Buying a family home

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, looks at a few points to consider when buying a family home…

Whether you're a first-time home buyer or a veteran, buying a home is a complex process, even more so when you are searching for your perfect family home. "But," says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, "just because you may feel restricted by what you can afford, you still need to be picky when looking to buy a family home as you will have specific wants and needs that should be accommodated in your selection process."

Draw up a "shopping list"

Therefore Goslett advises those buyers looking for their perfect family home to draw up a "shopping list" of what features they would ideally like the home to have. "While affordability will most certainly be the biggest determining factor in purchasing a home, a list of wants and needs will help to narrow down the choice of properties and give buyers a solid idea of their search parameters."

There are certain elements that are universal considerations when buying a property such as the location, access to amenities and security. But Goslett points out that when buying a home that will suit the needs of a family, there are a few additional aspects to take into consideration.

Stand size a good starting point

The size of the stand is a good place to start. Children need a fair amount of space to run around and play. "Whether freestanding or part of a secure estate, a home with adequate garden space would be best for a family as opposed to an apartment complex, unless parks or play facilities are part of the offering," says Goslett.

When it comes to the house itself, Goslett says that aside from sufficient bedrooms to accommodate the family, buyers should also ensure that other aspects such as living areas, storage space and bathroom facilities will meet the needs of their family.

Location, location, location

Location is undoubtedly one of the most important considerations when buying any type of property.

Strong school districts are popular with many home buyers — even if they don’t have a family — as these areas tend to retain their value and see solid capital growth when it comes to properties. "However, it’s the convenience factor that is the main driver for families with children to purchase in areas with a range of good schools close by," says Goslett.

Does it cater to your lifestyle?

Another aspect to consider when buying a family home is how the potential property caters to your lifestyle. Does it have an ideal outdoor entertainment area for when you entertain other families with children? Does the design of the kitchen or the presence of a dining room encourage eating together at meal times? Is there a large enough indoor play area for your children where their toys can be stored? Is there a separate lounge area where adult members of the family can relax?

"Many home buying decisions are based on personal preference and individual lifestyle choices," says Goslett. "But," he says, "buyers should also determine as best they can what their future living requirements will be and plan for the future when drawing up their home buying 'shopping list'. Lifestyles change as the family matures and you want to make sure you buy a home that you can live in for a number of years. Property is a long term investment after all.

Being specific is worth it

"The house hunting process may take a little longer if you are specific about your requirements, but considering that buying a home is the biggest investment of your lifetime it is worth making sure you purchase a home that closely matches your wants and needs," Goslett concludes.

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