Home shopping is a complex, emotional and sometimes overwhelming experience. Add kids to the mix and you just doubled that level of complexity, emotions and your chances of getting overwhelmed. That’s OK… take it from a Realtor who has worked for many clients with children, it’s normal! There was even a movie made (Pixar’s Inside Out) about how terrifying and emotional moving can be for a child; especially one who is moving a good distance from their current home and has to navigate a new home, new schools and new friends. However just like with many scary things, it can also be an exciting time, especially for younger children. So let’s explore what parents are looking for vs. what kids are looking for and the importance of putting these things into perspective. Make sure to read to the end for my final piece of advice!
WHAT ARE PARENTS LOOKING FOR IN A NEW HOME?
Over the years I have noticed one major thing that parents consider when buying a new home are the schools. School ratings and grades, as well as the school environment, are very important to parents. Below are several ways a parent can check into these things.
- Many Realtors have links on their websites, giving you access to schools in the area and their ratings, like this one: http://msgulfcoasthomes.com/homes-for-sale
- When you have found the schools your little ones might be attending, call them. Talk with the principle or secretary (they are the gateway to your schools) and schedule a time to visit the school.
- Talk with other parents in the areas you are considering moving to. If you don’t know any, ask your Realtor.
- If you home school, find out what curriculum are used most in the area. Go to the local library; they usually have home school groups that meet there. Attend one of the gatherings and talk with the other home school parents.
Another important detail for parents when searching for a new home is space. Not just how big is the house, but how is the layout configured and will it be functional for their family. Is there outdoor space and how can it be used? A few questions to consider would be:
- Where is the master bedroom? If you have younger children you may not want it separated from the other bedrooms. If your children are older, you may be fine with it.
- Is it an open layout? Families are going more for the open concept. Everyone tends to hang out in the kitchen so home buyers are wanting the open concept so everyone can be together but still have room to move around.
- How big is the backyard? Will the kids enjoy it? Is there room to play and run around?
Some other things that most home buyers consider are:
- How close (in minutes) is the home located to all the important places in your life. For example: work, school, place of worship, family, etc. Some Realtors have tools available for you to easily figure out your commute times. Here is one link to a home search app that will allow you to search by commute times to several important places: http://app.nexthome.com/jFgv
- What kind of neighborhood or area are you looking for? Do you want the country life, where your kids can run around, be loud and not worry about neighbors? Or would you rather be in a neighborhood where there are other kids for them to play with, ride bikes and enjoy an ice cream from their favorite ice cream lady every Sunday afternoon? The Little Blue Truck / Book a Party
WHAT ARE KIDS LOOKING FOR IN A NEW HOME?
Ok, this one will be a little simpler list. Maybe not shorter, but simpler. I’ve talked with a few kids (stay tuned for the video interviews of some of the kids I’ve talked with) and here are a few things kids think are important:
- The bedroom they get to pick. They typically don’t care where it is or how big it is (they all seem huge to them) they just like to run from room to room and pick one out.
- Cool features. “Is there a tree house? Can we build a tree house? Cool, there’s a tree house! Is there a swimming pool? Can we get a swimming pool? Cool, there’s a swimming pool!” You get the idea, right?
- Do any of my friends live around here?
- Can I ride my bike?
- Can I run around the yard and get dirty?
- How many hiding places does the home have?
Kids are simple and typically it’s simple to make them happy! Now, I’m talking mainly about children 10 and under. Older kids, especially teens are a different ball game. That will have to be a different blog post!
THE TAKE AWAY
Here’s what I want you to consider. Leave the children at home. If you can get a babysitter or grandma to watch them, it’s probably better. Kids tend to be a distraction from the house. Instead of looking closely at the house, you’re keeping an eye on your children. Here is a great article on how to handle house hunting with children: Realtor.com – How to House Hunt with Young Kids In it they suggest getting a sitter, but if you have to bring them along, you should bring a distraction for them. Be prepared, bring snacks, drinks, iPads, and other forms of entertainment. This is especially important when entering homes that are still owner occupied. You (and the sellers) do not want the kids jumping all over their furniture and pulling out their things (leave the drinks and snacks in the car).
Once you have considered my list above of what kids are looking for and you narrow it down or pick the one you like, then take them to see it. 9 times out of 10 (in my experience) they love it! If they don’t, ask why. It could be simple things that you can explain and make them feel better about. If worst comes to worst. We can look again! Just remember, it can be overwhelming, scary and emotional. Keep calm and eventually you will say “YES” to the address!