Nowadays, increasing numbers of people are opting to rent for longer periods of time. This makes sense in many ways, as people don’t want to be tied down until they have a reason to create stability and consistency in their lives. Something that does this? Having children.
Once you have little ones, chances are that you will want to invest in a more permanent home if you can. Not only will this ensure that they can grow up in the same space, rather than moving around regularly, but it also ensures that you have something to leave to them in the future. So, what steps can you take to ensure that you find the best home for you and your family? This is likely to be the biggest investment that you make in your entire life, so you should put plenty of thought into the process before diving into the deep end. Here are just a few areas that you should focus on, if you are thinking of buying your first family home.
Create a Budget
The first step that you need to take before searching for the home of your dreams is to figure out a budget. Use a home loan calculator to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay for a mortgage each month, while still maintaining a good quality of life for you and your family. Agreeing to a mortgage that costs more than you can realistically afford, can quickly see you sink into debt, or your family will have to go without and live hand-to-mouth for the foreseeable future. You need to strike a balance where you can, to take on the best home possible while still having sufficient disposable income left over to live.
Choose a Location
Once you’ve determined how much you can afford to spend, you will be able to start browsing the property market. But you will need to whittle down your options, unless you fancy taking a look at every single property for sale in the area. Location is a good place to start, and should be a major determining factor in your home move. There are different factors that can influence your decision when it comes to choosing a location to live in. These can include:
- Safety – ideally, we would live in a world where everyone is safe, and you wouldn’t have to consider safety when choosing between one location to live and another. But the sad reality is that particular locations have higher crime rates and could be dangerous places to raise little ones. You can reduce chances of this from happening by opting for a very safe neighbourhood.
- Good Local Schools – children tend to go to a school that is local to their home. So, you want to make sure that you move into a home that has a reputable and good quality school nearby. Check out local league tables. Moving into a property that falls into a particular school’s catchment area, will guarantee your little ones a place in a good educational facility.
- Proximity to the workplace – you will want to live somewhere relatively close to your workplace, so that your commute isn’t too long. Various studies have found that commuting extensive distances to work can have a profoundly negative impact on your overall health and wellbeing. When you are a parent, time spent commuting also means more time spent away from your children. For the sake of your health and your happiness, it’s better to live close to your workplace.
- Proximity to public transport options – many people tend to leave their vehicle at home throughout the working day. Not only does driving result in sitting in more traffic during rush hour, it could also mean leaving home early in order to find a parking space. If you are raising children and have one car in the family, the car needs to be left for school runs and running errands. This is why moving somewhere close to good public transport options is relatively important. You don’t want to have to walk for half an hour to the bus stop or train station each day.
Choosing a location means that you can now contact local estate agents, who can then show you what properties are up for sale. This is when you can start seeing your options and potential future homes. The next determining factor that you should focus on is the size of the properties you are looking at. If you have just one child, you are likely to get a better two bedroom property for your money, than a property with more bedrooms. However, you need to ask yourself whether your family will be expanding further in the future. Moving house is a long and difficult process and you don’t want to have to sell up and shift your family in the near future, if you do decide to have more children. If you do intend to have more children, ask yourself how many, and then make sure that there are sufficient rooms in the home that you choose. It’s always better to have a bit too much space than too little space. After all, spare space can always be put to good use.
If you find a property that is nigh on perfect but is one room short, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to settle with the space as you see it at the moment. There’s always the option of carrying out renovations to expand on the space that any given property originally offers. A loft conversion could create an extra bedroom on the top floor of your home. An extension could offer extra space on the ground floor, or all floors of your property. Sure, renovations take a whole lot of work, dedication, and financial investment. But if you have really set your heart on a property and it requires a few tweaks to meet your family’s needs, it will generally be more than worth your time, effort, and financial investment to make things just right.
Finding the best home to meet your own needs, is a difficult enough task in itself. But when you have the needs and preferences of an entire family to take into account, things can become increasingly difficult. Chances are that you have a long and drawn out process ahead, and it may be months before you find the right property to tick all of your boxes. But hopefully, the above advice will guide you along the way, and help you to reach your end goal a lot faster with fewer hiccups.