Buying a house can get a bit complicated when searching for a place to raise a family.
An unmarried person may decide to go for a smaller apartment or consider one in a less desirable location. Raising children in such an environment may be tough – aside from needing a place to sleep, they also need a place that will help them express themselves effectively.
To measure if a home has the potential to be child-friendly, home buyers who are about to start a family should consider these four useful tips before they purchase a house.
1. Size Matters
Size happens to be one of the most considered factors when purchasing a home. While past generations have had to make do with smaller homes, today, such homes aren't the best options.
Children love to play around the house, make some noise, spread their toys and literally turn the home into their playground. Having a home with an insufficient play area can drive you nuts.
On the other hand, having a home with a spacious living room – plus rooms that can be converted to extra bedrooms – a games room or playroom will be ideal for keeping a child busy, saving you from a whole lot of stress. Even if you don't have a separate playroom, an extra room in the house can be a place for adults to relax and unwind.
Aside from the size of the house, you also need to put the size of your family as well as your daily activities into consideration when purchasing a house. Some questions you need to ask yourself include:
· Looking at the assumption that everyone is on the same schedule, do you have large enough kitchen and dining area where you can cook and serve everyone's meal – plus your children's invited friends – with everybody seated at the same time?
· Is there a utility room or space big enough to take a big washing machine, which is a must if there are children who are playing and constantly dirtying their clothes?
· Do you have enough sockets in place for every computer, television and other electronics used by you and the children?
· Is the storage or wardrobe space large enough to accommodate the belongings of everyone, particularly as your children grow older?
· Do you love to relax outdoors? Can a home equipped with a large garden improve your family's outdoor experience?
When you have the assurance that your childrens' safety in and around the house is guaranteed, you will have fewer things to worry about. Also, consider the fixtures, layout, and furniture inside the home. For instance, try asking these questions:
· Is it best to have an open floor plan which makes it possible for you to monitor your children from the kitchen? Or, if your children are still young, will an open floor plan mean that they will be more likely to have access to dangerous items in the home?
· Do you need to scrutinize built-in cupboards so that children are not in danger of being trapped inside?
· Will it be difficult for toddlers to use the stairs?
· Are there worktops, shelves and tables with sharp edges and dangerous corners?
· Are sockets and wirings out of the reach of children? If not, is it possible to childproof them?
· If you have a pond or pool in the garden, is it fenced?
You should also look beyond your property lines when considering safety concerns. Keep an eye on local crime rates and explore the various crime related websites now available to check if the area is safe.
Furthermore, you would also be interested in knowing the proximity to the hospital in case there's an emergency.
· How easy is it to access doctors, police, and hospitals?
· Does the local area appear to be friendly? Are there lots of dogs that could be a source of intimidation for your children?
· Is traffic regulated or do locals disregard traffic rules and laws?
· Is crossing the road a safe thing to do?
· Is the local area close to an industrial area which could be a source of pollution or other health concerns for your children?
The overall health and well-being of your children largely depend on the answers to the above questions.
4. Location, Location, Location
The location of your home is of utmost importance. Even if there are no serious safety issues with the area, you will still need to put your children in school at some point.
Are there schools that meet the standard you seek? If not, are you okay with the children commuting to school every day? Do the schools have after-school care packages in place?
Aside from the schools, comb the local area to get an idea of whether your children could get playmates as well as places to play. Are there shops, entertainment centers, and facilities for extracurricular activities?
Getting a child-friendly home and neighborhood doesn't have to be so tedious. Taking your time to find a home that has the right features will go a long way in assuring you that you've found a home in which your children are nurtured, respected and safe – and can flourish.
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Paul Long (Director & Author of The Sidcup Property Blog)