Have Children? Make Sure Your Home Works For Them
When Kushal and Malini Banerjee moved into their Gurgaon home located at a high-rise residential society, little did they know that they would have overlooked one of the most important aspects one needs to consider while buying or renting a house. While most prospective buyers look at a house from the most usual angles, that is, finance, safety and a strategic location, here is something equally important especially if you are a couple with children — Is this house/housing society right for my children?
It all started when the Banerjees moved into a rented 3BHK apartment in Gurgaon's upscale locality. While the property, for which they were to pay a rent of Rs 55,000 per month, was in their budget, two weeks into their stay, the Banerjees received several complaints that their two boys, aged seven and 11 were violating the rules of the housing society. Due to a dominant elderly population in the complex play time in the housing compound was restricted to a mere 90 minutes in the evening. On one hand, this is a commendable move as the rule makes sure that the ageing population is not disturbed by the noise created by children playing at odd hours. On the other hand, for young couples managing busy work and home schedules, this could be a menace.
“I was surprised. It wasn't like I wanted the kids to be out all day but during their long holidays, restricting play time to just 90 minutes is a difficult scenario. We would be restricting healthy growth by keeping them indoors which basically leads to opting for sedentary pastimes like an electronic gadget or cartoons on TV,” says Malini. Barely two months into this new house, the Banerjees had to move out into a more 'child-friendly' residential complex. So, as a home buyer or tenant, make sure, your choice is conducive to your child's lifestyle from the very beginning.
Here is case B. Budget is often the primary concern for everybody who looks at real estate as an asset class. Madhukar and Rachel Ambastha learnt it the hard way. They had the choice of two projects but chose the one that was lower in value because it did not look like much of a compromise then. Three years and a child later, frequent trips to the paediatrician's made them realise that perhaps an added Rs 5 lakh on a better, accessible location would have made a lot of difference. “We tried to save a little money and because Electronic City was a developing area, we thought this would be a great choice. However, what we had actually bought as investors converted into an end-use unit and therefore, it doesn't fit with my family needs,” says Madhukar.
Here are certain things you should keep in mind
Often new and developing corridors may not serve the purpose of end-use. A larger land bank paves way for more construction activity and the vicinity may become inaccessible or difficult for a smooth commute atleast throughout the construction stage. For the Ambasthas, the worst was when the local transport refused to ply by due to bad roads in the area. This was when their two-year-old daughter had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency.
Consider the demography, too. Are your neighbours about the same age as you? Chances are that they too may have kids in almost the same age group as yours. While this may be something you generally overlook, remember that in such a residential complex, there may be better facilities to bring up children. For example, most parents of school going kids will ensure that bus stops should be nearer to their homes. One may also feel more secure considering the habits, wants and needs of most kids are similar. It may also give you ready access to information such as which paediatricians in the vicinity are better frequented and other such tips. Security, an important aspect is also stressed on when the responsibility is spread over a larger group of people/residents. For example, in Bengaluru, it is mandatory for residential complexes with more than 100 residents to have CCTV's in the premises.
Tara Gupta, a home maker says, “Believe it or not, even community policing within a society is helpful at times. I know my children's whereabouts even when I am not with them through friends or ancillary staff in the same society as mine although there is a thin line between being collectively responsible and being intrusive.”
Make sure your investment works well for your family.