Moving to a new home can be both exciting and difficult, especially when house hunting with kids. Including them in the house hunting process can help ensure that the transition goes smoothly. It’s best not to take the kids to every house you’re considering, but to wait and let them view the major prospects. For those with very young children and babies, it is advisable to hire a baby sitter to either accompany you to the showings or to keep them at home. After all, house hunting can be a daunting job, and requires focus. There will be situations when bringing the younger members of the family along is the only way. Here are a few pointers for those times.
Discuss Your Expectations – Before you ever begin the trip to view property, have a discussion with your children about the do’s and don’ts of house hunting. Let them know from the moment they get into the realtor’s car, that they must be on their best behavior. Explain that they will be touring someone else’s’ home and that they should stay with you at all times. They should also be respectful and gentle, and look with their eyes, not with their hands. Also let them know that every thought about the home in question needn’t be put into words, especially negative thoughts. Finally, make them aware that how they feel about each house is important to you, but the ultimate decision will be up to the adults.
Timing Is Everything – You know your children better than anyone, so use that to your advantage when it comes to scheduling house tours. Tired, hungry, cranky kids can turn the entire experience into a huge waste of time. Give your realtor an indication of which times will be optimal for the entire crew, so he or she can plan accordingly.
Pack A Survival Kit – Again, you know your kids best and which diversions will make house hunting with them doable. Think about having several items for each child, including mess-free snacks. Please be mindful of when and where they have their snacks and be sure to have a litter bag and wipes on hand.
If you don’t already have a portable DVD player, now may be the right time to invest in one. Driving all over town looking at real estate can take hours. Time spent in the car can be the most difficult part of house hunting. Also consider a change of clothes, a ball, bubbles, or sidewalk chalk for a park stopover.
Make Them Part Of The Process-Before you begin looking at homes, sit down with your children and formulate a checklist on paper for each house that you see. Have blank spaces for the street address, number of rooms, pros and cons, and extra space for each child’s overall impression. For younger kids who cannot write, use a simple form with pictures and stickers such as smiley and frowny faces so they can communicate their thoughts about each house. Develop your family real estate checklist and print out copies. Supply the kids with clipboards and pencils and enlist them as your personal assistants. Having extra sets of eyes during a walk through will help you and keep them busy.
Reward Good Behavior – To insure long-term success, reward good behavior! Finding the right house takes time and to continue on a smooth path, keep the positive reinforcement coming. Acknowledge that you understand that looking at houses is probably not their idea of fun. Pay back their good behavior with small treats or special activities, so they will associate the house hunting process as a good thing! You will be able to make your experience of house hunting with kids a breeze.