Moving your family to a new home can be overwhelming, especially considering you must take into account the needs and wants of several people.
But when it comes to choosing a new home to move to, 44 percent of parents said that the size of the home was the most important factor in their decision, according to a recent survey conducted by SpareFoot. (Download the results here)
What other factors do parents consider the most important? Here is how parents responded when asked:
- Home size: 44%
- School ratings: 24%
- Neighborhood amenities: 10%
- Proximity to shopping and entertainment: 9%
- Number of children in the neighborhood: 7%
- Backyard size: 7%
Parents are likely to factor all of these things into their final decision, so let’s take a look at why they matter one-by-one:
1. Home Size
A comfortable environment can help ease tension, and also provide children with enough space to play.
“I find out how many kids and family members will be living at the home, and typically recommend one master bedroom for the primary buyers, as well as one to two children maximum per bedroom,” explains Desare Kohn-Laski, real estate broker and owner of Skye Louis Realty.
And while you’ll want a home that provides enough rooms, make sure the price tag fits into the family budget.
“House size is really what you want, can afford, and makes you happy,” adds Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer at BeenVerified.com, a source of online background checks and contact information.
2. School Ratings
Moving a child to a new classroom can be a stressful transition, but finding a great school may make the shift easier. It can also ensure your kid has access to a solid education.
Besides looking at scores, go and see the school for yourself, advises Alina Adams, author of “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten” and “Getting Into NYC High-School.”
You’ll be able to meet the staff, view the grounds, and learn about the school’s specialties. Ask about field trips, physical education, science programs, after-school care, and anything else that might interest your child.
In places such as New York City and Silicon Valley, schools may be oversubscribed, so check for waiting lists before enrolling your son or daughter.
3. Neighborhood Amenities
Finding a safe location can offer your family peace of mind, as well as a suitable environment for children to be outdoors.
Sites such as NeighborhoodScout and NSOPW will give you an initial idea of crime statistics in the new area. This information, coupled with some “boots on the ground” exploring, can get you a pretty decent idea if you are moving into a family-friendly neighborhood, adds Lavelle.
Also look for kid-centered features, such as a neighborhood pool, playground, and ample lawns set away from roads.
4. Shopping and Entertainment
Check how near your new house is to places you’ll visit regularly, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Also look to see where the closest parks, malls, movie theaters, and museums are located.
“Living away from it all has its advantages, but only if all members of the family are on board, or you will end up doing a lot of driving,” explains Lavelle.
5. Number of Children in the Neighborhood
“As a parent, encouraging your children to play outside and put down the video games is not always the easiest idea to persuade,” points out Kohn-Laski. “However, if there are other kids in the neighborhood to hang out with, they will almost always choose this option over staying indoors.”
Having neighbors with children can also come in handy if you want a recommendation for a babysitter, or a parent to check on your home while you are on vacation.
“Before moving into a community, I suggest driving around the neighborhood after school hours or on the weekends to see if there are other kids in the area,” says Kohn-Laski.
6. Backyard Size
If you plan on having regular grill-outs or spending ample time outdoors, you’ll want a space that can accommodate those activities.
“Know your kids and know what they like,” adds Alaina Frederick, mom of four boys and founder of dinker & giggles.
“Our boys love nothing more but to climb, roll, hide and explore in the trees. Our new ‘must have’ yard is one with trees, hills and streams for our kids to explore.”
If privacy is important to you, or you have a dog, look for homes that include a fenced-in backyard.