What Do Expecting Parents Look For In A Home?
by Michael Lam | Jun 19, 2015
Home buying with children in mind is a great way to prepare for your future family life. There is a good chance that the home you choose will be the only home your children know until they leave for college. But choosing the right home may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be, though. When you start home buying, pay attention to the following features in your new home and you will soon own a home that is perfect for your future son or daughter.
Children need plenty of attention while they are young, especially when they haven’t yet reached the point that they sleep through the night. For the first few months your child will probably sleep in the same room as you, but when they are a bit older they will get their own bedroom. If at all possible, you want this bedroom to be on the same floor as the master bedroom, possibly with a connecting door. This makes it easy to check on your child and makes it easy for your child to reach your bedroom in the case of nightmares, sickness, or some sort of emergency.
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On a similar note, a child friendly home is one with a living room that is conveniently close to both a bathroom and the kitchen. This makes it easy to change or feed a young child while keeping a near constant eye on them. Ranch houses generally are nearly perfect for these requirements, though may be a bit small for a family with more than one child. Victorian homes also tend to fit these requirements well.
Age of New Home
When purchasing a home designed for children, you generally want a newer home, because the construction is more recent. Older homes are more likely to have lead paint or dangerous asbestos levels. Many older homes also tend to have steeper staircases or poor insulation.
A new home isn’t absolutely essential. Plenty of old homes have been renovated in recent years, effectively making them brand new, at least in terms of construction. In general, when choosing a home with children in mind, you would prefer a home that was built or renovated in the last 40 years, since the CPSC made lead paint illegal in home construction in 1977.
Hazards to Watch Out For
According to Global Children’s Fund, every year, 3.4 million children visit the emergency room due to accidents around the house. Additionally, 2000 children die from home accidents every year, roughly 1600 of which are under the age of 4. The early years are the most dangerous times for children. One of the best ways to combat that danger is to purchase a house that is child friendly.
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Falling down stairs is one of the biggest dangers for young children. In the U.S., every six minutes a child under 5 falls down the stairs and requires a visit to the hospital. The simplest way to combat this danger is to purchase a home that is only a single story. The stairs to the basement still pose a threat, but much less so, since they almost always are protected by a door. If you are looking at a bigger home, especially likely if you intend to have multiple children, then you can’t really avoid stairs. You can minimize the danger of stairs, though, by selecting a home that has regular landings and gently sloped staircases.
Other common major dangers are pools, balconies, and kitchens. The first two can be made much safer if they are fully fenced in and gated. The latter is always a danger, but you can greatly increase the safety of your kitchen if it has doorways that can be blocked by a child fence or if the appliances are all child safe.
Local School Districts
Public school districts should be a major part of your decision making process when choosing a new home. No matter how great the home, if the school district isn’t up to par, you could be negatively affecting your child’s entire life. Since the placement of your home is likely based on where you work, you need to research local districts. Even in a small area, the difference can be extreme. For example, according to the Georgia Depatment of Education, the graduation rate in the best school district in Atlanta in 2014 was 82.4%, while the worst rate was 42.5%. That is a massive difference in a relatively small geographical area.
One of the less obvious things that you may not think to look for when purchasing a new home is good play areas for your children. The best play areas, especially for toddlers, is a single room that has no doors to other rooms. You can build a room like this in a finished basement, a finished attic or loft, or in a finished garage. If there is a parent that works at home, a particularly good strategy is to purchase a home where this area is big enough for both a play area and a home office.
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The other major play area that is perfect for children is a back yard. A front yard can work, but you need to fence it to make it a good play area for younger children and it requires significantly more parental attention. A back yard, possibly with play equipment already installed, is ideal for young children during good weather and after it snows.
The final thing to take in to account when choosing a home for your future child is the street location of your home. If you don’t have a good yard area for play space, you definitely want to choose a home that is walking distance from a park. It is probably a good idea even if you do own a yard.
You also want to avoid a home that is adjacent to a major road, if at all possible. In 2012, according to the California Department of Health Services, approximately four children, each day, were seriously hurt or killed after being hit by cars in California. That is over 1000 children a year in California alone. Purchasing a home that is on a less traveled road decreases the danger to your future son or daughter.
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