TEN TIPS FOR BUYING A CHILD OR PET-FRIENDLY HOME
THE REALITY FOR MOST IS THAT GROWING CHILDREN WANT THEIR OWN SPACE
Everyone has their own idea of a dream property and the lucky ones even make them a reality but, if you got kids or pets, let’s face it – it’s hard.
They won’t necessarily share your mental image of the ideal home with a pristine designer living room, tasteful interior décor, state-of-the-art kitchen and landscaped grounds. For small children and animals, it’s just a minefield of things they can knock over, soil or destroy. For teenagers, your tasteful touches and thoughtful placing of things will be irrelevant.
So, if you’re planning to move house and you want a few tips on what features you should look for in a long-term property sturdy enough to survive the bombshells of offspring and / or animals, here are ten tips.
Spiral or Decorative Staircases.
A definite no for anyone with small kids. They may save space but, even if the children are enrolled in the local gymnastic club, they’ll find a way of falling down them. Best stick to straight lines; if the cherubs do fall, there’s less chance of them hitting anything on the way down.
If you’re determined you’ll be bringing up an only child it’s less of an issue but, if you have more than one, try to find an ideal property with bedrooms that are roughly the same size. No one wants the box room – or even one that’s only a couple of feet smaller – and trying to assign it to one of your offspring will only lead to arguments and resentment. Worse, you could end up in there yourself just to keep the peace!
En Suite Essentials
Does the master bedroom have one? A teenager planning an evening out will disappear into the bathroom at approximately 4pm and won’t come out for hours. You can beg and plead all you like but your personal comforts will be a long way down the priority list. Even if you do wheedle them out, they’ll wait outside the door, tutting and sighing and demanding to know how long you’ll be. An en suite – or even just a separate downstairs loo – can help you avoid the bathroom conflict.
We may all be reading about “making memories” and “familymoons” on Facebook but the reality for most is that growing children want their own space. They (probably) don’t want to sit on the sofa and watch David Attenborough on TV with you. Many will retreat to their bedrooms but, if you’d like them a little nearer so they can at least hear you when you call that dinner’s ready, a second reception room that can be used as a games room (and a general collection area for stuff of theirs you don’t want lying around the house) isn’t a bad idea. A conservatory can fit the bill sometimes but it’ll need to be heated in winter. Anything below 21C is unlikely to be tolerated.
Enclosed Rear Garden
If you’re going to allow smaller children or pets to play in the garden while you cook, work or generally enjoy your own leisure time, it needs to be a safe and secure environment. A pond is not a great idea – no matter how small – and, if there’s access to the front of the house, it needs to be lockable. Access to storage sheds or the garage should also be secure if you have curious young children about. CCTV systems can be fitted relatively cheaply these days if you need extra peace of mind.
Internet & Phone Signal
Essential in any household with children over eight years old. If you don’t believe us, just try switching off the wifi in a home they occupy. We can almost guarantee the response will be immediate.
Of course we all want to ensure our children are safe when they are big enough to venture out on their own and, to begin with, it’s natural that we’ll act as an unpaid taxi service. But after a while, when their social life picks up, it can become a bit of a chore. You can’t really enjoy that glass of sauvignon if you know you’re going to have to get back in the car at 10pm to pick them up from outside McDonald’s in the town centre so having a bus which comes and goes from a stop nearby can make a huge difference.
Just don’t. Even if it doesn’t get ruined, you’ll spend so much time worrying that it might that any enjoyment you get out of it will be quickly lost.
Almost as soon as they go to school, kids start bringing back stuff they demand you never throw away… paintings, Viking boats made of paper, loo roll and matchsticks, badly-designed wooden dragons; the list is endless. The more storage you have the better but, no matter how much, it’ll never be enough. There will still come a time when projects, old broken toys and paintings have to be consigned to the bin – although it’s probably just best to do it under cover of darkness and say they’re “in the loft”.
An essential, unless you enjoy cleaning. Frequently. A space at the door to remove and store muddy shoes or act as a holding pen for a wet dog can be a godsend. Don’t underestimate it.
If you’d like to search for a property that fits the bill, just have a look at our portfolio. Otherwise feel free to give us a call or drop us a line to see if we have any homes coming up likely to meet your requirements. We’d love to help if we can.