Property buyers with young children should visit the areas they wish to buy in at night and over weekends before viewing homes there.
This is to make sure they are suitable for family living, says Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“What if the main road becomes a hot-rod track on Friday nights or the local pizzeria morphs into an unruly action bar on Saturday afternoons? “And you certainly wouldn’t want to live in an area where teenagers have nothing better to do than spray graffiti on garden walls.”
Parents should also ensure the area is generally clean and wellmaintained. Cracked pavements, litter and overgrown parks are usually signs of a neighbourhood in decline and probably not great for children to live in.
“However, numerous piles of bricks and building sand could signal that you have found a suburb that is being rejuvenated by new families who are moving in and renovating, and where your young family would feel right at home,” Everitt says.
When visiting areas during the day, parents should look for signs that other children live there. This could be swings and climbing frames, tricycles and bikes and children walking or playing.
“Try to gauge their ages, to see if your children would be likely to find friends their own age.” It is also a good idea to ask a knowledgeable local agent about schools in the area and other amenities, such as sports fields, a tennis club or a public pool, a library, community centre and school after-care centres for smaller children, he says.