My wife and I have 3 young children, ages 1 to 4, and we’re about to buy our first home. Up until now, we’ve lived in an apartment. What things should we take into consideration when looking at houses in teh Charlotte area?
Dear Marty –
You’re wise to take advantage of buying a home now. Not only is it one of the best times ever to purchase, between the lower housing costs and mortgage rates, but you should be able to take advantage of the stimulus package giving you up to 10% (to a maximum of $8000) if you purchase before December 1st. (Be sure to read my post about How the Stimulus Package Can Help You Purchase Your First Home from 4/16).
Some of the issues you’ll want to watch for include:
· The quality of the schools - once you’ve located your dream house--or some good prospects, you can look up school reports on my website. While looking at reports is a good place to start, you’ll also want to visit the school and talk to the administrators, teachers and local parents before making any final decisions.
· What is the neighborhood like? Are there children the age of yours around, or is it a community where there are much older children or mostly senior citizens?
· Are the neighbors out and about, or do they stay inside? Many families with young children look for a social aspect to their neighborhood.
· Are there parks nearby for play?
· How is the yard set up? Does it offer sufficient outdoor play area? Could it accommodate a swing set and a game of softball, kickball or badminton?
· Is it on a quiet street with low traffic? If not, will you need to put up a fence until the children are older?
· Is it free from child hazards, such as streams, ponds, dangerous fences, etc.?
· Inside, are there banisters and railings on all staircases?
· Are there multiple levels that could be dangerous for toddlers? If so, is it possible to put up a gate?
Moving from an apartment into your own home will be on of the most rewarding experiences for you and your family. I wish you the best of luck. If I can be of assistance in helping you find your dream home, please call me at 704-564-0807.