It’s hard enough finding a house to suit just one or two people. When you bring the needs of a whole family into the mix, the list of requirements grows substantially. Unlike property purchases when you’re first starting on the ladder, a family home is one you’ll want to live in for many years, perhaps decades, so it’s vital to make the right choice. As local property experts, we’ve helped hundreds of families find the perfect new home where everyone can feel happy, safe and comfortable. If your family are on the move, here are the top things we recommend you consider when you begin your house-hunt.
Location, location, location
Location is everything when looking for a new family home. Perhaps with a growing family, you’re looking for a more rural setting to take advantage of the space, and the quiet. Or maybe your family prefer to be in the heart of the city to make the most of everything that has to offer. You’ll also need to consider schools in the area, and how easy it will be to get the children there and back, as well as how the adults in the household will be getting to work, and how everyone will be getting to their various extracurricular activities.
Does size matter? Well, when it comes to a family home it does. You don’t want to feel like you’re constantly on top of each other. Of course, everyone needs a bedroom, and no one wants children fighting over who gets the bigger room if some are drastically different sizes, so an even distribution of space is preferred. You may also want to consider whether you need to allow room in the house for your family to grow, should you be planning further additions. An extra ‘playroom’ will never go amiss as far as the kids are concerned! Then there’s the need for enough bathrooms to avoid early morning shower disputes. Finally, there’s the heart of the family home – the kitchen. This is where you’ll want space to cook and eat without everyone being too much under foot. Have a think about the potential to expand the property as well; there may be hidden opportunities to extend, reconfigure or add loft or basement rooms.
Having an outdoor space that’s safe for children to play in is great for their health – the NHS recommends that kids should be active for 60 minutes a day, and having a garden is a great way to encourage them to let off some steam! If pets are important members of your family, you’ll likely also want space for them to run around. If you’re not into maintaining a garden though, being near a park or outdoor playground is your next best bet.
Once you’ve chosen your family home, you’ll most likely want to stay put for a long time, and families tend to accumulate considerable amounts of stuff over the years. Storage space is an essential requirement to help family homes retain a sense of order and organisation, as well as to make sure that precious family memories can be kept safe. Look for plenty of attic or basement space, as well as wardrobes, kitchen storage units and any extra handy cubby-holes. Many families now consider a man (or woman) shed to be an essential requirement!
Internet access is now considered a human right, and no doubt your children would agree. Broadband access and Wi-Fi signals are such an integral part of modern life that they can’t be overlooked when choosing a home. Particularly if you’ll be trying to work in one part of the house while the children are playing games in another.
Whilst not crucial by any means, there are elements of smart home technology that can be incredibly useful in busy and bustling family homes. Having the ability to control night lights, heating and security remotely is a sure-fire way to make life that little bit easier, and fun for all the family.
Take the time to find out how close the nearest shops and other amenities are. Having at least one small shop nearby will save time and stress when you inevitably run out of bread, milk and other essentials. When you go to view a property, have a wander round the area to take in the surroundings. Playgrounds, cafes and child-friendly pubs are all great things to have on your doorstep to keep both children and adults entertained.