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We help a lot of soon-to-be parents and parents buy homes in Toronto. Here’s our best advice for buying a Toronto home if babies and kids are in your future:
1. Stairs – Your adorable bundle of joy will soon be walking (and running), so take the number of stairs and layout of the house or condo into consideration before falling in love. 70% *of the townhouses we see for sale are parents of toddlers
2. Play Areas – the finished (or finishable) basement might not seem important when little George is in diapers, but all those big noisy toys from well-meaning friends will soon fill up your house. If the plan is to finish the basement when the time comes, make sure you factor in how much that will cost – it’s surprisingly expensive to finish a basement.
3. Neighbourhood: Safety – Safety becomes an increasingly important home buying factor when kids are in the equation. While you might not mind the drug dealers in the park across from your house, how will you feel about that when you spot little Sally at 7 years old having a conversation with them? Check out our crime stats by Toronto neighbourhood for more specific information about what’s happening in the neighbourhoods you’re considering.
4. Neighbourhood: Proximity to Parks and Kid Stuff – Being within easy walking distance of parks and places that cater to kids will go a long way to maintaining your sanity. The Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo can provide countless hours and days of free fun. And any Toronto parent will tell you how hard it is to find a good daycare, so make sure the neighbourhood you choose has plenty to choose from.
4. Bath vs shower While a growing number of Buyers are OK with just having a shower (vs a full bath), if babies are in your future, keep in mind that you’ll need somewhere convenient to bathe them. More than one of our clients has tested the height of the bath to make sure it would work for them!
5. School District If you’re planning on staying in your home long enough for your kids to go to school, make sure to explore the quality of the schools before you buy. Check out our interactive map of Toronto schools to get a sense of where the good schools are.
6- House Safety Some Toronto houses are death-traps for kids: missing railings, uneven staircases, scary homemade balconies- try to envision the house through the eyes of a 2 year-old.
7. Noise While sleepless nights are unavoidable as a parent, consider the impact of noise on the room you are imagining as the baby’s room. Is it on the train tracks? Near the main living areas of the house?
8. Yard I’m a big fan of maintenance-free yards, but you’ll probably want some grass for your little one. Bonus: place for a sandbox or small set of swings.
9. Nanny Suites If you have two or more kids, it may be cheaper to hire a live-in nanny then pay for daycare. Basement apartments can give your caregiver privacy and keep her close by for babysitting emergencies.
10. Features and Finishes While those ultra-pale hardwood floors and stainless steel cabinets may be gorgeous, they likely won’t look as good with fingerprints and peanut butter on them. Chalkboard paint walls and cork flooring might be a better investment (for your sanity) in the long run.
*I made that statistic up but it seems like it happens all the time.