Your Property Essentials For The First Family Home

Starting a family is an incredibly exciting time full of firsts—many of them firsts you didn’t anticipate. Things like just how much stuff you’re going to have to start carrying every time you leave the house; things like how much space those tiny little clothes and adorable tiny shoes actually start to take up, and things like how much smaller your roomy apartment seems once the baby learns to run around in it.

A frugal single individual can get by in a bachelor suite or—for the luxuriously inclined—a small one-bedroom apartment. Rent’s not that cheap in Dallas: you have your microwave, the electric kettle, bigger-than-fits-the-room TV, a few landing places for last night’s outfit—and the night before that’s—and you’re good to go. Coupledom ups the ante! You save up and get that two-bedroom, because even though you share a bed, you know your stuff doesn’t just add up to twice as much when you add another person, it multiplies.

Then a kid comes along, and you realize that, if you ever learned the math for what’s about to happen, it erased itself from your brain at the end of high school. Sure, you might pull off a couple years with that precious child in your apartment, but the realization quickly dawns around the time their toys take over every room in the home, or their little brother or sister comes along: you need more space.

And not just more space, different space. Child-proof space. Space for messes and running around and sending the kids to different corners when there’s a fight. And suddenly you’re in the market for your first family home.

You’re going to look for space and if you really want a good start, get preapproved for a mortgage to start with. It’s a first home, so maybe not that much space. Maybe a nice rancher, with no dangerous stairs to bar with that baby-gate you never manage to pry open on the first try. Maybe that two-story with the great resale value and the yard that’s just big enough for the little ones to run off steam in, and just small enough not to take you all weekend to maintain.

Can you afford to stay in the city? Real estate’s cheaper outside of Houston . . . Should you go new-build, maybe get some custom layout or fittings put in? Or pick up a fixer-upper and flip it when the family grows, and you need more space? You’ve watched those HGTV shows where they make granny’s old place into a stunning dream home. You’ve been dreaming of integrated speakers and cutting the power cord by going solar . . . just think of all the money you’d save. And you’ll want to consider safety; can you manage a renovation with kids in the house? How many sharp edges will you need to cap off? How can there be that many outlets in one house? And why can your two-year-old get in that childproofed cupboard even though the latch defeats you nine times out of ten?

The reality is, property essentials for your first family home vary widely depending on your family’s needs. You might get away with a smaller space if neither parent is bothered by clutter, and you all enjoy spending most of your time outdoors. You’ll want to consider child safety, but there are a wide variety of aftermarket modifications available, from rubberized caps for pointy countertops at toddler head-height, to electrical plugs that you’ll never extract again, but neither will your two-year-old.

Older homes are often more affordable and offer intriguing possibilities for upgrading and flipping when the time comes, but there can be a lot of hidden costs to watch out for. If you’re worried about this a quantity surveyor can help understand to maintenance costs and even provide a tax depreciation schedule, to help maximise your tax return due to these maintenance costs. Was your home inspection thorough? How old are the appliances? Do you have enough of a financial buffer to weather that leak or replace the AC system when it fails in July?

When it comes down to it, the list of true essentials can get pretty simple: can you afford it? Does it have more rooms than where you’re at, and specifically, more bathrooms? Is it near daycare/family/school/babysitters?

And your choice of family home will be determined by your unique habits, the size and make-up of your growing family, available housing stock in your area, and your budget, there are a few logistical essentials that are common to all new homeowners. You need to plan for volatility, with a mortgage that takes into account market fluctuations. You need to get a quality home inspection done before purchasing. And you need to get homeowners insurance and a home warranty certified in Texas. A home warranty Texas policy can be adjusted to cover whatever your new family home offers, from appliances to essential systems, and even outdoor features.

Get the perfect first family home by considering your lifestyle, budget, and plans for growing the family. Then keep your investment safe and attainable with the right home warranty plan to save money and insure yourself against those little and not-so-little surprises that come with the joys of homeownership.