Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Update: Starting a family can be a blessing, but it does mean you have to make many changes at home – one of which may be that you have to move house altogether. Going from a starter home for two people to a family sized home can involve a huge amount of remodeling work if you want to stay where you are and build an addition. But keep in mind that when you have kids, you’ll need a safe neighborhood close to good schools and plenty of green spaces, so your city dwelling may no longer meet your changing needs.

Of the many reasons to move, the size of your current home is the most common. Many young couples purchase a cozy two- or three-bedroom 1,000-square-foot home that suits their situation perfectly. The home has a master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and possibly a home office. A single living area, with couches and an entertainment center, provides the couple with ample space for the two of them and their visitors. As they start a family, the first child moves into the guest bedroom and toys take over the living area. The perfect house for two becomes too small for three or more.

Photo by James Thompson

Take the example of Tim and Leslie. Tim and Leslie bought their first home in an older part of town. The 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom house was affordable and close to their jobs. At the time, the real estate market was booming so they thought they had better buy a house while they could. After a few years and several small remodeling projects, they began to consider their future. They intended to start a family in a few years, and their current home was not in the best school district. They lived on a street with a lot of traffic, which was fine for two adults but less desirable for children, who have a habit of chasing after balls regardless of where they roll. More importantly, the house was suitable for the two of them, but too small for a family. So, with their growing incomes and a need for a more family-friendly environment, Tim and Leslie found a 1,700-squarefoot, three-bedroom home in the same city but in a better school district and on a quieter street.

Now they have lived in the larger house for five years and grown to a family of four so they are laying plans for a remodel. They would like to update the kitchen, remove a few walls to open the floor plan, and add two more bedrooms and one bathroom. Construction is set to begin as soon as the youngest child begins kindergarten. Later in life, after the children have grown, couples once again find their home to be the wrong size — in this case, too big. Four or five bedrooms and 3,000 square feet gives a family of four room to grow and enjoy some amount of privacy, but after all the children have moved out, many rooms are no longer used. If you find yourself in this situation, moving is typically the best solution.