Buying property is one of the most important decisions families make. In the past, in India, this was a fairly straightforward affair, with the head of the family – almost always male, making the decision and other members falling in line. Things have changed considerably with time however and the decision-making process has become more democratic and collaborative, with all the members of the family sharing their inputs, concerns and opinions and coming to a collective conclusion.
With nuclear families and smaller family size becoming the norm in India, children’s needs also play an important role in the decision-making process when buying a home, especially when the children are older teens and/or adults. Parents are keen to ensure a safe, supportive and child-friendly environment for their children.
Key Considerations for a Child-Friendly Home
- If cost isn’t an issue, many families look to invest in larger homes, so that children can have their own rooms & ample playing space within the home.
- Larger homes also make sense as a long-term investment. As children grow from toddlers to teens and adults, their space and privacy requirements must be kept in mind. In India, adult children usually stay with their parents unless marriage or their jobs take them away. Sons often continue to live with their parents even after marriage, until they can save and invest in their own home.
- Parents with children prefer apartment complexes that are well planned with homes that are well ventilated and well-lit as this promotes health and growth in children.
- Complexes with outdoor playgrounds, indoor sports facilities and common spaces where functions can be held, have an advantage.
- Location is key while buying any property. Parents prefer a safe neighbourhood for their children. Well connected neighbourhoods with schools, hospitals and shopping nearby are preferred even if they may not be located in the traditionally ‘central’ or ‘good’ areas of town.
- Properties with a healthy existing children’s population is also attractive to parents (especially with younger children), as this increases social interaction between children and encourages friendships.
The requirements of children – large, open spaces, playgrounds, secure neighbourhoods, self-contained residential properties, within commutable distances to good schools – generally mean a rise in overall property cost. Parents must find the fine balance between an affordable property that is also child-friendly. They may choose to invest initially in a smaller property when their children are young and upgrade to a larger one as they grow.