8 Things You Should Look for in a House If You Want to Have Kids Within 5 Years
When you’re looking for a house to buy, so many factors play into the one you finally choose. But if you’re hoping to grow your family in the next several years, you might be thinking more ahead than the average homebuyer. Suddenly, it’s not just about the house’s square footage and number of bedrooms. You’ll also need to consider important details that’ll make life with a little one more convenient (and, of course, safe).
That said, if you’ve never had kids, it can be hard to pinpoint what features are most important in a home. Here are eight things to look for in a house if you want to have kids sometime soon, according to real estate agents.
A quiet (but convenient) location
For most people, location is a top consideration for house-hunting — but Donald Olhausen Jr., a real-estate agent in San Diego, says it’s especially important for parents. Denser areas might be convenient, but loud noises might disturb a baby’s sleep. If you can, steer clear of high-traffic streets as a safety precaution, and consider neighborhood amenities you might want to take advantage of. Walking trails, playgrounds, and pools will come in handy when you have a toddler to entertain.
Plenty of storage
Babies may not take up all that much space, but their stuff definitely does. As your family grows, you’ll accumulate more belongings, so Christian Ross, a managing broker for Engel & Völkers Atlanta, suggests choosing a house with abundant extra storage space. Ample closets are a must, but you’ll also want plenty of drawer, cabinet, and pantry space in your kitchen and, ideally, additional storage in a garage or basement.
An extra bedroom for your future little one is important, but it’s a good idea to consider the location of that bedroom, too. Chances are, you’ll want that additional bedroom as close to you as possible. “From what I hear, walking up stairs to nurse and calm a crying child at 3 a.m. is not ideal, so the location of the owner’s suite in relation to the future children’s room is key,” says Ross.
It’s definitely possible to bathe a baby without a tub. As they get older, though, you’ll probably wish you had one. Ross suggests choosing a home with at least one bathtub, ideally in close proximity to the baby’s future bedroom.
One-story homes are convenient for families, because you probably won’t want to go up and down stairs holding your baby or carrying laundry. If you end up choosing a home with more than one level, Florida-based Realtor Taylor Feamster of The Strata Group says it’s important to consider the width of the stairway at the base, where you might want to install a baby gate. “If the gate is extended too wide, it’s much easier to be pushed or pulled down,” she says. Also, keep in mind carpeted stairs can cushion a fall much more than hardwood or vinyl ones.
A laundry room
As the size of your family expands, so will the piles of dirty clothes. “Any growing family is going to love a supersized washer and dryer, and a larger laundry room for that is a big plus,” says Lacey Brutschy of Compass Real Estate in Dallas.
When your baby arrives, you’ll want to take breaks to play with them outside the home, which will probably involve pushing a stroller. Sidewalks are definitely a plus for safety, and Brutschy recommends looking for a neighborhood with safe, even ones. “The last thing you’re going to want is to have to push the stroller in the street or watch as the stroller rumbles back and forth over unpaved and uneven sidewalks,” she says.
Easy access for a stroller
As long as we’re on the stroller topic: Keep in mind you’ll have to haul strollers (and your baby, and a diaper bag) into your house whenever you get home. On top of ensuring you have space inside for your stroller, Lisa Mark, a Realtor with the Oak & Co. Real Estate Team in Toronto, recommends choosing a home that doesn’t require climbing up stairs to get inside.