Buying your first family home is a big task, because there are many different features that you could prioritize in your search. Here are some of the things to make sure you have in balance with any homes for sale that you look at.
While no location is perfect, there are many things to consider in your family home's location. First of all, there is the compromise between cost and location. If you get a place that is in a less coveted location, it leaves more of your budget to spend on more space and better amenities. But being in the perfect location can make a big difference to your daily well being. If your location streamlines your commute to school and/or work, that saves you a lot of time. And if you haven't discovered it already, time is often at a premium for a growing family.
Besides looking at your home's placement, do some scouting on your neighborhood. Crime rates and walkability are good factors to look at. But also consider what amenities your neighborhood might offer to you and your children as they age. What kinds of community centers, coffee shops, libraries, parks, and other features are nearby?
The perfect size is hard to pinpoint if you aren't yet sure how big your family will be. But it's a good idea to discuss with your partner an ideal family size. Also, will the kids share rooms or does everyone get their own room? Finally, decide whether you have it in your budget to spring for a spare room. That could be useful for additional family members, guests, or even to rent as a spare room if you one day find yourself strapped for cash.
There is a lot of functionality added by a good layout. Consider one simple issue: bathrooms. The more people that have to share a bathroom, the bigger bottleneck there can be when getting ready in the morning. Kitchens must also be functional. If you plan to have multiple people helping with cooking and kitchen chores, the space needs to be open. Basically, consider the logistics of how you and your family will go about daily activities and see if the home you're looking at can accommodate them.
Room to Grow
Finally, you might want to keep in mind whether the home has the potential to grow. Are you taking up your entire lot? That doesn't leave much space for an addition. If you might want to add a basketball court or pool one day, make sure the space is ready for it.