While searching for a new house can be exciting, it can also be stressful. You could end up touring dozens of houses before you find the right fit, and you may face uncertainty about your financial future, all while trying to juggle your personal responsibilities and potentially selling your existing house.
If you have kids while searching for a new home, all the stress and tension get ratcheted up. Your kids will likely be stressed and tired throughout the experience, and they may not be cooperative when touring new houses. If they don’t like the idea of moving in the first place, they may be even more reluctant to comply with the process and behave.
So how can you manage a new home search with kids?
Set Expectations Proactively
Your first goal is to set expectations proactively, through a series of conversations. Make sure your children are equipped with all the knowledge and perspective they need to understand the home buying process and what their role during that process will be.
- The process. Children tend to get antsy and frustrated when they don’t understand what’s going on. Buying a house may seem like an adult responsibility that children can’t really comprehend below a certain age, but you should still do your best to explain what the process is like. It’s also a valuable learning opportunity that can fill them with perspective and new knowledge. You can teach them the basics of home loans, explain the importance of choosing the right neighborhood, and talk about your plans for the house. The more your children understand, the more engaged they’re going to be throughout the process.
- The timeline. Make sure your children understand that this is a big decision that’s going to impact your future for many years to come. Impatient and inexperienced children may falsely believe that you can find a new house in a matter of hours, or that this home search will be a one-day experience. In reality, it will likely take weeks before you find the perfect home, and if you’re a bit unlucky, it could take months.
- Behavioral expectations. It’s also a good idea to set behavioral expectations. How do you expect your children to speak and act throughout this process? For example, do you need them to avoid running in the house as you’re touring? Are they expected to sit still when you’re meeting with your real estate agent? Be clear about the behavior you expect, the rewards for exceeding those expectations, and the consequences for violating those expectations.
Make Your Kids Actively Involved in the Process
Your kids won’t be able to help you make major financial decisions or negotiate a better deal, but they can be actively involved in the process in other ways. Anything you do to make the child feel like they’re a part of the system will give them confidence and help them feel more patient. If you have older children, you can talk to them about what they would like to see in the new house and task them with exploring different parts of the houses you’re touring to cover more ground quickly. If you have smaller children, you can give them trivial tasks like counting the number of windows in the house.
Make It Fun and Exciting
It may feel like your home search is a bit of a chore, especially if you have energetic kids in tow, but it’s your responsibility to make this project as fun and exciting as possible.
- Setting a better example. Kids will look to you as an example, whether you like it or not. Make sure you exemplify the type of attitude and behavior you want them to model. For example, you can feign excitement and talk about how fun it is to tour houses, even when you’re sick of it deep down.
- Games and challenges. Add specific games and challenges to the home searching experience to keep kids occupied. For example, you can play a game of “I Spy” to scout the neighborhood for peculiarities, or give your kids a checklist of all the things you’re looking for in a home and have them fill it out.
- Imagination experiments. Try to stimulate your children’s imagination. Ask them how they would like to transform this house, or the wackiest ways they could use each individual room. It will help them bond with each new property and keep them creatively stimulated.
Understand Your Wants and Needs
What are you looking for in your next house? You may have a general idea, but you’re going to need a very specific list if you want this process to go smoothly. Write down all the needs that you have, including the features of the house and the price you’re willing to pay. Then, write down a list of all the wants that would be nice to have but that aren’t necessary for your purchase.
This way, you can almost immediately rule out most properties because they don’t meet your list of criteria. If a property does seem like a good fit, you can instantly tell, and begin the process of moving forward. The bottom line here is that each house tour will go much quicker, with less time for conversation and debate – keeping impatient kids satisfied.
Avoid Wasting Time
This should go without saying but avoid wasting time. Before touring a house in person, check out photos of the house online to get a sense of what it’s like. If you need time to consider your decision, leave the property and move on. Keep your conversations as concise and brief as possible.
Are you looking for some expert help in your Katy, Texas home search? It pays to have an experienced advisor on your side who’s familiar with the area. That’s why Green Residential exists – we have seasoned real estate agents all over Texas waiting to help you (and your kids) find your dream home. Contact us today!