Our kids become our life, and we want to give them a world of opportunities, safety and love. But some parents are making big mistakes when buying a home based on their children or future children.
They want to give them everything from a big house to a big yard to best schools. But those decisions now can put some people in financial and emotional straits later on, says Gary Kelley, realtor with RE/MAX Executive Realty in Marlborough, Mass.
Here are some of the things to think about not doing when it comes to your kids and choosing a house:
Letting children choose the house
It’s nice to involve children in the home touring, but Kelley warns parents not to have their kids do the selection.
“Kids have a very different thought process of what is important. Kids may like the big back yard or think it will be great to have a baseball field next to the house,” he says.
Some people may like to have that. They have the romantic thoughts such as Kevin Costner coming out of the corn field like “Field of Dreams.” But the lighting and noise all the time could be a negative part of moving to this location.
Choosing too large home right away
Kelley had clients who wanted a big house. They didn’t even have children yet.
“I always tell them that you never know what your family might look like in the future,” he says.
He believes that buying something smaller, building equity and then moving when you know more about what you may need could be a better suit for most people.
Buying too expensive too quickly
A bigger house in the best neighborhood can mean a big price tag. For young families, that can be a burden financially. Kelley suggests buying something that won’t make them house poor right off the bat.
“They can build equity in that house, and then have a big enough down payment for something larger down the road in their specific area,” he says.
Choosing a home with a pool or swing set for the kids
This could be a great thing for family time together and exercising, but parents should be aware that their homeowner’s insurance will be higher with a pool, plus the cost of chemicals and supplies can be significant.
Also, if you don’t want to be the summer hangout for all neighborhood kids, you might want to consider buying a house without a pool and buying a summer membership at the city pool.
As for that mammoth swing set, Kelley tells his clients that they can buy a fancy, high-end set for $3,000 if that’s the difference from buying one house or another less expensive one.
Narrowing it down to one neighborhood because of the schools
Where Kelley lives, people constantly want to buy a house in Westborough because it has a commuter rail to Boston and great schools, he says.
If someone can’t afford that town, he suggests Southborough, one town over. It has a different school district, but still remains a good one. The homes can be pricey, too.
But one town away sits Northborough with much less expensive housing. However, it doesn’t have a commuter rail like the other two towns.
“However, it shares the high school with Southborough. The kids get the same education,” he says. “You have to keep your eye on the whole picture.”
Plus, Kelley has seen where people buy a house in a specific area because of the schools. Then the schools go through a redistricting. You live in the same house, but your kids are going to a different school.
Thinking it’s the forever home
Many of Kelley’s home buyers tell him they want their forever home. They want to stay there to raise their kids and then age there gracefully. Well, statistics say a different story.
Most people move every nine, according to the National Association of REALTORS 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report.
“If someone is buying a house and is a first-time homebuyer plus they don’t have children yet, I don’t think this will be their forever home. I tell them to look at the first home as an investment, then they can move on,” he explains.