What buyers with kids are searching for

by Ashley Bowden

In every decision they make, parents tend to make their children their top priority. And according to new research from Zillow, the same goes for the considerations they make when shopping for a new home. More than the life of leisure that buyers without kids may look for, parents put their kids’ needs for a safe and enriching environment first. Some are also more likely to go over their initial budget than to go without the amenities on their wishlists.

The importance of location

According to Zillow’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report, buyers with children living at home are 36 percent less likely to budge on their preferred location. Living in their preferred school district takes precedence over many other considerations — 66 percent of buyers with kids said the school district of a home was very important during their search, compared to 23 percent of buyers who did not have children.

Parents care more that their neighborhood is economically, racially and politically diverse, Zillow found. Compared to 40 percent of buyers without children, 55 percent of buyers with kids care that the neighborhood offers a sense of community and belonging. Because of this, 72 percent of parents with kids at home said they were likely to end up purchasing a home in the area they initially considered, rather than being open to other locations.

Amenities that matter to parents

Buyers with children also have different priorities than those without children when it comes to home features, such as having their preferred number of bedrooms and bathrooms, private outdoor space, ample storage space and good potential for their home to increase in value. The majority are looking for single-family detached houses. All of these factors matter more to parents than non-parents looking for a home, according to the same report from Zillow.

Budgeting and financing concerns

Despite the fact that they’re more likely to overrun their budgets than non-parent buyers, families are also more likely to make compromises, far more than buyers without children. Some of these compromises include buying a home without their preferred finishes, buying a smaller home than planned and increasing their commute. Commuting is a more important factor for 66 percent of parents, especially those with small children, than it is for 43 percent of non-parents.

Parents with a new home pending have a higher chance of mortgage loans falling through. At some point before successfully obtaining a mortgage, almost one-third of buyers with kids were denied a loan at some point during their search, a far greater amount than the 12 percent of buyers without kids living at home who experienced the same thing.

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