After years of saving you have finally got enough together to put down a deposit on the house of your dreams. The only thing is, you haven’t found it yet. Or you have found it, and you don’t actually realise that your dream home won’t be so dreamy once you look past the aesthetics and into the practicalities of running a household with little scampering feet.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to point out some of the must-have facets of the perfect family home.
That cosy looking cottage with the thatched roof in the Cotswolds may look dreamy, but will you still be thinking that when you realise that the kitchen is about as big as an under-the-stairs cupboard? If you have a family, you aren’t in complete control of every item in the house. You might think that your OCD will have something to say about that, but you will be fighting an endlessly futile battle if you think you can keep a house clean if you simply have no room to put an inexplicable amount of stuff.
Space allows you room to move, room to put stuff away, room to keep out of each other’s way. We all want to imagine we’ll be super happy all of the time, but the truth is, sometimes we need our own space – and that is a good thing. You’ll need space for toys, space for playing, space for cooking and cleaning, space for clothes, space for comfy bed and space to relax – don’t try and cram your life into too small a space, or you’ll be living on top of each other.
That isn’t to say you need a mansion – you need to be able to maintain your property – too many rooms and too much space will be too much work.
2. A Garden
Got kids? You’re going to want a garden. Whether you like to dabble in the garden or not, there is a need for children to play outside – and honestly, if you don’t like gardening, they really couldn’t care less about what that space looks like.
A garden, quite simply, gives children a space to play. And unfortunately it is becoming less feasible for children to go out and play in the street these days – with increasing traffic and other concerns always playing on our minds, you have a choice of keeping them indoors or getting a garden. Most children won’t mind playing on their computers all day – but some will like to play in the grass, and so they should.
On top of that, where are you going to have your BBQs with friends and family if not in the garden?
3. A Spare Room
A spare room can help you out in a lot of ways. It can be used as an office, as a spare bedroom for friends and family to stay in and, if the unexpected happens, it could function as another bedroom for another baby.
This sort of refers to space, it is always good to have a little extra, because every birthday and Christmas and even the times in between, things will be moving into the house right under your nose and you’ll end up wondering where it has all come from. A spare room upstairs as a bedroom, a dining room or office down stairs, a few extra cupboards they all come in handy. Even if it is just to lock yourself away to count to ten.
4. Car Space
If you have a car and your partner has a car, you’re going to need somewhere to park them. Then, when your child eventually learns to drive and stops using you as a taxi, they’re going to want a car too. And as much as you might hope they would have moved out by that point, you’ll find that they will likely hang around a bit longer.
So whether it is a driveway or a garage (garages are excellent for keeping more of that tundra of stuff), you are going to need somewhere to put your cars. A big drive means more space for more cars and better, safer parking for parties and gatherings, whilst a garage provides your car with greater safety against crime and the elements.
5. The Kitchen and Bathroom
So, finally, I’m bundling these two rooms in together. The Kitchen and Bathroom are often cited as the most important rooms in the house, and, according to industry professionals, these are the rooms that will sell a house. A nice bathroom might not seem quite as important as it is – as long as it is functioning and clean you like to think it will do, but a nice bathroom makes all the difference.
A kitchen on the other hand is an obvious choice. Kitchens are a potential social hub at gatherings and for family dinners, they need to be functional and good looking. A good kitchen is the heart of the home.
So in summary – you need lots of space for your stuff, lots of space to play, and lots of space to cook and entertain. The most important thing though, is that you feel comfortable and at one with your home – it needs to be the right choice for you. Just be sure to look for practical reasons to be there, as well as aesthetic.
Michael Low is the Director of one of Essex’s leading estate and letting agents – Balgores Low based in Chelmsford.