Moving as a young family is undoubtedly an exciting time, but if you’re like many, it’s also one filled with apprehension and plenty of questions.
How much space is enough—or too much? Will you be able to maintain the yard? And will that swing set fit? So many questions, not least of which is likely what do you really need and what don’t you need as you search for your next home as a young family?
While everyone’s needs are different, we’ve compiled a list of four primary considerations to guide your search.
Will your family grow?
The number-one consideration that guides many young families’ decisions is the eventual size of their family. After all, if you’re shopping for your home as a young family of three, your needs are likely different than those of a family of five. Consider what’s livable to you if the answer changes.
For example, while a three-bedroom today may allow you a master and one child bedroom, with the third flexing as a guest room or office space, would a growing family still allow the home to work for you (or do you need a four-bedroom or separate office if that changes)?
Don’t go overboard but consider how each home you see factors into your long-term family plan.
Short-term vs. long-term needs
On a related note, consider your short versus long-term needs. For example, if you’ll be moving with a baby, you likely have a long list of safety-related requirements, including gates, fences, etc. However, babies grow—so will that list of requirements you have today still matter in two years?
Kids grow quickly; think long-term.
Rather than focusing on “micro needs” that fit the current period in time, look ahead and consider the larger lifestyle picture. When the day comes, will you need extra parking? How do you foresee your lifestyle: Do you want an open floor plan, something cozy were family functions together, or would you rather everyone has a defined space for themselves? These functionality elements are harder to change later since they define a home’s flow and design. Think long-term and focus on what’s a fixed fixture—like an entrance point—and less on décor.
Location and lifestyle
As kids grow, typically, so do their interests and activities. Think about how you’ll arrange your schedule and how you foresee handling those commitments later.
For example, are you willing to commute in 30-40 minutes to make an activity so you can possibly have a larger home and/or yard with a lower mortgage? Or is it more important to have close-by amenities—even if it limits your square footage?
How about daily conveniences, like groceries, doctors, and the like? You can change many things—but you can’t change location.
Schools, schools, schools
Depending on where in the DMV you’re located, your school may be predetermined. Research schools in the areas you are considering. There are many databases with information about rank, performance, and other considerations.
One note is that just because a home is currently assigned to a particular school doesn’t mean it can’t be rezoned. Because of this, it’s a good idea to also look into surrounding schools and research the assigned district as a whole.
Looking for a home as a young family should be an exciting step. Remember to think long-term and consider where you might be in two, five, or even 10 years to find a home you can enjoy even as your family grows.