There comes a time in every parent’s life when the home they have loved for years suddenly feels too small.
It may happen with the birth of their first child, or it might not happen until baby number two or even three makes an appearance. But at some point, it does happen. These small bundles of joy require a surprising amount of stuff, which can suddenly make the space you are living in feel too cramped. You start daydreaming about more bedrooms, a second bathroom, maybe even a yard.
When the time does come to upsize your family home, here are some things you should definitely consider.
You know you want a three-bedroom home, but what’s also important is where those three bedrooms are located within the home.
If you have young children, you’ll probably want to have all those bedrooms located on the same floor. If the master bedroom is located on the top floor and the other bedrooms are located on the main, you will have to contend with stairs in the middle of the night, and possibly your children’s fears of sleeping on a different level than you. And if one of the bedrooms is located in the basement and yours is two floors above, forget it. You won’t be able to hear young children if they wake up in the night. However, if you’re a family with kids in their teens, a bit of separation between bedrooms could be a great solution for you.
Proximity to Work
When you have a family, you want to spend your time with them. If your commute to work takes an hour and a half each way, you are spending three extra hours per day away from your kids for a total of 15 hours per week. That’s a lot of time.
If you can manage it, buying a place a little closer to work, or more conveniently located near transit, could mean many more happy hours spent with your family instead of sitting in traffic.
You can change the flooring in your home, but you can’t change your location. It’s important that when you step outside your front door, you are in a neighbourhood you and the rest of your family really like. Whether you’re looking for a sense of community, convenient transit, proximity to amenities and parks, or anything else, it’s important to choose a neighbourhood that will feel like home for you and your family for years to come.
You probably didn’t think about this before having kids, but now that you do, of course you want them to go to a good school. Perhaps you want a specialty school that focuses on a certain interest. Or a school that offers French immersion, Mandarin, or another language that is important to you.
Before you buy a home, spend some time learning about the catchment and the schools in it. What you learn may confirm just how awesome the neighbourhood really is – or it could lead you to decide that this just isn’t the right neighbourhood for your family.
Not every young family can afford a house (or even a half-duplex) in a hot urban real estate market like Vancouver. If you’re in one of these markets, a great alternative is a condo or townhome – and with a little luck, you may score one with a large balcony or patio.
Some complexes have a shared yard or courtyard large enough for your kids to run around and kick a ball, but regardless of whether yours does or not, it never hurts to look for something located a short walk from a public park.
Restrictions and Bylaws
If you are looking at buying an old house to tear down or renovate substantially to make it fit your family’s needs, be sure to check with the city first to make sure that your plan is feasible and won’t be prevented by any local restrictions or bylaws.
These are some of the key considerations for families looking to upsize, but of course there are many others. Discussing your needs, desires and preferences with your partner and your kids, and then with your Realtor, will help you choose the home that’s best for you and your family now and for years to come.