So you're looking for your new family home, and you've seen more houses than you can count. You've made sure that you're shopping in the best school districts, that you have the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, that you have the amenities you want, and that you've stayed within your budget, and you've narrowed it down to 2 or 3 places that meet all of your stringent criteria. So how do you decide from here which is the home for you?  When you've made sure all the big items are checked off your list, it's time to get picky about the little things!  Read on for some tips to help you decide which house to make your home!

1.  Accommodate the kids!  Beyond just making sure that there are enough bedrooms for everyone to be comfortable, check out the layout of the home.  Is there room for the kids to play? Is the yard large enough to put a kid friendly swing set, trampoline, or summer time pool?  When the children have friends come over, will there be space to enjoy sleepover fun or play date game time?  Is there enough room in the kitchen for little hands to enjoy cooking with mom or dad?  Remember that a happy child is always better for everyone!

2.  Make room for fur babies!  Do you now, or will you want to own a pet?  Of course the yard size is important, but there may be more to it than that.  Is there a space to put food and water dishes where they won't be in the way?  What about the dreaded litter box?  Where will you put it so that it isn't a nuisance and is still accessible to your kitty?  If you'd like to put in a pet door so that your animals can get in and out as they please, will the current door style accommodate this, or will you have to spend money on replacements?  And finally, if you have plans for exotic animals or dream of having a few chickens to provide fresh eggs for the family, make sure you check with the neighborhood ordinances so you know what's allowed and what isn't!

3. Storage space is a must!  We all always underestimate the amount of stuff we can accumulate over the years.  What looks like ample closet space when it's empty could turn out to be just barely enough to hold your extensive shoe collection.  Compare the amount of cabinet, closet, and pantry space in your potential homes and choose the one that you think will not only hold the things you already have, but all the keepsakes you won't want to let go of in the future.

4. Location, location, location.  Of course you've already checked school districts, and the distance to your current workplace, but what about the other important things you have to do each day? A late night run to the store to grab some milk for tomorrow's breakfast shouldn't be an hour long process, if you can avoid it.  Do you enjoy hosting dinner parties for your friends? They're much more likely to attend if your home isn't too far away. If you love to take an evening stroll, look at your list of potential properties and see which has the best sidewalks and lighting to facilitate safety.  Is the home placed in an odd spot on the lot, which could make it difficult to add landscaping or yard upgrades in the future? 

5.  Interior Layout.  Take a walk through your short listed properties and imagine what it would be like to complete your day to day tasks.  Is the laundry room placed centrally, or will you have to navigate heavy baskets in and around sharp corners and narrow doors?  Are the bedrooms laid out in such a way that kids playing in their rooms will disturb someone who works the night shift and has to sleep during the day?  Is there ample bathroom space for the whole family to get ready for work and school in the morning without trampling one another?  What about the living room...is there enough area to place your furniture so that everyone has a comfy spot to sit for movie night?  It may help to take measurements of your household items and try to picture exactly how everything will be positioned and how well the home will flow with your needs!

All of these things, while small in the grand scheme of things, could definitely make life just a little bit easier for the whole family.  Remember, most people who purchase a home plan to stay there for years to come. Things that don't seem like a big deal now, like where to place the dog food, can become irritating after years of picking up spilled puppy chow! Consider every detail, no matter how small, and choose the home that is going to provide the most comfort for your families future!