Where to start when you are looking for a home that is best suited for your expanding family?
If you’re reading this, you likely have a new bundle of joy in your life or are making plans to grow your family. In either case, Congratulations!
You are embarking on an exciting journey, and as your family grows, your priorities change, and so will your housing needs. There are several important things to consider when beginning the search for your family’s new home.
Your timeline to purchase is a crucial consideration. How do you want your move to line up with your family changes? Some couples choose to buy a family home before they have children, while others wait until they feel the need to upsize. There is no right or wrong answer, but there certainly are pros and cons to both approaches.
Buying a home before having children can be advantageous as it allows you to get settled before becoming a new parent. It gives you space to grow into, allowing you to stay put for a while. If you give yourself enough time, you can even explore new developments. This means that you will have a say in the type of features and finishings you’d like to include. It also means you won’t face renovations or repairs. Additionally, if you already have a home to sell, you will have more time to do so, reducing pressure and potential stress. Lastly, the most obvious, buying before the kiddos arrive means you won’t be out searching, packing up, or unpacking, while you’re busy navigating parenthood. Moving can be physically and emotionally taxing, and as new parents, you may feel too exhausted to handle it.
Whereas if you are moved in, you can take full advantage of that pregnancy nesting instinct and get everything settled before your little bundle of joy arrives.
On the flip side, waiting until after your little one has already arrived, you’re likely to have a better idea of your needs and must-haves as you adjust to your new normal. For example, you may prefer to have all your bedrooms on the same floor so that you can hear your children at night. Or laundry on the second floor to make the endless onesie washing that little bit easier. A new routine juggling shopping, daycare, kids’ activities, and carving out more work-life balance, could also change the location you are considering. In addition, staying put gives you more time to save for your downpayment.
Ultimately, the timing of your home purchase depends on your unique circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You should do whatever is best for your family, but my advice is to decide ahead of time what that is.
Another important factor to consider is size. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough space to accommodate your growing family comfortably. And not just for baby number one, but perhaps future little brothers or sisters. Consider the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and the type of living areas you will need. Additionally, think about the size and safety of the outdoor space, especially if your growing family includes furry ones. Lack of storage is a big one my husband and I are currently facing in our existing home. Everyone told me that baby stuff takes up a lot of space, but I had no idea. Take it from me. You will need a lot more storage space than you think... and I mean a lot.
Understand what you can afford as early as possible in the search process. It will help avoid unnecessary disappointments. To get started, check out our mortgage calculator. Consider your income and savings, as well as your current and upcoming baby-related expenses. Factor in that buying a home comes with additional expenses, such as home inspection, closing costs, stamp duty, possible renovations, strata fees and running costs. If you will be getting financing for your new home, then I strongly recommend reaching out to the banks now. They can provide you with a letter of pre-approval so you know exactly what you are eligible for. Once you have a good sense of your budget, you can confidently explore properties that fit within your price range. My advice is always to leave yourself a buffer room in your budget. Financing can change, and unexpected life and baby-related expenses can occur. These things are huge stressors for anyone, but even more so when you are a sleep-deprived new parent. So do your future self a favour, and leave some wiggle room.
Location, location, location! We all want a brand-new home in a safe and convenient location with easy access to work and amenities such as childcare, schools, playgrounds, pools, the beach, and other kid-friendly activities. Not too much to ask, right? Let’s be realistic. You are likely going to have to be flexible on some of these items. Decide what the must-haves are, the non-negotiables. Then, narrow your search around those items. If you are new to Cayman or planning on relocating, check out Cayman Parent and our Explore Cayman website section, or better yet, book an island tour with us.
Slightly unrelated, a friendly reminder to plan ahead when it comes to childcare and schooling for your little ones. Be sure to get on waitlists as early as possible to increase your chances of securing a spot. Imagine moving to a specific location for proximity to a school, only to realize you’ve missed the boat on getting your kiddos in. As soon as you know you’re expecting or relocating with children, reach out to schools.
If you have young children, safety is a top priority. You may get lucky and find a home to purchase from another young family with childproof locks, safety gates and window guards in place. But again, let’s be realistic. More than likely, you will need to consider the installation costs of these baby-proofing features. Remember that budget buffer room I mentioned? When looking at potential homes, take note of things such as the stairs and windows, and sightlines to play areas, and remember to consider outdoor features such as a fenced yard or pool. For baby-proofing help in Cayman, I recommend The Baby Shoppe and for pool fencing contact Pool Patrol.
Upsizing for your growing family
It is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Trust me, as someone who has recently been through it, I get it. You are probably feeling rushed to read every baby book and make every choice, from strollers to sleep schedules and more. So while this is not real estate related at all, if you need some support in pregnancy and preparing for delivery, I can not recommend Ariel Grace Wellness and her prep-to-push course more. She kept this first-time mama sane!
A home really is so much more than four walls, so I hope this blog helps you navigate your growing family's needs. Please reach out if you have questions or need further recommendations. I am always happy to help. With the right mindset and plan in place, together we can find the perfect home for your expanding family—one where you can enjoy many happy memories for years to come.
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From property valuations to financing, and purchase offers, buying a home can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Island living, it’s literally what we do for a living.