Shopping for a home with your family can be both exciting and challenging all at the same time. Depending on how old your kids are you may want to consider involving them in parts of the home buying process. You don’t necessarily need to bring them along to every home on your preview list, maybe just the top picks.  If you do bring your kids along or want them to be involved in the entire process that’s great, here are a few tips to keep in mind when house hunting with kids.

Talk with Your Kids About Moving

Talking with your kids and involving them in the process as soon as you start to think about moving is always a good idea. Moving may impact everyone in the family differently and can be stressful, especially for children. Be sure to involve your kids and talk with them about why you’d like to move, the benefits of moving, the excitement, and fear, etc. The more you understand any concerns your kids may have the better you can address them throughout the home buying process. Remember kids have their roots, memories, and friends too, and may be more sensitive about the idea of moving than you realize.

When to Involve Your Kids in the Process

You might consider sitting down with your kids and checking out some online home listings together. Ask your kids for their input while you are looking at the homes. Discover what they like or don’t like about the homes you are looking at.  Ask older kids to research nearby schools, parks and other attractions on their tablets or phones.  Or ask them to create a list of must-have features and let them check the online listing to see if the home has them. It is a good idea to drive through some of the neighborhoods and homes you are considering so you can explore the community together as a family and see if you like it before you consider previewing any homes. All these things can help kids feel like they are part of the process.

Don’t Drag Them to Every House

It might not be best to bring your kids to every home you’d like to preview. If you’ve done your homework with your kids in advance, you’ll know what your family’s needs are and can take those into consideration as you are looking. Once you’ve narrowed down the search to the top two or three homes then consider bringing the kids along. A good reason for this is that you wouldn’t want anyone in the family to get emotionally attached to a particular home until you are actually serious about buying it.

Involve the Kids When the Timing is Right

After you’ve narrowed down your top favorites it may be time to involve the kids and take them along to a second showing. It’s during this time you’ll want to ask them for their input. Also, you may want to consider discussing which rooms might be theirs but help them understand that you will be making the final decision. Again, you’ll want to be sure to talk openly about a move and its impacts on your kids. Teens especially may find it more difficult to switch schools and may be concerned about leaving their friends and having to make new friends if they will be attending a new school.  

Keep Entertained During the Showing

You’ll want to be prepared to keep your kids entertained so you can focus and talk with the real estate agent and go over any questions you may have. Bring iPads, their favorite games, books, etc. to help keep them entertained. Also, consider giving them a job while you are looking at a house. For example, have them look for the features that were most important to your family when you were doing your online search. If they find a feature, have them check it off a list. Maybe they’d like to test their photography skills if they are old enough and take some pictures that you can go back and look at later. If you feel like the kids may be a distraction and could prevent you from talking with the realtor about important features of the homes you are previewing, then you may want to consider leaving them at home for now.

It is possible to house hunt with kids; you’ll just want to understand your family’s limits. Also, be sure to make it an adventure and find something fun and new you can check out as a family while you are looking in a particular area. The key to successful house hunting with kids is to make sure you’ve done your homework and find ways to keep everyone entertained in the process.