Choosing A Home Through Your Kids’ Perspective
You might not be alone when you hunt for a move-up house. If you have children who are at least old enough to talk, they are going to want a say in where you live. Even if they are destined to move out of the nest in a year or two, they want a say. They also want a guarantee that their bedrooms will become eternal shrines to their childhood.
Certainly you want to hang on to your adult prerogative to make decisions but you would be wise to at least consider what they have to say. Kids pick up on things adults often miss. You might even give your children some age-appropriate tasks in your house hunt. For example, they might check out the backyard or report on whether the neighbors have barking dogs. Ask them to size up each house in terms of how they would use it. Where would they set up the computer, do homework, work on crafts or hang out with their friends?
Of course listen to the kids but do not let them drive your decision. Kids can be more conservative and resistant to change than the worst adult. Then once the decision is made and they have settled in, they might turn around and say the new house they criticized so vehemently is now the greatest place in the world. They are kids and they do that.
You are the grown-up and grown-ups make all the hard decisions. As the grown-up, you will want to apply your seasoned judgment to the things that will be important to them. The quality of local schools is paramount of course. Other amenities count too. Is the yard fenced? If not and you would like to add a fence after you move in then make sure they are not prohibited by the homeowner’s association or local zoning laws.
While you’re at it, check to make sure the kids’ basketball hoop is not prohibited as well. Are there swimming pools, parks or playgrounds nearby? Can older kids walk or bicycle? Are there hazards nearby like water retention ponds or busy highways? Finally, pay attention to traffic as you drive home from your visit.
Would you and your kids have to cross an intersection every time you left the neighborhood?