Home buyers with children (or who are expecting them soon) know to look for properties with certain kid-friendly characteristics, such as a good school district and room for a nursery. But do you know all of the things you should check? Here, Realtor.com offers a list of eight features that parents should factor into their house hunt, but often miss.
1. Bedroom placement
Although parents know to find a house with ample bedrooms for their kids, what they sometimes fail to factor in is where those bedrooms are. Many parents prefer a layout where their kids’ bedrooms are fairly close to their own since it keeps their kids within earshot at night. However, bedrooms on separate floors can work for parents who prefer a bit more privacy.
Cul-de-sacs are great options for parents who want to avoid busy streets. But sidewalks often are overlooked. They offer an extra layer of safety, since they provide a buffer between cars and kids at play, and are crucial during the stroller/trike/wagon phase. But that’s not all. Sidewalks also invite you to go for a family walk, they’re the perfect place to set up a lemonade stand and they make an ideal canvas for your children to show off their art skills with sidewalk chalk.
3. An open floor plan
While bonus rooms and basements are nice for older children, they’re not so great for toddlers who need to be constantly supervised. This is why a great room concept with the kitchen, dining and family room all opening onto one another is ideal for families. Make certain the home has enough space on the main floor for kids to play and you can still go about your chores.
4. Easy sightlines to the backyard
All parents know the importance of having a yard, but unless you plan to go outside every time they do, you’ll also want to check how viewable that yard is from the inside. Are the kitchen windows situated so you can cook and clean while the kids play out back? Or, if you work from home, does your desk have a clear view of your kids’ sandbox or swing set? A backyard won’t give you much peace of mind if you can’t keep an eye on your kids.
5. A flat lot
You’d be amazed at how many baseballs you’ll lose with even the gentlest of slopes. But add an extreme hill, and that can put a serious crimp in any bike riding or skateboarding your kids want to do.
6. Hot spots
The way in which a home is heated also can present certain problems. Radiators can get too hot for little feet, and gas fireplaces can be cozy yet dangerous. Within three minutes, the glass doors can become hot enough to cause third-degree burns, and it takes about 45 minutes for the glass to cool down sufficiently, says the Consumer Safety Product Commission.
7. Amenities within walking distance
Most people love the option of being within walking distance of stores and restaurants, but this desire is particularly heightened for families with young children, who quickly realize how burdensome it gets to pack up the car with strollers and bags. Checking the surrounding area to see what’s walkable—such as a coffee shop, playground, and daycare—can make a huge difference.
8. The neighbors
Wouldn’t it be awful to move into a house, only to hear later that there’s a sex offender living next door? Play it safe and check The National Sex Offender Public Website, which allows you to pinpoint the locale of any sex offenders in a neighborhood.