Starting A Family: What's The Right First Home To Buy?

Posted on: 1 April 2016


You and your spouse know you want to have children soon. But first things first -- right now, you need to find the perfect house. What should you look for in a first home when you plan to have children in a couple years?

1. Think about bedrooms.

You already know you'll need a master bedroom plus a room that will be your nursery. But two bedrooms may not be enough for a young family. The average age gap between siblings in the U.S. is 2.5 years, so the odds are that if you plan to have more than one, you'll need separate space for the second child in less than 3 years. 

Let's say that you buy a home now, and have a child within a year. If you don't buy a house that's large enough for more than one kid, you could be looking again in less than 4 years. Plus, you'll be facing the task of moving with a toddler or preschooler, as well as a possibly pregnant mom. Instead of that hassle, or trying to figure out how your kids can share a room, plan now for what you'll need.

And in the meantime, an additional bedroom can serve as a guest room -- great for when grandma and grandpa come to visit and help out. 

2. Don't take on too much.

A fixer-upper can be a wise purchase, especially if you're handy and enjoy taking on do-it-yourself projects. But being pregnant or having an infant in a home with no functioning kitchen -- or worse, bathroom -- because you're in the process of a remodel is no fun. 

You'll also need to think about what work you can do once a newborn is in the home. Do you really want workers replacing the roof while you're trying to get the baby to take a nap? And if you have a slightly older child who's walking, there can be dangers associated with remodeling projects.

Look for a house where you can do some work, but not the heavy-duty projects that can be challenging to work around with children in the home. Replacing windows or other done-in-a-day projects, interior re-design and landscaping are good areas to work on in your situation.

3. Avoid common child hazards when possible.

On your own, you might buy a house of any age. But with children in the home, some issues in an older house can be potential safety concerns. One good example is lead. Homes built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint, which a child can ingest by chewing or sucking on window molding or poking at walls. Another issue could be asbestos-containing flooring or insulation, which was used in older homes. You may wish to look for a home that is less than 25 years old to avoid some of these concerns that may impact the health of your children-to-be.

Your real estate agent can help you navigate all the issues associated with first-time home buying, as well as answer your questions about the right home for a young family.