5 condo hunting tips for parents
Buying a condo and having a child are not always simultaneous decisions. You could move into a condo single, find a partner, and end up married with a baby on the way faster than you can say two-bedroom.
In another scenario, you could buy into a condo with your current significant other, with the idea of a family not too far off in the future.
How can you make sure you’re purchasing a good starter home for you and your growing family? And, if you intend to have more than one child, what are your options?
Start with space
If you intend to start a family with your partner and you are on the hunt for a starter condo property, you’re going to want at least a two-bedroom. If desired, you could turn a one-bedroom + den into a two-bedroom. When buying with a family in mind, consider purchasing units with dens large enough to double as bedrooms.
Usually, condo builders only build a few three-bedroom units for the entire building (if at all), so if you’re financially prepared to start a larger family, consider a preconstruction purchase to avoid paying resale on a three-bedroom condo.
If your family grows larger than expected, consider moving to a bigger unit in your building.
Aside from space, amenities will be the next thing to check for when it comes to making a condo lifestyle more child-friendly.
For many families in large cities, a condo is one of the only starter-homes available on the market. Condominiums that recognize this and plan family-friendly amenities into their builds accordingly should catch the eye of any mother or father to-be.
Child-friendly amenities include things like dedicated playgrounds, after-school work rooms or libraries.
Some builds will host a stocked playroom on ground floors, a screening room that plays kids movies, gymnasiums with weekly kids-only days or swimming pools with private lessons! Newer builds are considering day-cares and Montessori schools.
Yes, a great childhood is totally attainable with a condominium lifestyle. Terraces with sandboxes and big open spaces let kids ride bikes and experience all the joys of childhood. Your neighbours might even be in the same boat, challenging condo boards to accomodate them.
After you’ve got the space and lifestyle aspects down, you’ll be looking outward towards schools zones and your child’s access to them.
Additionally, any extracurricular areas should be considered. Such as music lessons, city sports, proximity to friends and green spaces.
In Toronto, kids under 12 take the TTC for free. This helps boost their confidence and independence, teaches them about the city, and saves parents money. Show your kids the ropes and you’ll see your school-age kids blossom into true city slickers.
School zones should play a decent role in your condo's location too, if not one of the biggest. If your child isn’t able to walk themselves or with friends to school, you’ll have to throw them on a school bus or do the extra commuting yourself until your kids are old enough.
Some condo communities are even building new school zones as they establish themselves, especially when the buildings are housing more kids than ever predicted.
If you have your eye on a specific school because of sports, academics or extracurriculars, make sure you’re not making your kid get there in an extraneous way that would tire them out.
Sometimes condos are downtown, sometimes they’re in the suburbs. Depending on the location of your condominium, there will be a history attached to the community.
Further, some condos have become such investment hubs that they could turn into Airbnbs 365 days per year, with strangers walking in and out at any time, day or night.
This impacts child safety, building safety and neighbourhood safety all in one swoop. See how in-demand your condo’s area is, and make an educated decision that considers your kids.
Asking a condo board about their short-term rental policy could be a place to start.