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While the process of homebuying can be a challenge for everyone to navigate, parents have specific needs in a property that other buyers do not. Budgeting and planning change when you become a parent. Property decisions are affected just as much by the introduction of children. When you have (or about to have) kids and you’re looking for a home, it’s important to think about all the things they require now and in the future. Below are the five characteristics of a potential home that are important for a growing family.

1. Size

Beyond just needing a place to sleep, kids (and their stuff) take up space. So if you are planning to have a family, buying a home with extra rooms will allow the home to grow along with you. This may mean a designated playroom, a backyard or window seats with extra storage for toys. Also, if you are buying a home for the long haul, it’s a good idea to think about the future — those two toddlers will one day be teenagers. If money is too tight currently to purchase a place with extra rooms, there are still ways to prepare. Consider buying a home with an unfinished basement or loft space that can be turned into bedrooms, living or play space later on.

2. Practicality

In addition to home size, also consider how your family will utilize the home. If you have young kids, you will likely need the home to be accessible for strollers. A ramp entryway can be helpful even if you are carrying a car seat from the car into the home. An open floor plan is also ideal for families as it allows you to be more flexible with how you use space and enables you to make changes as your family’s needs evolve. It’s a good idea to look for a home with a large laundry room, sufficient amount of wall sockets and enough closet and storage space for everyone’s things.

3. Location & Nearby Schools

Finding the right neighborhood for your family involves analyzing several aspects of the area. Property location can become even more important if you’re a parent. Are there nearby places to shop and sufficient options for children’s entertainment or extracurricular activities? It’s important to also carefully consider the education options in the area. You may want to consider what sort of ratings the public schools receive and whether there are private or religious school options that appeal to you.

4. Yard & Neighbors

A big yard may be important to parents who want their children to experience the outdoors and have a nearby base of playing sports and games. Because this can increase your home’s cost, you’ll have to determine if it’s worth it. It’s also a good idea to consider your neighbors. If there are other families nearby with potential friends for your children around their age to interact with, this can be a big plus.

5. Safety

While the local crime rate is very important, there are also parts of a home that affect a property’s safety. Look out for banisters with wide gaps, sharp corners, and open stairways, which curious kids can find danger in. If your children will be playing outside, you may want to check out potential homes at various times of the day to analyze the traffic.

There are some essentials that every homebuyer needs to take into account when they start the homebuying process, like your credit scores. Credit can have a huge impact on the amount of home you can afford, so it’s important to check your credit scores before you begin the shopping process. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.

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