Kids weigh down their parents’ homebuying experience – Zillow

But most parent buyers end up with a home they love, says expert

Kids weigh down their parents’ homebuying experience – Zillow

Potential homebuyers living with their children have a tougher time looking for a home, according to Zillow’s latest research.

Parents looking for a new home placed higher importance on their preferred number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as private outdoor space and community amenities so as not to waste leisure time with their kids, according to the report. They are also more likely to go over budget and make smaller down payments.

These kinds of homebuyers faced a more rigorous search process and were more prone to mortgage loan fall outs, and they attended more open houses. A nationwide survey of recent buyers found that two-thirds of these parent homebuyers said they ultimately made sacrifices to stay within their initial budget, with a third of them giving up a shorter commute (34.1%), a bigger home (31.2%) or their chosen finishes (32.7%).

However, 94.6% of parents who recently bought a home were contented and said they loved it, which is slightly higher than those without children.

"As markets cool, parents will have more time to breathe and reflect on what tradeoffs they're willing to make," said Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow. “With interest rates back down, they'll be more able to lock in an affordable monthly payment that will last through college. The trick is finding the home that still fills the family's needs as toddlers turn into kids, kids into teenagers, and teenagers into the young adults in your basement. Luckily, most buyer parents end up with a home they love."

Home-hunting also takes a toll on renters with children, as they have to fill out 1.9 times as many applications as renters without kids, and it takes them a month longer to find a place. Over half (54.1%) of these renters said they could not afford a $1,000 unexpected expense.

"Having kids is a major destabilizer in life – their needs are constantly changing and seemingly impossible to anticipate," Olsen said. “Combine all that uncertainty with a massive financial decision that inevitably requires tough tradeoffs among a limited set of options and has to be wrapped up in time to move before school starts, and you've got one of the biggest challenges around.”