Take it from me, I have lots of experience with kids. 50% of my clients have house-hunted and purchased homes with kids in tow. I've shown hundreds of properties to families with children ranging in age from newborn to 17 years and families ranging in size from 1 kid to 6 kids!
House-hunting can be overwhelming. Here are some tips I have found which keep the process simple AND productive.
Be Realistic about Showings
In a perfect world, if you can line up childcare (nanny, playdate, or grandparents?) you'll get the most out of your house-hunting experience. But the world isn't always perfect, so if you do need to bring the kids along the most important piece of advice is really very simple: Be Realistic About Showings.
We've found 6 homes to be a reasonable number of properties for adults to see in one showing. Anything beyond 6 and it's no longer a good use of time. Fatigue sets in, properties start blurring together, and inevitably someone ends up being "hangry" (hungry + angry.)
With kids along for the ride, we like to limit the number of homes we see to 3. It's still novel, fun, and exciting for the little ones. We'll pick the 3 that we think is the best fit and the best use of your time. We tour all of the homes every week and you can be sure we are only going to show your family the houses that best meet your needs- location, condition, and budget all being taken into consideration.
Work with an Agent that understands Kids
I've seen and done it all. Diaper change in the backseat, check. Pit stop for nursing mom, check. Flower gathering while Mom and Dad take final measurements, check. I'm an expert at multi-tasking. (I'm a mom after all!) I know how to get down on their level and keep them occupied while simultaneously working with you to come up with the best plan of action to get your offer accepted. Being a parent, I also understand there are the cries for attention and the Def-Com 10 cries which mean there's actual real injury involved. If buyers are ok talking over the cries for attention, there's no judgement from me! On the other side, I also know there will be real moments when the kids come first and house-hunting may need to be postponed.
Our Crazy Brood. Micha. Our Crazy Brood. Leo. Our Crazy Brood. Lilly.
Having kids also gives us an advantage because we know the schools! Whether you're looking for the best-rated schools, after school care options, dual immersion programs, or a sense of community we can show you strengths (and weaknesses) of most of the schools in Santa Cruz County. Plus, we donate $500 to the school of your choice at the successful close of escrow to start you off with a warm welcome.
Especially with young children in carseats, it's ok to play tag with your partner. Often, parents spend more time unbuckling and buckling their kids into car seats than they do actually looking at a home. It's ok to leave the kids in the car with your partner and then "tag" the other when it's time. Trust me, your sleeping infant won't be disappointed they didn't see the hardwood floors or crown moulding.
When looking at homes that are occupied, this can be an especially useful tool as well. You'll be less worried about the kids climbing on furniture or the possibility of breaking something. If leaving them in the car is not an option, having them play in the backyard also works well.
Relax. Children are resilient and they're tough. So take a cue from them and approach your house-hunt with the same enthusiasm and energy. All will be well when you're in good, professional hands.
Aimee Thayer-Garcia is a Real Estate Broker Associate at Bailey Properties. She is a Top-Producing Agent and practices Real Estate full time with her husband, Angel Garcia. Mom of 3. 831-435-9146. ATGarcia@BaileyProperties.com