Welcome to guest blog poster, Britt Heath. Britt is a long time Stroller Strides client who lives in Bellevue with her husband Stuart and her two daughters Tamryn and Morgan. She is also a full-time real estate agent in the area, working with her husband at Bellmark Real Estate doing an amazing job balancing motherhood and her career. Thank you for contributing Britt, you are wise and helpful!
New Moms and New Houses -How do they go together?
Looking for a new home for your family can be an exciting adventure for some people and an excruciating ordeal for others. Wherever you fall on this spectrum make sure you keep in mind how your family will actually live in this space. Don’t be distracted by the great staging or put-off by the peeling paint. Your own stuff will go in this home and more importantly your kids will be in this home. New mom or not, does the house work for YOUR family? Does it work right now or will it in the next few years as your children’s needs and abilities change?
Here are six things to think about as a mom when purchasing a new home:
1)Visibility of the Play Area
If you are looking for a home with an outside play area; be mindful of where your kids will play and where it is in relationship to where you will be most of the time. A big yard or great play structure is wonderful, but if you cannot see your little ones then it can cause more anxiety than it reduces.
Just off the kitchen or family room is usually the best place for kids to be when they are first gaining the independence of playing “by themselves” outside. Further out and “private” areas may be just perfect for older kids.
2)Point of Entry and where will all the kids’ stuff go
When you look at a home for sale you usually go in the front door, but when you live in a house you usually go in the side or garage door.
Try to envision yourself coming in from the car when it is raining, hands full of kids and purchases. How do you get in the house? Where will your kids go when they get in the house? Where will the other things in your hands go?
Lots of stairs and a narrow hallway are not the best for the crazy mob that needs to get inside quickly. If your children are older they will have wet boots and dirty sport clothes that will need a place to go. On the other hand, lots of stairs can help you get in those extra “stair climbers” you are looking to achieve.
3)Inside play area
It rains here. Your kids have a lot of stuff. You need an inside play area of some kind; be that the middle of the living room or totally separate area somewhere in the house. What are the options for a play space in the homes you are looking at? Do you want a separate space? Can you see your little ones from the kitchen or laundry room? Is that the best place for how you live? If you do have a separate space does it need to have other uses as well? Can it be childproofed?
4)Home office location
Some mom’s need to or will chose to “work from home.” While looking at homes for your family, keep in mind your current or future need to have some type of office space. Does this area need to be separate from the kid’s areas or can it be combined with the space where they hang out or play? How much concentration do you need to maintain for your work? If your child “helps” you by filling out some paperwork while you went go to get a drink of water, would that be really bad? Is it possible for you to be productive while watching your children?
When it comes to bedroom locations your family’s lifestyle will help you decide what type of home layout works for you. If you plan on having a family bed for several years, then a master bedroom on a different level that the remaining bedrooms can work. But for some families there could be even less sleep than normal if the kids bedrooms are downstairs and the master bedroom is upstairs or vis a versa. Think about thing such as security, getting to your kids in the middle of the night, etc.
A nursery can also be tucked into a small space for a short time as well and need not be a bedroom that will work later for a toddler or pre-school age child. Large closets and sitting areas have been turned into fantastic nurseries while baby needs to be in the immediate vicinity of mom and dad.
It is something you might fear after watching the news or have a bad dream about and then the idea of finding out about sex offenders gets pushed aside by other more immediate concerns. However, this is something that you should find out about sooner than later and sex offenders can live in ANY kind of neighborhood.
Most Cities and Counties Police Departments have a map of registered sex offenders located in their jurisdiction and it can be found on their website or upon request. Whether you are moving or not you should find out about sex offenders in your area.
When looking at a great house you may be “wow”ed by the features or the view, but don’t let these things distract you from what will really make the house a home for you and your family. We all know that price, location and many other things are important when purchasing a new home – and new moms have some additional needs. Take the six items listed above and when you tour a home try to make note of what works and what does not for your family. As you move forward it will be easier to make a great decision for your and your family. After all that is what our jobs are as moms – doing our best to make good decisions for our families.
Happy House Hunting!