Tips on Buying Your First Family Home


There is a big difference between buying a condo in the downtown core with your partner and purchasing a family home after your first or second child is born. Of course some steps are similar but you will have different considerations on what makes the perfect purchase at this stage in your life. A family home is the place to raise your children so you want to take time to research before buying.

Educating yourself and having conversations with your partner in regards to what you both feel is essential in a family home is important. We all have different ways of seeing things and making sure you are on the same page is key. If the sunny Okanagan Valley interests you, the Penticton real estate market is a great place to begin your studies. Here are some things you should consider when purchasing your first family home.

  • Budget

Financial considerations should be at the top of your list when contemplating home ownership. If you already own a smaller place like a condo or townhouse factor this in as it will hopefully give you more money to work with. Figure out what you can comfortably afford and add up all expected expenses. Make a pact to not go above your bottom line no matter how much you like a potential property.

  • Location

Often when we think of buying a family home we think this means moving into the suburbs in order to get a bigger house with a bigger yard in a family neighbourhood. While for some people this is true this option does not suit everyone. There are many families who opt to instead buy a smaller space surrounded by amenities and good walkability. This is the time to do a little bit of soul searching.

  • Wants vs Needs

When buying a home there are must haves and then other things we want but are not deal breakers. Perhaps an extra bedroom for guests is essential or an office if you work from home but an ensuite bathroom or walk-in closet can be sacrificed. Do you need a large back yard if your home is surrounded by playgrounds and parks? Make a list of both and keep them in mind during your search.

  • Plan Ahead

If you only have one child now but are contemplating a second or third a house you can grow with means not having to move in the future because you have outgrown the home. If your husband works away or neither of you has time for serious yard work a property with a large yard may prove overwhelming. We do not always know the future but there are things we are working toward.

  • To Commute or Not to Commute

This is an age old consideration as there are pros and cons to each option. While this does go along with the location it is a deeper conversation than that as commuting can potentially eat up a lot of family time when you always find yourself on the road. If you work in the city make sure you add up the costs of commuting and decide whether it is the right choice for you and your family. If you have friends who commute talk to them first.

  • Parks and Outdoor Space

Are you a family that enjoys walking to playgrounds and watching your children make new friends or do you prefer to have a big backyard with a trampoline the neighbourhood kids can come play on? If having parks and outdoor space close to your home is important then narrow the search to communities that make this a priority. Some areas work to make outdoor spaces accessible and others do not.

  • Schools and Community Centres

As a parent your priorities are often focused more on amenities catering to children rather than singles or retirees. Finding a good school district with educational opportunities that suit your needs is key. It is also nice to have businesses and community centres offering classes to young children and teens. Having them close by cuts down on driving so if this is important to you factor this in.

  • Urban or Rural

Though city living may once have been ideal for you many people contemplate leaving the hustle and bustle behind in order to give their children the space to run. If you are considering this make a list of pros and cons and perhaps visit some smaller centres and ask families you run into what they love about it. If you have friends who have done it talk to them about both the good and the bad.

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