First house versus family house

There is a big difference between your needs as a first time property buyer and what you would be looking for should you decide to start a family.

Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group says that while the principles of investing in property always remain the same, whether you buy a flat or a sprawling family house, buyers do look for different things during different life stages.

Seeff’s agents say that where young buyers often look for areas that are “hip and happening”, the perspective tends to change when they are ready to start a family.

First house
Young buyers generally have a limited budget and tend to look for a location close to trendy areas where they can meet up with friends and socialise.

Apartments tend to be the best seller for young buyers, and although many professionals are now opting for the convenience of lifelong apartment living, houses remain in demand among family buyers.

The less they have to commute, the better, also tends to rank high with young buyers, whereas families will travel more. First timers therefore tend to choose areas close to business nodes and with mixed-use facilities such as fitness centres, laundry and other services and a supermarket for necessities. High density apartment areas or near universities and colleges tend to be popular.

First properties are usually more affordable compared to family houses. It therefore makes sense to start small, and once your needs expand, you can sell and would hopefully have built enough equity to make a profit which you can then invest as a deposit in your family house.

Family house
Buyers with a family or looking to start a family will need to think about the needs of the children such as access to childcare facilities and schools.

Buyers should therefore research their preferred areas for these. Bear in mind too that schools may bring added traffic at certain peak times, so consider whether you want to live in the school street, or perhaps a few streets away.

You also need to remember that children need a bit of yard space not just to play in and stretch their legs, but you may want to add a play area or jungle gym and often, a swimming pool.

If you invest a in a freehold house, then it is generally much easier as it will likely come with yard space. If you prefer the added layer of security offered by a complex or estate, then be sure to look at the facilities on offer. If the homes or units do not come with much yard space, check whether the complex has communal grounds. Increasingly, we see complexes offer play areas for children, some with jungle gyms and space to ride their bikes or just run around.

Aside from ensuring that the house meets your family needs, you also need to ensure that you child-proof the home. These days, access to the internet and social media groups mean that you are able to access many tips on how to configure your home so that it is child-friendly.

Child safety should be a primary concern including aspects such as covering all electrical plugs, security gates on opening doors and that your swimming pool is not just fenced off, but covered and thoroughly child-proof.

Finally, Seeff says that whatever you decide to buy, always buy the best you can, even if it is the smallest house in the street, because you can always grow with your home.