How to find your city’s most family-friendly suburbs

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Looking for a home for your growing family? Here’s how to find a child-friendly neighbourhood in your city.

In this day and age of urbanisation and mixed-use developments, finding a suitable family home in a kid-friendly neighbourhood can be difficult. However, Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, has the following tips on finding the right environment for your growing family:

  • Timing

Before viewing any homes, visit any areas that could be suitable options at different times of the day. This is a good way to make sure that a quiet area doesn’t become a hub of nightlife once the sun goes down. This will also give you a feel for the kind of people living in the neighbourhood and whether their lifestyles will suit you and your family.

  • Signs

When scouting out a potentially suitable area during the day, look for signs of other children living in the neighbourhood. For example: bicycles, swings in the gardens or children playing in the park. Try to see if there are any children in the vicinity that are similar ages to your children. For families with small children, it would be great to find an area with lots of younger children for them to play together.

  • Cleanliness

Look for signs of cleanliness and whether the neighbourhood is well maintained. A neighbourhood with cracked pavements, litter or run-down parks, may not be suitable for children. Not only are these a hazard, but they often mean that not many children are in this neighbourhood. However, don’t shy away from a neighbourhood where homes are being built or renovated, particularly if there are young families moving into these homes.

  • Ask an expert

Chat to a local estate agent about the area and ask them about the amenities available. Parks, gardens, recreation centres, schools and shops are all of interest to a growing family, as the more amenities an area has, the better. It’s a good idea to go and check out these amenities yourself, to make sure that they are family-friendly and fit in with your lifestyle.

  • More research

Find out if the area you are interested in has any after-care centres, youth groups, neighbourhood watch and any other signs of an active, friendly community. A community that is caring and friendly provides a great support system for a growing family.

Once you start viewing properties, make sure to check whether the neighbours are friendly, what the community is like and if there are any kid-friendly activities that take place. “One of the major reasons for the rising popularity of lifestyle estates and other secure complexes is the peace-of-mind they offer parents as regards their children’s safety,” Kotzé notes. “But fortunately there are still many other options for parents who can’t afford to buy homes in such developments - especially if they are prepared to do some careful homework and seek some help from a trained real estate professional before deciding where to settle their family for what could well be the next 10 or 20 years.”

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to trust your instincts. If you feel that something about a neighbourhood isn’t right, rather move on and find another, more suitable neighbourhood.

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