Moving is a stressful event, as is when you are just moving yourself. Add a family to the equation, and that stress multiplies. Moving as a family just means that many more things to take into consideration, which can often feel like insurmountable roadblocks.
At the end of the day, trying to find a home that fits your, your spouse’s, and your children’s expectations can be an overwhelming and Herculean effort. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Once you narrow down your needs, non-negotiables, and what is worth compromising on, moving with a family becomes less daunting.
Focusing on a few specific criteria can help you narrow down your search and make it that much easier to find your dream home for your family.
Consult a Professional
While we all have certain preferences, real estate agents have deep knowledge of the area and will be able to offer suggestions based on the criteria you set out.
Once you know some parameters of what you’re looking for in a house, a realtor can help you set realistic expectations, weigh your options, and direct you to the areas best suited to your needs.
Have Preferred Neighborhoods
Is the perfect home in the wrong neighborhood really perfect? Be sure to research school districts, commute times to your work, and ease of access to any other essential areas to identify the neighbourhoods suited to your needs that will be a fit for your family.
A good neighbourhood for a family will be one that has other families, is safe, has accessible parks, and has respected schools in the area.
Take a walk or drive around the area and get an overall feel of the neighborhood. Make sure you feel comfortable in the area and ask yourself if the house is in a community that truly suits your needs.
Determine Your Budget
It helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking for homes, so that you can get a better picture of what you can afford. While it can be tempting to start looking for homes at the top of your price range, that doesn’t always make sense.
Many experts recommend adopting the 28/36 rule. Under these guidelines, you should spend 28 per cent or less of your gross monthly income on housing expenses, while all your monthly expenses — including housing costs, car payments, or student loans — should be 36 per cent or less of your gross monthly income.
Sticking to these guidelines can help make sure you can comfortably afford your home.
What is the minimum number of bedrooms you want? How important is the size of the kitchen or the backyard? Do you have to have a two-car garage, fireplace, or wrap-around porch?
Knowing which features you need and which you’re willing to compromise on is extremely helpful when finding the right home for you. Make a list and divide it into three sections: all of the things you must have in your new home, things that would be nice to have, and things that don’t really matter.
It’s good to know what you want, but keep in mind that not every house you look at will actually have every single thing you’re looking for. You don’t want to get too fixated on one element and end up overlooking an otherwise perfect home.
If you stay flexible and you’re willing to compromise, you’ll be sure to find your dream home.