Child experts agree it's a good idea to involve the children when a family makes
relocation plans. You may have mixed feelings about taking the kids
house-hunting, however. (It's hard enough for just two people to decide on a new
home!) Here are a few pointers that may help:
Narrow The Field First
The kids don't need to visit every
potential house on the list. If possible, wait until you've selected two or
three serious prospects before bringing the children along. In any case, limit
your kid-accompanied tours to three houses or less per day.
Provide Behavioral Guidelines
Remind the kids to treat the owners and their property with respect.
Make sure the kids stay in the same room with you at all times and that they
"keep their hands to themselves."
If the owners are present, your family members should also keep their
thoughts about the house to themselves until after you leave the property.
Making positive comments in the presence of the owners could work against you
when negotiating the price, while negative comments could spark a hostile
reaction, causing the owner to sell to another buyer.
Make The Kids Your Secretaries
If they're old enough,
your children can each keep a log of the homes you look at, including detailed
information about the house -- location, size, types and numbers of rooms, etc.
Have them describe they're feelings about the house, too, particularly what they
think it would be like to live there.
Locate The Nearest Playground
A post-tour trip to the
park (or local mall, if you have teenagers) can be a great motivator for good
behavior and a nice way to get to know the area. Walking the streets in the
neighborhood will also give you and the kids a better feeling for the local
lifestyle and whether there are other children the same age as yours in the
Bring along books or games to help
your kids through the "I'm bored" stage. If you'll be driving for extended
periods, bring some audio books or favorite music.
Time Your Tours For Success
Plan to look at houses early
in the day or just after (certainly not during) nap time. Be prepared with snack
foods and drinks to keep energy levels up.
Let Them Know Their Input Counts.
Although the final
decision is yours, your children will feel better about the move if they know
you value what they think about their potential new home and neighborhood.
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