As you will know if you have seen my posts over on Instagram or you spotted my recent post about the big changes we have coming this year, we are in the process of looking for a new house. We are currently in rented accommodation and have found it to be an interesting experience to think about the type of home we want to live in for a prolonged amount of time.
The thing about rented houses is that they are only ever temporary so if something isn’t quite to your liking, or the room layouts don’t quite work, then it doesn’t matter so much. But when it comes to buying a house; it’s pretty much a whole new ball game.
The fact that we are looking for a family home at the same time means that we have a certain checklist of things we are looking for, things we are not willing to compromise on, which just makes the whole thing that little bit trickier!
School Catchment Areas
This is a huge one and not just for primary schools but for secondary schools as well. We live in a part of the North West which doesn’t have that many secondary schools so ensuring we are in the catchment area for a good one is really important, even though Meg is still 3 years away from applying. Whilst school reputations and OFSTED reports can change over the years, we have always opted for schools which are consistently good and which we get a good feel about when we visit them. In fact, the school we are hoping to move the kids to in September didn’t achieve outstanding as one of the other ones we visited did, but we got a much better vibe when we visited than from any other primary school in the area.
This one is down to personal preference as there is nothing wrong with buying a house which fronts onto a main road but it is worth taking into consideration: do you want your kids to be able to play out with their friends? Will they be walking themselves to school? What roads will they need to cross to get there? If your child is at the right age for walking themselves to school then it’s a good idea to walk the route from any potential house and have a look at how safe the streets are, how busy traffic is and so on.
Children grow and as they do, they begin to need their own space. If you are looking to move to a more suitable family home then consider whether there is enough space to accommodate you all as your children become teenagers and then young adults. For example, Eli currently has one of the smallest rooms in our house which has been fine for him up until now as he’s only five but when he is pushing fifteen, a box room really isn’t going to be big enough for him. Don’t just judge a house based on your family as it is now but consider the long term implications too.
Gardens are a vital part of any family home; I work from home and being able to send the kids outside into a safe space to play during the school holidays is about the only thing which allows me to work and be at home with the kids at the same time (and retain my sanity!). It’s also key to consider if you are looking at houses which don’t have an area out front for children to play with friends and neighbours. If your preferred new house doesn’t have a garden then make sure you look at how far away the nearest park and playground are; for us where we are currently, we have to drive to our local park which isn’t an ideal situation long term.
Visit At Different Times
Make sure you visit any potential house a number of times to really get a feel for the street and the area especially if you aren’t familiar with the neighbourhood. Are there lots of kids about in the late afternoon? What is the street like in the evening? You should be able to gather whether there are families around or the type of people who are living in the surrounding houses just from visiting at different times of day and taking a look.
I am sure I will keep you all posted on how we get on looking for a new home but do let me know if you have any top tips when it comes to looking for the perfect family home as well!
*This is a collaborative post