Back in the day before I had kids, when I had nine-hour sleep stretches, and could eat the ice cream out of the tub without anyone wanting some, choosing a home to live in was fairly easy. Space wasn’t on the list, and it didn’t matter whether there were steep stairs, white carpets, or schools and parks nearby.
Just like my sleep patterns, my life stage has changed, and for my last two homes, children were top of mind when it came to choosing from houses for sale.
Pam Golding Properties asked me to a write a piece on buying a child-friendly home, so if you’re looking for a new or bigger family home, here are some questions to ask yourself in order to make better choices.
What size do you need?
Think about the size of your current family, and whether you’re likely to have more kids. Are there enough rooms? Or space to add on? Is the garden big enough? Is there enough space for a dog or two now, or down the line?
Is this house likely a starter home, or a “forever” home? This will also help determine the size of the house you buy, and what you put into it now.
Need a live-in nanny?
If you think you’ll need a live-in nanny, ensure that there is enough space for an extra person.
What extras do you need?
Pool, playroom, garden–what do you envisage for your family? What are the priorities, and what can you afford? Things like a pool can often be added at a later stage, and extra rooms built, but weigh up what makes sense now – investing more for everything now (and therefore needing a bigger bond), or buying a house now that has potential for more later. Keep in mind your budget, allowing for any rising interest rates, increases in municipal tariffs and property rates as well as future costs, and the inconvenience of renovating when you have kids.
Are there schools in the area?
If you don’t think you’re going to use private schooling, check that there are reputable government schools in the catchment area of your home.
How safe is the house?
While safety features like pool fences and electric fences can be added, some things are harder to change, like steep stairs.
Ask yourself if the house ticks all the safety boxes, whether you have a baby or preschooler. If not, can you afford to make the necessary changes?
Can you afford the
It might sound so obvious, but can you afford the house? As a parent, you have so many expenses as it is, and lots of unforeseen ones too.
Is there potential for the area you’re looking in?
Will you be buying in an area where there is potential for appreciation in value? Don’t just assume – rather speak to someone in the know (like an estate agent), who can present proper numbers, not just sentiment.