With the average starter home costing more than $219,000, young couples must make the right decision. That goes double for parents who must consider not just what’s right for themselves but also what’s right for their children. Whether you’re already a proud parent or you want to start a family, consider the following points when selecting your dream home.

1. Is It Big Enough for Your Family?

Feeling comfortable in your new home is key, so choosing a home that’s large enough for your family is essential. Consider the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the amount of space in each property. Are your children content sharing a room, or will you need a separate one for each? Your answer will dictate the number of rooms required. Large families will also need larger kitchens and dining rooms than families with just one child.

Consider storage space and the layout of each room. Large items of furniture such as beds and dressers take up a lot of space. Your rooms must be large enough to hold them with some walk-around room.

2. Is the Home Right for the Future?

Most people buy homes planning to settle down for several years to come. That’s why your home shouldn’t just be large enough for your family now, but it should be big enough for your brood in the future.

Is your family likely to change in size at all? If you are planning more children or think elderly relatives may move in, make sure you consider their requirements. Buying a home now with a spare room may help you avoid a costly, stressful move later.

3. What Is the Floor Plan Like?

A good family home matches your family’s lifestyle. Consider the best layout for your family and make sure your new home measures up. For example, if you have a new baby or young children, you may like a master bedroom with extra bedrooms nearby. If your children are teenagers, you may prefer to put some distance between the bedrooms so they can enjoy some independence and privacy.

4. Does It Have the Right Amenities?

It also takes the right amenities to make a home feel comfortable. Make a list of must-have amenities and what would be nice to have. Then set about finding a home that meets your criteria.

A large backyard with room for children to play is often an essential amenity for parents. If your children love swimming, you may prefer a homes with a pool, especially if you don’t have a public pool or beaches nearby. You may also like a home with a den or playroom, especially during wet weather.

If your children are small, your home should be easily baby-proofed. Homes with stairs and water features may be out of the question until your little ones grow.

Internet is another important modern consideration for families. Most households will want internet that’s fast enough for streaming content from multiple devices. However, there are some areas in every U.S. state that don’t have broadband internet. Some regions don’t have any internet at all. Research local internet options to make sure they will be acceptable for your family.

5. Is the Neighborhood Right?

Your home is your sanctuary, but you should think beyond your four walls to make the right decision. Your whole neighborhood should feel right for you and your family, not just your house. Is the home accessible to your children’s schools or public transport options? Will you and your partner have an easy commute to work? Are there grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other facilities close by? Think about what matters most to you and whether your new neighborhood can deliver it.

Also, consider the area immediately around your house and how it will fit in with your lifestyle. If your children love riding their bikes and playing street hockey, you may prefer a home in a quiet cul-de-sac or a suburban area with little traffic. Typically, this means you’ll drive farther to stores and other facilities, but if safety matters, it could be worth the compromise.

(Fortunately, if you’re choosing us for your next home purchase, you’ll find a diversity of neighborhoods and subdivisions from which to choose—meaning you won’t have to compromise; you can have your cake and eat it too.)

We should also add that you’ll want to assess crime statistics in your local area. If you know your area is relatively safe, you’ll feel more confident letting your children play outdoors. AreaVibes.com is a great resource that gives each city a letter grade rating, then breaks that down into crime statistics.

6. Are the Local Schools Good?

Safe neighborhoods usually have good quality schools, but this doesn’t always hold true. A good quality school will help your children achieve their academic potential. Some neighborhoods may also have schools that suit your child better, such as schools known for their sports or arts programs. If your children are gifted in particular areas, you may want to find a home that’s near a school that will nurture their talents. Research school districts in the areas you’re interested in and make sure you’re clear on the district boundaries. Greatschools.org is an excellent resource for this information.

Close proximity to a college or a university can be helpful, too, as institutions of higher education are hotbeds for intellectual stimulation. With guest speakers, summer camps and programs, and some facilities accessible to the public, colleges and universities support communities worth researching further. (Elsewhere, we’ve explored a few noteworthy Indiana college towns. Take a peek to learn more.)

7. Do Your Children Love It?

Parents Enjoying Lunchtime Meal with Daughter in Clean Kitchen

Your children could live in this home until they leave for college or even longer, so it’s important that they love it, too. Involve your children in the home buying process to make sure they feel included. If your kids are enthusiastic about the changes ahead, the move will be a lot less stressful for your whole family.

Ask them about the features that matter to them and take them under advisement. Kids can get bored traveling from open house to open house, so wait until you have few serious contenders before taking them to properties. Their opinions could help you make up your mind. Stop for a meal or grocery run after your viewings so the kids get a feel for their potential new neighborhood. This can make transitioning to your new life less challenging.

Whether it’s their first home or their fifth, it doesn’t matter: Parents must consider a lot to find the right home for their families, so discovering a home that meets all the criteria can be challenging. If you’re struggling to find the right home for your clan, call us at Steiner Homes. As Northwest Indiana’s homebuilder authority, we know what it takes to create a home that you and your kids will love.