When my husband and I decided to move out of our 2 bedroom townhome and purchase a single family home, the thought of starting a family was definitely on our minds. Although we thought we knew what we were looking for, lack of parenting experience did not prepare us to pick out the most ideal layout and street location of home.
We chose a fabulous house in a great neighborhood with great schools. But shrugging off the fact that the street was a tad too busy, and there were three sets of stairs and no bathroom on the main level was our mistake. If I had known that those little inconveniences would still bother me 5 years later, our home search would have played out differently.
My advice when looking for a home: Follow your heart, BUT also think about how your lifestyle will change when and if you decide to grow your family. Really look at the what works for your friends and family members and ask them what they like about their homes and what they would change. And remember, everyone is different, so what bothers someone else may not be an issue to you.
1. School district – Research your options. Visit the State Board of Education: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/school_info1.htm
Also look at your private school options as well.
2. Location – Walk the neighborhood. Check out the location of parks, bike paths, and proximity to work & school, libraries, and shopping.
3. Street – Would you feel safe to let your kids play in the front yard? Visit during rush hour or school dismissal to get a feel for the flow of traffic.
4. Layout of house – Are there enough bedrooms and adequate storage throughout? Are the stairs manageable? If your bedrooms are upstairs, do you have to trapse down three levels to wash clothes? Is there a bathroom on the main level? Is there room to expand if needed?
Prioritize what is really important to you, and understand that you may need to compromise. It is often difficult to find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood in the perfect price range. But, listen to the nagging doubts in the back of your mind. If they are there now, they likely will not go away.
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Century 21 1st Class Homes