When shopping for a family home, you need to pay attention to more than just the school district. It can be easy to fall in love with a house that works perfectly for you today. The key to long-term house happiness, though, is to also make sure you will continue to love the house as the years pass and your family changes and evolves.
#1: Where is the master bedroom located?
A master bedroom tucked away by itself may seem to offer privacy, but it can be a pain when your kids are young, and you need to quickly go help them in the middle of the night. Yet, a master placed right next to a child's room offers no privacy, and you may find yourself wishing for a different configuration as the kids get older. The best option is to look for a happy medium.
A home with a master bedroom and at least one other bedroom on the same floor can keep you nearby but look for a design that puts space between the two rooms. This could be done with a bathroom, closet, or another type of space. Avoid homes where the master is in a different wing or on a different floor than all the other rooms if you will be living with young children at any point.
#2: Is there at least one full bath outside of the master?
Some homes only have a full bath -- with shower, bathtub, sink, and toilet, in the master bedroom. The other bathrooms may only have a toilet, or they may be three-quarter baths with a shower but no tub. You don't want to have to parade the kids through the master bedroom and into the master bath every bathtime. It's best to only consider homes that have a full family or guest bath outside of the master to make life with kids easier.
#3: How is outdoor accessibility?
Grocery shopping with kids is hard enough. Now imagine wrestling groceries, cranky kids, and infant carriers or strollers through the rain from the car in the detached garage and up the half flight of stairs to the elevated front porch. Even worse, imagine all this with a split level, which means another set of stairs inside to maneuver to get to the kitchen to put everything away. When you have kids, easy access is a must. An attached garage with entry and kitchen on the same floor will make life much easier.
For more help, contact a real estate broker in your area.