A Guide to Choosing the Right Family Home

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Whether you’re moving to a completely new town or city, or just looking for a new house in your area, buying a family friendly home comes with factors to consider. It’s all about balance: getting the right mix between suitability, location, affordability, availability and plans for the future. It might be that you are a couple planning for children very soon, or you’re currently a mum of three children. Here’s a number of things to consider when choosing your family-friendly home.

Assess the affordability

Although it isn’t always set in stone, a typical mortgage allows you to borrow up to three times your gross annual income. There are instances when you can borrow more, but it’s wise not to get caught up in this area of temptation, as it can lead to financial stress later down the line.

There are always extra fees that come into the equation when buying a home, so it’s worth getting all legal elements covered from the beginning. Choose a solicitor who is local to the area you wish to buy a home. For example, a solicitor in Bedminster if you were looking around the South area of Bristol.

A family home will always be higher priced, because obviously, you’ll be looking for a bigger house, ideally with a garden and several bedrooms. With this in mind, think about your repayments. They should not account to more than 35-40% of your net monthly income. Otherwise, each month will be a struggle when such a large amount is saved aside for your mortgage. Use a mortgage affordability calculator online before agreeing on the price of your family-home-to-be and remember to be realistic!

Consider the facilities and accessibility

When looking for an ideal family home, it not only has to be within your price range, but it should be close to facilities that will come into your daily life. Weigh up the factors below and use them as a checklist when you view potential houses:

  • Facilities: Can you get to local shops in case of an emergency? What about a doctor’s practice, or a lovely park for those days when you really need to get outside? When you have children, you can’t risk being too far away from shops in case you need an emergency supply for food or essentials. The same has to be said about doctors, especially if you have very young children. Parks, restaurants, cinemas and supermarkets are also handy to have close-by.
  • Positioning: Ask yourself realistically how long it would take for your family and friends to visit you. When you have a family, it’s nice to be close to your own circle for when you need extra support. If your children are in school, assess how far away the house is from your work, and if the school can be on the same route. You’ll ideally want the school run and the drive to work to all be linked, so you don’t have to drive in different directions.
  • Schools: Speaking of schools, check that the local school is reputable, and if the potential house is within its catchment area.
  • Space to extend: There may always be that option to extend your family. If this is the case, make sure you have enough space in the new home to cater for this. If it looks fairly tight, is there the opportunity to extend?
  • Crime: A key factor to consider is the crime around your street and local area. Estate agents may not be so open about this, so do your own research.

Location is vital

It’s easy to get carried away with the beautiful exterior and interior of a new home, but the location should always be at the front of your mind. You can always improve the look of a house, but you can’t pick it up and move it to a better area.

The neighbourhood may reflect where your children will grow up, socialise and what they will class as ‘the norm.’ Do allow yourself to be picky with the location. The location can shape your children’s attitudes, expectations, and their future.

Overall, you’re looking for a ‘home’ and not just a ‘house.’ It should feel safe and homely, right from the moment you first view it. Of course, everyone has a different idea of ‘the perfect family home,’ but either way, the above factors should be taken into consideration before you view your potential property.

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