There are tons of things to consider before you sign on the dotted line and buy yourself a new home. With kids, your decision often takes on a lot less risk and offers a lot more convenience. Naturally, you’re needs and expectations as a single, carefree adult will shift now that you are a parent.
Let’s take a comprehensive look at the common factors moms and dads focus on when choosing where to live with their kids:
Now whether or not you move with family or by yourself, price is the main basis for choosing a home closer to the city, in a newly developed township or in an older, established neighbourhood. However, with your children in tow, your level of willingness to take on heavy mortgages for expensive homes could be affected.
Knowing what you can afford will help you narrow down your locational options in addition to what you are willing to trade-off for your kids.
To minimize your repayment default risks, it’s best to set only one-third of your net salary (after taxes and deductions) for monthly instalments. Remember to include all your recurring commitments such as credit card debt and other loan balances, even if your bank does not take account of these. You will have a more realistic view of what you can (and cannot) afford.
Bonus Tip: See the My Affordability section on PropSocial’s Neighbourhood / Property Info & Ratings page to research homes within your price range.
When you’re single, you’ll likely only consider one aspect of location, “Is it close to my place of work?” But with kids, you have much more to think about. For one, you must consider the distance to schools, babysitters, amenities and sometimes even your relatives, if you require assistance from family or want to be close.
What’s more, your choice of location might also reveal the type of ethnic culture, whether mixed or otherwise, you would want your children raised in.
Expectedly so, this part of the home scouting process will include ample research and planning. Do find out the distance, time, cost and transport options available to commute between important drop-off points. Staying further away from the city often offers relatively lower property prices but you don’t want to end up spending excessively on your commute instead.
Bonus Tip: Check out PropSocial’s map features to help you estimate travel time and distance.
3. Safety and Security
This is another prime concern for parents when choosing where to live. In fact, it’s safe to say that no parent is happy buying a property in a neighbourhood with dismal safety levels. Unfortunately, the extra security that comes with homes within gated and guarded communities tends to be steeper in price and not an option for all.
But even if you find a great home outside of a guarded space, you can still make it work by getting it equipped with a security system. Modern technology has made home alarms, sensors and close-circuit cameras a rather affordable and indispensable mode of protection.
Bonus Tip: Check out PropSocial’s Review section on the Neighbourhood / Property Info & Ratings page to view crime levels.
4. Type of Home
Is a high-rise or landed property right for you? What about extra space to house a live-in maid or a playroom for the little ones? These questions are best answered with regard to the size of your family, plans for ‘expansion’ and the first point; price.
Young parents do not necessarily need to place much emphasis on the type of home, because it could just be a temporary means to an end. ‘Temporary’ in this context however, might mean anything from five to ten years so as to minimise tax charges and to enjoy at least some returns.
Rather, focus on eliminating options with constructs that are unsuitable for children. Note that common home hazards include open balconies, steep staircases, low ventilation, exposed pipes (common with lofts) and certain open layouts that might make it difficult to block off your kitchen and other potentially hazardous areas. Some of these issues can be solved through renovation, but it is only an option if your budget permits.
A top school or kindergarten within a commutable distance or if easily accessed by highways and other transport is understandably a top priority for parents. Thus, being close to quality educational centres can be a major draw, especially for working parents who don’t have the extra time to make extended trips.
Moreover, having good schools in the vicinity of new developments may invite more young families to move in. Though this is a point not often considered, it is a highly interesting way to foster a community that grows together and makes decisions (in terms of residence associations) that benefit the children first.
Bonus Tip: Use PropSocial’s map features to help you locate education centres within the vicinity.
6. Lifestyle Facilities and Amenities
Consider the implications of relocating a young and growing family to a newly developed township without easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, and (most importantly) clinics and hospitals. What if your children require medical attention – how quickly can you get them to a doctor? While you may be willing to contend with a lack of essential amenities as a single adult, you might not want to take this risk with your offspring.
On a slightly less compulsory note, quality-of-life features that can enrich your family’s experience should be considered where available and affordable. Proximity and access to parks, playgrounds and recreational centres are healthy settings for family bonding. Similarly, residences equipped with more facilities like swimming pools, cycling and jogging tracks, and basketball courts would make for livelier, healthier and more stimulating playtime.
While these common focal points are crucial when choosing a home for your family, we reckon that price and budget will be the most decisive influence. So whatever your decision, keep your affordability in mind and let go of the unessential. You can buy your ‘forever’ home when you are more financially ready.
What are you willing to trade off when choosing a kid-friendly home? Let us know in the comment section.
(Written by: Desiree Nair, 25th July 2016)