in the house all day? As any parent knows, boredom is a recipe for disaster. That’s why when buying a house it’s smart to look for homes with big backyards. Yes, it means more yard work and upkeep, but it also means more family time.
9. Sizable Garage
The garage isn’t something most people think about when buying a house. They’re pretty much standard on homes built in the last 20 to 30 years. You should, however, be thinking about space in the garage.
Not only do you need room for your vehicles, but you also want space for bikes, tools, lawn equipment, and everything else that inevitably ends up in the garage. If you don’t, you’ll find that you eventually have to park your vehicles in the driveway.
Let Green Residential Help
If you buy a house today and have three more kids over the next five years, there are no guarantees that you’ll still be happy in the home you’re in. Circumstances fluctuate, styles change, and markets ebb and flow. But if you keep these factors in the back of your mind, you stand a much greater chance of purchasing a house that you can live in long-term.
For help buying a house or selling in the Houston area, Green Residential is the company you want working alongside you. We’re experienced, transparent, and forward thinking. Just contact us today to find out more!