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April 7, 2020

What to Look for in a Family Home

If you have a young family or you hope to start a family soon, the smartest thing you can do is buy the home you will need a few years from now and instead of the home you need today. You don’t want to buy a home that no longer works in 5 years. Taking the time to think through your future needs can save you a ton of time and money.

Luckily, there are only a few items to keep in mind when looking for a family home. Here is what you want to know.

Clayton Homes model Nellie manufactured home dollhouse view


You want to make sure you have enough space for your growing family. Babies don’t take up too much room, but when they start running around, you find the kids use up a lot of your available space. With young kids, you often have a lot of bulky toys like a toy kitchen or a Lego table. As your children grow older, their toys tend to grow smaller, but you will find they have a greater need for some private space, space for doing homework or space for quiet time by themselves.

The bigger the home, the more room you will have to spread out. Bigger homes also allow you more room to store your stuff. We normally recommend that you get the biggest home you can comfortably afford without maxing out your budget. We want you to save room in your budget for surprises, family vacations, and living life too.


Be careful not to look at just the square feet of the home. You will likely find a home with more rooms is more user friendly than a home with just a few big spaces when it comes to families. With a living room and a den instead of a great room, different members of the family can do different things at the same time without getting in one-another’s way.

Many families like open concepts where there are no walls between the kitchen, den, and living room. Little children feel safe playing as long as they can turn and see their caregiver in the same general area. Parents appreciate being able to work in the kitchen or at the dining room table and glance at the kids to know they aren’t up to any trouble.

If you look at the Clayton Nellie, you will find the eating area is on the other side of the kitchen from the den and around the corner from the living room. This layout allows a child a bit of privacy while working on their homework or coloring in their book while still feeling like they are part of the family. Mom or Dad can cook but are still right there to help if the child wants a hand with something plus someone else can be in the living room at the same time without too much distraction.

It’s also nice to have an extra bedroom to use as a dedicated quiet room such as a school room or home office. You can set the room up without any distractions to allow quiet and focus, which isn’t always available in the family areas or the bedrooms.

Getting back to the kitchen, think about how your children will want to “help” you in the kitchen when they are younger, and expect your children to help you in the kitchen when they are older, at least the clean-up. Will the layout of the kitchen allow for two or three people working in the kitchen without getting in one-another’s way? A galley kitchen is nice and compact when there is only one person in there, but it isn’t as friendly when the kitchen is crowded.

Helpful Elements

Kitchen windows that face the backyard sure come in handy when the kids are young. Sometimes those kids just need to go outside and burn off some energy, and windows allow you to work in the kitchen with an occasional glance up at them. Where should the window be? A lot of folks like the window above the kitchen sink so they can wash dishes and look out at the scenery. If you let the dishwasher wash most of the dishes, you may like the window in front of where you prep food to look outside while getting a meal ready.

A lot of families also like a kitchen island the children can sit at. Especially if you are a person who loves to cook while your children stay close, parking the child at the kitchen island lets you stay together without getting in one-another’s way.

One of our favorite rooms for families is a mud room with a door to the outside. Your adventurous child who loves to play in the dirt can strip off their shoes, boots, or even their filthy clothes in the mud room right next to the washing machine without tracking dirt and mud all through the house.


While we focus on your home, you won’t be happy with the best home if it is in the wrong location, so take the time to find the right location for your home. Make sure you move to a community you can be active in. Think about how close your favorite activities are including entertainment, shopping, and volunteering.

Figure out how long it will take to commute to work and make sure you are a reasonable distance away. Did you know every 5 minutes extra commute time one-way ends up costing you about a week’s worth of work time every year? (5 minutes x 2 trips x 240 workdays = 40 hours) Five minutes one-way doesn’t seem like a lot, but it will add up over time. Beside commuting to work, you may also think about where or who else you like to visit a lot because those miles and minutes will also add up.

Make sure you are also in a school district you appreciate to give your children a solid education. Take some time to research the location of the schools that best fit your family’s needs. It would be a mistake to just go to the “highest ranked” school because many schools have a few strengths that may better fit your family’s needs than the school that gets all the glory.

Finally, check on the tax rate for your location, but also ensure the community has the desired city services. Some cities have a higher tax rate, but it may be worth every penny because of good schools, libraries, parks, roads, and more. A city’s amenities that are a good match for your family is a great place to buy, but you don’t want is to pay high taxes for services you won’t use.

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