As Realtors, we have experienced just about every version of family. There is a place for everyone, from the single-parent, to empty-nesters, to blended families, to dog & cat moms.
But there is one important fact you must keep in mind when you look for a home. The likelihood that your family will stay the same and have the same needs for a decade is extremely rare. Every single family we have met in the past 20 years has morphed into something that they can barely recognize.
Five Things to Consider
1) Anticipate Your Needs
Do you have children, and if so, how old are they? Now, look ten years into the future. What will their needs be? If your children are very young, you may want them all on the same level as you are. But what happens when you have a house full of teens? We can tell you from experience; they need a place to chill. A bonus room or basement rec room will save your sanity and theirs.
What if you have teens now? The next decade may mean kids away at university, young families home for Christmas, or young adults moving back home as they save for a downpayment.
The home you pick should have room for the family but shouldn’t feel desolate with the kids gone.
2)Pick a Home With Flexible Spaces.
Picking homes with multipurpose rooms is an excellent way to buy for a changing family. A flex room at the front of your home is a great example. It can begin as a nursery or craft room, morph to an office, and end up as a formal dining room or guest room. A finished basement can start out as accommodations for a nanny, move to a teen hangout, and end as a space for your parents or in-laws.
3)Make Sure it is Sellable
You may live in your new home for decades, or life might move you in just a few years. However long you stay in your home, one thing is inevitable. You will eventually need to sell that home. Making some good choices when purchasing could help you sell faster and for more money.
We all know the basic economic rule that more buyers create more demand. The best way to have more buyers look at your home is to make it appeal to as broad of a market as possible.
A home with only one bedroom up will appeal to a small portion of the pool of home buyers. A home with two bedrooms up will appeal to a broader base, and homes with three or more bedrooms will have the largest number of potential buyers. Even as an empty nester, it is rare for any home buyer not to want the option for a guest to stay the night. An additional bedroom is always a good idea.
Most buyers are moving because they need more space or because they want to downsize. Buyers who need more space most likely need more storage. A growing family is continually accumulating, and the only way to stay organized and maintain a semblance of sanity is to have enough storage.
Buyers who are downsizing have the same needs. They are moving from a larger home and now have to find room for everything they have accumulated over the decades. Ample storage can mean the difference in a buyer choosing your home over another one.
Kid-Friendly, NOT Kid-Focused
A treehouse or fort built into the walls of a bedroom may seem perfect for your four-year-old, but I can tell you from experience, your child will grow out of that. It can be costly to remove and repair drywall. If your situation changes, such as a quick transfer, you may not have the time to make major changes to your home prior to listing it. Keep the kid zones temporary and removable.
4)Don’t Overextend Your Finances
The age of a home may dictate what significant renovations are on the horizon. If you buy a new construction home, how long until expenses are necessary? The shingles, windows, and driveway should last 20-30 years. Now, what if the home you are considering is 20 years old? You could be looking at some substantial bills in the near future.
Please don’t underestimate the amount of money it takes to raise a family. I remember my brother (who has two children), explaining to my parents why he was choosing never to have kids. “Do you know how expensive they are?” he asked. “Yes, yes we do.”
Kids are costly, and that goes beyond basic necessities. Hockey, dance classes, piano lessons…the drain on your finances can be significant. There is nothing more stressful than being house-rich and cash-poor. Buying to your maximum might put you in financial duress if the shingles start to curl or window seals deteriorate. Long-term, your new home will need repairs and updates, so resist the temptation of overextending yourself on a pricier home.
5) Location, Location
Examine how your family spends its time on the weekend. Do your little ones love the local spray parks and playgrounds? Is an off-leash dog park a plus? Do your teens use basketball courts or skate parks? Do you and your partner love to take in the local markets? Or is curling or pickleball your current hobby?
Again, picture your family ten years in the future. If living in the same neighbourhood for a decade or two is your dream, make sure the activities you see yourself doing in the future are easily accessible in the community you pick. And for those of you just starting a family, you WILL become a taxi driver. The more places they can get to biking or on foot, the better.
There is a perfect place for every family, and with a little bit of planning, that place will suit your family for years. We would love to help you find your next home! Give us a call, and we can get you started on the search for your perfect place.