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What to look for when buying your new family home

Sep 27, 2023
What to look for when buying your new family home
What makes the ideal family home? From the local area to potential extensions, there’s so much to consider before making your move.

To help make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of things you might wish to think about when looking for a new family home. Remember to take into account your family circumstances, your lifestyle and any potential changes on the horizon when scouring the market.

All of these factors should help you make the right decision for your family, ensuring you buy a new home that serves your needs well for years to come.

1. Decide on a budget

You might be asking yourself ‘how can I afford to buy a new family home’? The good news is that there is plenty of financial guidance and information out there to help you decide if a new home is affordable for your family right now.

Online tools such as mortgage calculators can give you a rough idea of how much you may be able to borrow, and how much monthly repayments might cost you. But bear in mind that these tools only offer a guide – it’s worth speaking to a mortgage adviser for a more realistic idea of offers open to you. Remember, if you’re able to save a larger deposit of 15% or 20%, you may unlock more favourable rates.

As well as mortgage payments, there are other costs to keep in mind when buying a new family home. Remember to budget carefully for things like conveyancing fees, insurance, removal companies, cleaning, maintenance and setting up utilities and broadband. There may also be costs associated with your new home, such as ground rent or service charges.


2. Think about your family lifestyle

There are lots of factors that go into choosing your new family home, but it’s important you take your family’s lifestyle into account. Consider how many bedrooms you need (or may need in the future), whether or not a large garden is a priority, or if you need a home office.
All of these factors are probably already front of mind, but it’s worth thinking through your current home and carefully assessing what does and doesn’t work for your family. This should help you plan a move to a new home that fits your family’s lifestyle perfectly.

3. Choose the right location

You perhaps already have an idea of where you want to look for your new family home, particularly if you’re planning to stay local to where you’re living now. If you’re looking further afield, however, here are a few things you might want to consider.

If you have school-age children or you’re planning to start a family, it’s worth buying a new home within catchment of the best local schools. The easiest way to check is by visiting property or council websites and using their tools to tell you which schools are nearby. You’ll also find the latest Ofsted ratings.

Beyond schools, you might also want to check on the general facilities available in the local area. Older children and teens will appreciate sports clubs, swimming pools and leisure facilities, while convenient access to supermarkets and shopping areas will also make family life easier and more enjoyable.

You’ll also want to consider transport links, particularly if you’re regularly commuting to work or travelling to see family and friends.


4. Space, size and safety

When moving to a new family home, it’s important to make sure it’s big enough for your family’s needs. Think about things like the number of bedrooms you’ll need, or if you’ll want a guest bedroom. If you work from home, you might want to look for somewhere with a home office.

You’ll also want to make sure there’s plenty of space for parking. If you drive an electric car, look for a driveaway and home charging facilities. In the garden, make sure there’s space for any play equipment your children have, and see if there’s space in a shed or outbuilding to store it during the winter.

Finally, when looking for a new home, it’s worth thinking about safety. If you have young children, look to see how busy the roads are, or if you’ll need to add gates or fences. Is there a neighbourhood watch scheme in the area? Before you consider making an offer on a property, examine every safety angle you can, including whether the property comes with quality locks, doors, windows or fitted alarms.

5. Room to grow

Whether you’re thinking of growing your family, or just want to enjoy extra space, it’s worth considering how your new home could develop as your circumstances change.

You may wish to think about an extension. Getting planning permission can be a lengthy and complicated process, so any existing permission should be looked upon favourably. Think about how you’d make a potential extension work for your family, or if you could extend in a way to add value in the future.

A simpler solution is looking for a home with large, open-plan spaces that support flexible living. Buying a brand-new home means you’ll have a property designed for modern lifestyles – and you’ll know that it will come with highly-efficient insulation and glazing, meaning you’ll be able to save money thanks to cheaper bills.


Final tips for finding a new family home

When searching for a new home, there are lots of factors to consider. This guide should hopefully have given you some ideas for the most important things to look for in a new home.

Of course, every family is different, so this list won’t contain everything that matters to you. But remember, when choosing your family home, carefully consider budget, lifestyle, location, space and size and potential growth. All of these factors should help you decide where to start the next chapter for your family.