Things for New or Expecting Parents to Consider when Buying a New Home


Buying a new home is exciting. Especially for new or expecting parents. Many new or expecting parents base a potential home purchase on things like the number of rooms, bathrooms and area/neighborhood. While these are important things, many parents with older children have a much different view on what’s important.

My daughters are now 8 and 10 yrs old. While I love our home, there are many things about it that would have made me think twice about buying it, if I knew then what I know now. What kids do when they’re 8 and 10 is very different from what they did at 3 and 5 yrs old. For any new or expecting parent that’s about to start looking to buy a new home, I’ll include my suggestions and opinions below. Some of these may seem silly for new parents, but trust me, they matter. I’ll also include some general tips and suggestions that deal with safety in and around a new potential home purchase.

This list is not intended to be a comprehensive checklist. I invite other parents with older children to add to it… what tips and suggestions can you add to this list? Share your opinion and help other new or expecting parents.

  • Try to avoid having a door to the backyard in the main living area. It may seem like a good idea, but as your children grow, that door will get used more than a door at a shopping mall. Open, close, open, close.. and on and on. Most of the time getting slammed since kids can’t shut a door quietly. If this door is in your main family room or living area, forget trying to relax during the day.
  • If possible, have a home with two living areas or a separate game-room/TV room. I know in many areas of the country having extra space like this is not possible because of the cost of homes. However, if it is possible in your situation, try having this extra space for you and your spouse to relax. Your kids will take over one area, leaving you with another room to relax in. Try to get a home where this extra space is separated by a wall or two, so your kids loudness and playing doesn’t make it’s way into the separate area.
  • If you’re considering a two story home, try to get all the bedrooms on one level. This is really a matter of personal preference, but one that I feel is important. It keeps your kids at a safe distance and lets you react faster if they need you. For example, if they have a bad dream. It’s nice to not have to walk up or down the stairs to comfort them. On the flip side though, you’ll probably want some space between the rooms when your children are older. My preference is all the bedrooms on the same level, but the master being separated from the children’s room by a quest room that isn’t occupied very often.
  • If possible, purchase a home with a long driveway. A driveway is a much safer place to play than the street.
  • Avoid home on busy streets, corner lots and back streets. Kids don’t think about safety when they play. They don’t think about cars coming down the street. Avoid busy main streets and you’ll remove a potential danger. Corner lots pose a danger from dangerous, drunk or bad drivers missing the corner. Back streets can sometimes back up to forest or vacant land. Don’t give your kids the chance to wonder off or play with the snake or animal coming from the vacant lot.
  • Think twice about a home with a pool. Pools are wonderful to have, but for the parents with a baby or young child they can be deadly. Consider a neighborhood that has a community pool and not a pool in the backyard. It gives you control on when they go swimming and as a bonus you and your kids will benefit socially by meeting other neighbors. If do you buy a home with a pool, make sure all the latest up to date safety equipment is in place in and around the pool (fence, gates, locks, alarms, etc.).
  • Peek over the fence at who your neighbors may be. How do they keep their yard, pool, etc. Do they have dogs. Do the dogs look aggressive or dangerous. Is their pool properly protected with fencing and locked gates?
  • Does the home you’re looking at have safe playground equipment? Is the equipment anchored correctly with the proper cushioning around the swings, etc? If you don’t think it safe or needs attention, try to get this worked in so the current owner fixes it on their dime.
  • Do the windows of the home have good locks or guards? If they don’t, try to get the current owner to fix this.
  • Does the home have stairs? Stairs are like a magnet for babies and young children. If the home you’re looking at has stairs, look closely to make sure the proper safety gates can be installed after you buy the home.
  • Do all the electrical outlets near the sinks and wet areas have ground fault circuit interrupter’s (GFCI’s) in place?
  • Does every room have a smoke detector? Are carbon monoxide detectors in place? Try to get the current owner to cover this if you sign a contract to purchase the home.

When you’re looking around at homes for your family, try to think back when you were young. What kind of trouble did you get into to around the home. Think like a kid when you’re looking around and you may find some hidden dangers or problems in the home you’re considering buying. You probably won’t catch everything, but with some thought you’ll greatly increase the likelihood that the home you purchase will be an enjoyable and safe place for you, your spouse and children.

Do you have any tips for new parents? Share them below in a comment.