Real Estate Considerations for New Parents
For my clients who are parents, there are a number of obvious wants that fall high on their real estate wish lists, such as proximity to parks and schools. But looking for a Chicago home that fits the lifestyle of each individual family requires a few more considerations, many of which might be different from one property to the next.
Below are 12 important characteristics I encourage my clients who are parents to think about and determine how each might affect their housing decision:
Deciding on house versus townhome.
A couple with one or more children often turn their real estate search toward townhomes, due to the cost savings compared to a house. Many townhomes are also located in a community, which could be a great opportunity to live near other children for playdates, etc.
Finding the right school districts.
The cost of sending a child to private school is in the neighborhood of $25,000 per child, and many parents begin planning from the moment they know they are expecting. But an alternative to private school is purchasing a Chicago home that’s within a highly-rated school district. Some of the best schools in the city are neighborhood schools that enroll the children who simply live within the district—no private school tuition required.
Three bedrooms on the same floor.
Particularly important for clients with small children, many parents want to keep their bedroom and the children’s on the same level to make it easier to get up in the middle of the night for a diaper change, bottle, etc. This especially comes into play if a client is considering a townhome purchase, since these are more likely to be split between levels.
Considerations for condominium living.
Based on Chicago’s fair housing laws in Chicago, your realtor is not able to indicate the demographic makeup of a particular building. But if you are concerned about your children having friends within a Chicago condo building you’re considering, talk to someone with kids who lives there. They can give you a feel for how many other children around the same age live in the same building. You can also check out the building to see if there is a park or playground on site.
Home office space.
Many of my clients need the option to work from home, or primarily travel for work and don’t have a permanent space associated with their job. That makes is important to have a private space within the home that can be used to focus on work at any given time.
If either parent travels often, making an easy trip to the airport is key for convenience. How accessible they want the expressway to be or the time needed to get to the airport from home can quickly determine what location and neighborhoods would enable them to do so.
Purchasing a loft.
Lofts are usually purchased by first-time buyers who love the urban aesthetic and aren’t concerned about sound transmission from a surrounding neighbor. Most parents are looking for an environment that a child can sleep in a quiet place, so that’s an important consideration for parents who are looking at buying a loft for their home.
Parents living with parents.
Having parents or in-laws living under your roof is happening more often than not, and it’s important that potential homebuyers consider if they think they will need the space to accommodate their parents in coming years. A home or a townhome is ideal for this living situation, but other factors should be considered as well, like stairs (for mobility of senior parents), privacy (for both sets of parents) and bathroom facilities (ensuring they are easy to access and adaptable for senior safety if needed).
The need for nanny quarters.
Before purchasing a home, parents should decide if they plan to have a live-in nanny. If so, thought should be given to the home’s floorplan and how they will play into daily tasks, cooking facilities and living arrangements prior to hiring a careperson.
Child safety considerations.
Be sure to address any safety-related concerns you might have, whether that’s window openings in a high-rise building, child-proofing a staircase or even the potential for lead pipes in an older building.
Easy entry and exit.
If you’re toting a stroller everywhere you go, think about making coming and going from your home as easy as possible. That could mean an elevator building is preferred over a walk-up. Also consider how close you are to your parking spot and making sure you have enough space to park and get your children out of the car within the spot.
Whether you’re looking for a single-family home or a condominium, Chicago has plenty of parent-centric features among its real estate options. But it’s nuances like these that vary from property to property that are especially important to consider to ensure your new home fits right in with your lifestyle.
For more considerations or to discuss your options on the Chicago real estate market, contact Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.