When you're looking for your first family home, you don't usually have a large budget. You also don't have a lot of previous experience in house hunting, which can make it hard to know what you really want or need in a home. To some degree, this all depends on personal preference. You may want your first home to be in the country, while others may prefer their first home to be in the city. Overall, though, there are some features that most people will agree are really handy to have in a first family home.
An Extra Bedroom
You might think you know how much space you need. For example, maybe you have two kids and you plan to keep it that way, so you look for a 3-bedroom home. However, there are so many scenarios that can come in the next few years resulting in the need for another bedroom. You or your partner may start working from home and need an extra bedroom as an office. You might have a family member come stay with you long-term. Buy a house with one more bedroom than you think you need; you won't regret having the extra space.
A Fenced-in Yard
This is another feature that you may not need right now, but could easily need in the future. Maybe you'll decide to get a dog. Being able to let it out into a fenced-in yard is so much easier. Perhaps you'll decide to let a teenager babysit your kids, and you'll want to know they're safe and secure while they're all outside. Putting up a fence is expensive and time-consuming, so simply buying a home with a fence is a great choice.
Easily Cleanable Surfaces
It's easy to get lured in by soft carpet and colorful countertops. But you'll feel differently about these surfaces as soon as you need to clean them. Look for a home with mostly hard floors, smooth counters, and stainless steel appliances. You'll enjoy not having to spend the entire weekend cleaning.
A Relatively New Heating System and Roof
Two of the most expensive repairs you can have to make on a home are replacing the HVAC system, and replacing a roof. You don't want to face either of these expenses when you're young and just getting settled in your first family home. So, as a general guideline, make sure the HVAC system is no more than about 5 years old, and the roof is no more than 10 years old. This gives you at least a decade before you need to worry about these repairs.
The features above are all nice to have in your first family home. Keep them in mind as you shop around. If you need help finding a single-family home, talk to a real estate agent.