By Andrea Steiner
Nesting–that interesting phenomenon that can have an 8-months-pregnant mommy-to-be up washing windows at 3 in the morning–is a fantastic asset when looking for a new home. If you’re pregnant and searching for a new home to rent or buy, here’s what to look for when buying a house — specifically, how to choose one that’s well-suited for baby and you:
Babies require a lot of stuff. Use a tool that will help you calculate the amount of space in your future nursery and rental home. One such tool is Design a Room Layout by Better Homes and Gardens. This free, Web-based drag-and-drop tool lets you add furniture and choose your color scheme. You can also go to Pinterest and search for boards based on “designing baby room” to discover hundreds of pages offering images and ideas for interior design for baby spaces.
Emergency preparedness plan
Whether you are considering moving into a 40-story apartment building or a ranch-style home in the country, you need to be prepared for any emergency. Fires, floods, power outages and social chaos are some of the general emergencies to consider. Ask about any particular emergency situations that are known to occur in the rental home neighborhood or city. For example, in Tornado Alley (Oklahoma and Kansas), it’s just another summer day when a twister stirs up trouble. Some properties and even entire cities are built on flood plains. You might discover that your future neighborhood is prone to power outages due to overwhelmed resources in the afternoon hours.
Create an emergency preparedness plan that will ensure your new family’s safety. Ready.gov has a sample family communication plan and guidelines to help you prepare for the care of family members with special needs and pets.
Baby proofing a house is a rite of parenthood and necessary to prevent accidents with your baby. Ask your potential landlord if you are permitted to lower the hot water temperature to a baby-safe temp. Are you allowed to install safety locks on cabinetry? Can you use an air humidifier in the home? Also, find out when the last mold and mildew test was conducted, and whether or not carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke alarms are installed and functioning in the home.
Do a crime check of the neighborhood. Certain cities and college towns now have crime data apps for public use, such as MinnPost of Minneapolis that allows you to check on crime statistics using your smartphone or tablet.
While you may not have pets, it’s important to know whether or not your neighbors might have cats, dogs or livestock animals. Otherwise, you may inquire whether or not you can legally have your own chickens or livestock if you plan to have a farm. Also, ask your potential landlord if the property has issues with bats, bears, raccoons or other wild animals.
Affording it all
Whether you’re renting or buying, coming up with the necessary down payment while trying to save for baby’s arrival can be tricky. Many people take out a personal loan, sell an annuity or borrow from family to come up with the extra money. If you’re struggling to make it all work, remember you you don’t need to invest in a changing table, crib, rocking chair and high-end nursery decor right off the bat. Your baby won’t know the difference.
Andrea Steiner lives in Phoenix with her husband and two sons. When she isn’t working on projects around the house, she loves to go running with her two golden retrievers.