You’ve made a list of everything you’re looking for in your dream home. You’ve scoured Zillow and Trulia. You’ve made a “must-see” list from the houses your Realtor has sent for a Saturday full of showings. You are ready to jump into the car for the challenging task of house hunting. There’s just one problem: What to do with the kids?
Babysitters are expensive and you may not have family in town. With careful thought and planning, it IS possible to look at homes with kids in tow!
Finding your dream home can be an enjoyable family task if you follow these tips:
Choose a Realtor who understands family life. Your Realtor should plan the showing schedule keeping in mind your family’s schedule. Be sure to let your Realtor know if you are bringing your children and talk through the schedule that’s best for you. [Moms: You know what that really means: Don’t attempt to look during nap times or meal/snack times.]
Narrow Your Options
Narrow your options even before you start looking through the listings your Realtor provides. Ask for a detailed version of the listing and consider the qualities of each house. If a home shows four bedrooms, consider if all the bedrooms are on one floor. Think through if you want your kids all on one level or split. If all on on level is the answer then eliminate the home that has split bedrooms.
Do the Drive-By Test
Drive by your “must-sees” ahead of time. Does the home back to a busy street? Is the yard what you’re looking for? Many homes can be eliminated from your list just by driving by.
Realtors like to drive their clients from one property to the next as this allows time to discuss while in the car. If you are bringing your kids, plan to to drive yourself and simply follow your Realtor. Following behind allows the kids to be in their own environment and you are able to bring books, movies, and snacks to keep them occupied.
Plan to visit no more than four or five homes at a time. Schedule yourself plenty of time in between houses. You never know when you might have to make an unexpected pit stop for food or a diaper blowout.
Bring a Friend
Bring a friend (grandparent, aunt, babysitter) along to entertain the kids in the car. Or walk the kids around the block while you look. Bring a bag of games or coloring books to keep the kids occupied.
This goes with or without little ones in tow. Be on time for the showing, and leave your shoes at the door (wear socks and remember that slip-on shoes are the best). Keep the kids close by. Not all properties will be set up in a family friendly manner. Ask the Realtor if the home has pets so little ones are aware a strange dog or cat shouldn’t be touched.
Trust Your Heart
If a house does not meet your standards, don’t stay and look. You are usually able to tell pretty quickly if the house will be “home.” Pick what is important to you and go with homes that match how you live. If it doesn’t fit your life or family, move on to the next house. It will most likely be more promising.
All in all, house hunting with kids is not easy, but it IS possible to find the home that fits your family!
“Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring, of all earthly establishments.” – Channing Pollock
Meet Guest Blogger Ingrid Williams
Ingrid Williams is a mom of five and a licensed Realtor for Re/Max. Several of our DMMB families and readers have had the honor of working with her, and she is highly recommended in our community! In the last two months, Ingrid has helped three of our DMMB team members sell/buy homes.
To receive amazing monthly coupons and/or real estate advice, contact her at [email protected] and she’ll add you to her monthly email list. She will provide a FREE home analysis and help you determine the perfect time for your family.