House hunting? Here’s how to figure out what you want

Tips for house hunting with children

I’m excited to share this blog post about house hunting with you. I had my own crazy journey with house hunting that ended up in a nine-year wait to sell my home. I recently connected with Charlotte Walker of HomeSafetyHub.com who has some great wisdom and advice for house hunting with a family. She wrote the following post. Charlotte has been passionate about safety her whole life. Ever since she became a homeowner, she began directing that passion through her work with HomeSafetyHub.org.

No matter the style of home you’re pining over, chances are you want what most families want in a new home: a place that seems like it was built for your family. The thing is, finding the perfect home requires a lot of time, energy, and preparation.

You must determine what you can pay for a new home, see what the housing market has to offer, recognize specific features you need and much more. If you’re house hunting, we’ve got some practical information and advice on determining the best type of home for your family!

The budget   

Before you get too deep into house hunting, it’s essential to know where you stand financially. After all, you don’t want to locate the perfect-looking home only to realize you can’t afford it down the road.

Sift through your expenses and income, and factor in what you made (or hope to make) from the home sale. A straightforward way to figure out how much you can afford is to use an online mortgage calculator.

Of course, the number you calculate is only an estimate; what matters is how much the lender determines you can realistically pay on the house each month. And to figure out that number, lenders calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

You can get an idea of your DTI by taking the sum of your current debt obligations each month and dividing them by your monthly gross income. If you think it would allow your family more time to adjust, consider renting a house or an apartment. This could relieve stress and give you more time to tackle debt and save for a down payment.

The city and neighborhood

Once you figure out what type of home you can afford, start researching locations. It matters what city and neighborhood you live in, and you will want to find one that will accommodate the needs and preferences of everyone in your family.

Are you hoping to escape to the center-city life? Would you like to have neighbors or live in a remote area? How important is it that your family has fast access to restaurants, gyms, school, work and other necessities?

Also, research the crime rates and safety ratings in any neighborhood you consider. And if possible when house hunting, visit your potential location in person to get a feel for the neighbors and overall environment.

The features

When it comes to the actual property you purchase, you want it to be as close to your dream home as possible (within your budget, of course). It needs to have all of the essential features to keep your family comfortable and happy.

Make a list of your needs and wants; you must cover your bases, and you should find a home that provides some of your preferences. For example, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the floor plan must accommodate your daily activities and lifestyle. And it won’t hurt to look for extra features (e.g., a recently renovated kitchen, a two-car garage, a spare bedroom, etc.).

The transition

Once you have found your family’s dream home, it’s time to prepare for the transition. Moving can be challenging with kids, but remember one thing: you must keep them occupied. The more you can include your children, the happier they will be, and the less stressful the move.

Find age-appropriate tasks and chores that your kids can help with during the moving process. Also, unpack and organize their bedrooms when you first arrive in the new home so they have somewhere comfortable to hang out and sleep. Moreover, plan some fun family outings to some of the local restaurants, museums and activity centers so that your family can get to know your new city and settle in quickly.

When searching for the right home to start the next chapter with your family, you have a lot to think about. However, if you implement the tips above, you can relieve stress and lay a firm foundation for a smooth process. Just remember to consider the needs of everyone in your family each step of the way as you choose the ideal home in the perfect location.

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House hunting? Here\'s how to figure out what you wantHouse hunting? Here\'s how to figure out what you want