Parents have more trouble finding the right home: Zillow

Homebuyers with kids are more likely to go over budget and put down a deposit of less than 20%, new study says

If you have kids, finding the right home may be a struggle.

Parents who shop for a home are more likely to go over budget, put down a smaller down payment and end up with a longer commute than those who don’t have kids, according to a recent study by Zillow.

The study, which analyzed data on homebuyers and renters who live with kids under the age of 18, found that this group often makes numerous sacrifices for a home that fits the needs of the entire family. More than 25 percent of those with kids went over budget, compared to 21.2 percent of those without children at home. Those with kids were more likely to put down less than the traditional 20 percent on a down payment — 66.5 versus 51.6 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, parents who compromised on their home were most likely to increase the time of their commute (34.1 percent), buy a home without their desired finishes (32.7% percent) and purchase a smaller home than they had initially planned (31.2 percent).

By contrast, those with kids are also less likely to have a successful first offer — 52 percent for those with kids and 62.7 percent for those without.

“Having kids is a major destabilizer in life – their needs are constantly changing and seemingly impossible to anticipate,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research, in a prepared statement. “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.”

With kids, priorities and preferences also change. Parents are more likely to insist on homes with good school districts and commutes as well as politically and racially diverse neighborhoods.

But despite the challenges that come with finding a home fit for the whole family, both parents and non-parents end up finding what they’re looking for. The number of people who said they love the home they found clocks in at 94.6 percent and 91.8 percent, respectively.

“With interest rates back down, [parents will] be more able to lock in an affordable monthly payment that will last through college,” Olsen said. “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.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko