From first home to family home

Selling property and moving is expensive, so make sure the home you choose will suit you for at least the next five years.

Don’t put in an offer to purchase without considering all the aspects of the property you think you may have fallen in love with. For example, you might be keen on that three-bedroom double storey. However, you should probably walk away if it has too little cupboard space or backs onto a busy highway.

You should also be asking yourself if the layout that seems perfect for now will still work when your children are in their teens.

The estate agents’ mantra, ‘location, location, location’, still applies and continues to be an essential factor in buying any property. Proximity to amenities, schools, green space, scenic views and the neighbourhood’s status also feature prominently in residential property buying decisions.

Floor plan

Before starting your property search, make a list of what you need, what you could compromise on and what you should avoid at all costs.

For example, if you want to be on the same level as your children, you should avoid two-storey homes with stairs. Instead, look at single storey homes with open floor plans that allow family involvement while you are busy in the kitchen.

  • Make sure the layout is practical for carrying groceries – and small children. For example, steep stairs into the garage would be a no-no.
  • Consider whether there’s ample space for toys.
  • An indoor play area is key for rainy days.

The neighbourhood

Make a point of visiting your potential future home at different times of the day. For example, check if the roads are dangerously busy during commuting hours and whether nearby businesses are noisy at night.

Find out if there are other families with similar-aged children living nearby. If not, you may be surrounded by empty nesters or young couples who like to party.

Also, see whether there’s a safe place to cycle, run or walk with your baby.


Children need space to play outdoors. Ensure your garden is easily accessible for your children and a safe place to play without supervision.

Also, keep in mind that maintaining a garden takes time and money. A nearby playground may be a good option and will also give your children the opportunity to meet other children in the neighbourhood.


Check the availability and cost of nearby crèches and play schools as well as the quality of the schools in the neighbourhood.

Find out if your kids would have access to school transport and, if so, how long the ride takes.

If you plan to have them walk to school, make sure they won’t need to cross dangerous thoroughfares.

If you plan to drive them to school, try the route at rush hour to judge the traffic. You and your children will be making close to 200 round-trips each year, and the commute to school can play a significant role in your quality of life.

In general

If you do your research thoroughly before buying a home to suit your family, you will be rewarded with many years of contented living. In addition, your family home is likely to appeal to many other buyers, so when you decide to move, you will be able to sell quickly – at a good profit.

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