Expecting another baby and you’ve run out of bedrooms? Stepping on your children’s toys as you try to navigate through a cramped living room? Local realtors offer advice for those young families who are growing out of their current homes and looking to upgrade to bigger and better.
Heidi Long, Janet McAfee Real Estate
◆Young families need informal living spaces. Look for large family rooms and basements you can finish.
◆You can never have enough bathrooms. You can remodel a bathroom inexpensively, but adding one is very expensive.
◆ Avoid houses on busy streets. A lot of people will fall in love with a house, only to find out later that they’re not comfortable with their children playing outside by the road.
◆ Find the square footage you need. Look for a remodel before you look for a place that needs an addition.
◆Yards are very important for young children. Make sure they’re safe, flat and large enough for children’s equipment.
Kim Carney, Coldwell Banker Premier Group
◆ Identify the school district you want to be in if your children will be attending public schools. For private schools, the central corridor is a great place to live.
◆ It’s a great time to buy up. In this market, you can get a great deal on a higher-priced home. You might lose a little on the house you’re selling, but you’ll gain with the new one.
◆ Consider a renovation project. You can find a home that has great bones if you’re willing to put some work into it. But keep in mind that renovating kitchens and bathrooms can be very disruptive for growing families.
◆ Don’t rely only on the Internet for your initial home search. An agent may know of homes not on the MLS yet.
Margie Medelberg, Prudential Alliance
◆ Concentrate on the things you can’t change about a house. For example, if your family wants a fenced and level backyard, look for the level yard. You can always add a fence, you can’t change a yard. ◆ Look for locations close to pools and parks, as well as your children’s activities because you don’t want to spend your life driving around town.
◆ Find the floorplan that meets your needs. A finished lower level is great, but you wouldn’t put your small children down there unattended.
◆ Keep pets in mind. Look for big yards, sidewalks and places to walk your dog, and find out if the neighbors have pets, as well.
◆ Visit a potential home while it’s raining. You can check for water in the basement and in the yard. Standing water can turn a yard into a swamp and keep your kids from playing outside.
Julie Drier, Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty
◆ Determine what you can afford. Be sure to get pre-approved by a mortgage company or bank prior to looking for a home so there are no surprises.
◆ Check out the neighborhood you’re interested in. Drive by on weekdays and weekends at random times to see what kind of neighbors live there, and to make sure it is kid-friendly.
◆ Decide on the style of the home that fits your family’s personality and needs, whether it’s traditional, contemporary, Tudor, two-story or ranch.
◆ Line up your priorities before searching: the size of the house, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.
Gina Bundy, Gladys Manion Real Estate
◆ Today’s growing family enjoys the kitchen/family room atmosphere because it fosters get-togethers. Look for an open floor plan that is conducive to that.
◆ Do not buy a new home before selling your current one.
◆ Involve your children in the decision. Once you have narrowed the choices down, show them the options and listen to their input.
◆ Have a thorough inspection of the property you want to buy, so there are no surprises later.
◆ Talk to the seller before closing on the home. Learn the ins and outs of the house to help you envision your family there.