House Hunting with the Kids

House hunting is an exciting time, but odds are good that your little ones might find other outings more thrilling. It doesn’t take very long for them to get bored, cranky and tired as they are schlepped from house to house. Not to mention that you can end up spending more time watching the kids than looking at the house. This is why I suggest getting a sitter for the kids at least in the early days of your search, if possible. If previewing homes sans kids is not in the cards, consider these tips:

Keep the kids entertained: Bring books, handheld games or an iPad to amuse your children. Another suggestion is to make the time at each house a game. For instance, ask your kids to count how many bedrooms or how many windows are in the house. Remember that not all homes are vacant and idle hands will be looking for something to keep them occupied. It can be very tempting to touch, and dare I say it, break a homeowner’s belongings.

Drive yourself: The drive between houses can be a great time to share your thoughts on the house with your realtor. It’s less likely to be productive with the kids in the car. I suggest using this time to regroup as a family and ask your kids to share what they liked or disliked about the house. While you will ultimately make the decision to purchase a given house, listening to their opinions does demonstrates that you want them to be involved in the process.

Alternate at open houses: Take turns looking at the house so you’re not distracted but have the option of bringing the whole family in if it’s a real contender. I’ve seen parents do this at plenty of open houses and it sure beats getting kids in and out of car seats unnecessarily.

Pick the right realtor. Simply put, all realtors are not equally comfortable with showing houses with kiddos in toe. Choose a realtor who is able to balance your search with the understanding that you may not be able to provide your full attention. You don’t want to spend your time apologizing for the kids pulling you away. Also, be sure to communicate what you do or don’t like with your agent. This will allow him or her to better select potential properties that meet your criteria – this is a huge time saver. You would be surprised at how your wish list can change from the initial consultation to after visiting a few places.

If you are looking for a realtor in Northern Virginia, trust that I love helping families find their new homes. I regularly work with clients who are looking for a home with a little one on their hip. Kids keep things interesting, and their involvement during your home search is no exception! You can reach me at (412)720-2735 or Kristen@TheBarbourTeam.

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