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Effect of ‘kidfluence’ on parents

One of the deciding factors that determine whether your child will gain admission into a school is your residential address.

So it’s not difficult to understand why good parents factor the needs of their children into their buying decisions. But exactly how much influence are children having on their parents’ buying decisions?

“There is no doubt that children play a vital role in the home-buying decision, and rightly so. At the very least, buyers usually consider areas which are close to good schools, both primary and high schools, depending on the age of their children,” says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Beyond this, buyers with children also place less value on certain features they once thought important before they had children. For example, whether a home has scenic views becomes less important, provided the home is in the correct suburb.”

While all of this might seem like old – and somewhat obvious – news, global studies have shown that millennial parents are placing increased value on their children when it comes to buying a home.

A recent poll conducted in the United States of America revealed that 55% of homeowners with a child under 18 said that the opinion of their child played a factor in their home-buying decision. For millennial parents, the influence grows to nearly 75%, says Goslett.

Looking within our own continent, a Nigerian study conducted by Research Leap in 2015 revealed that most parents make buying decisions with their children at the centre of their choices. According to the findings, “what their children want or like is the most important criterion they consider when making the final decision to buy”.

“The only word of caution I would issue to millennial parents is not to allow themselves to be too heavily influenced by their children’s wants when considering which property to buy,” Goslett advises.

“While it is important to consider your child’s needs, their preferences can change weekly and you’re going to be paying off your home loan for the next 20 to 30 years.”

As a result of parents factoring their buying decisions around their children, when searching for homes, buyers with children often tend to factor their wish list around the number of rooms as opposed to the finishes and features of a home.

According to a study conducted in Potchefstroom in 2016, the features of a home which buyers rated most important varied vastly depending on whether buyers had children or not. The results revealed that families with children shared an emphasis on the number of bedrooms, quality of kitchen and number of bathrooms in a home.

For couples without children and single buyers, the focus was on security systems, the appearance of the house, quality of built-in cupboards and the size of the garage and parking space.

“Unsurprisingly, the needs of a buyer with children will differ from the needs of a buyer without. My advice to parents is to consider both the immediate and long-term needs of their family when buying property,” says Goslett.

“For example, while parking space might not be an issue when your children are young, it can become an issue when your children turn 18 and have cars of their own.”

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