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Should Kids Help House Hunt?

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Momlogic's Vivian: About to relocate? Don't forget to mine the expertise you have right there in-house. According to a New York Times article, more and more children are taking an active role in the scoping out of new digs when their parents decide to move.

family looking at new home

The article talks about how a high school freshman and her 9-year-old sister took such an active role in their mom's search for a city apartment, they were able to intelligently consider many aspects of each place -- from layout complications that would prevent kitchen chatter to privacy considerations when their brothers came to visit.

Their mom thought their involvement was important, not only because she valued their input, but because she thought it would ease their transition from the suburbs. To this end, she said of involving her kids, "If you're making a huge change like we did, the culture shock could be devastating."

A New York real estate agent recounted how 11- and 12-year-old sisters asked some seriously pertinent questions at an open house. Another mentioned how a European dad had brought his teenagers along to help calculate monthly expenses.

When asked whether including children in this kind of hefty decision making encourages or stresses them, Lisa Spiegel, co-director of the parent-counseling center Soho Parenting, said she thought "open housing" was a great way to teach teens about money, but cautioned parents against putting younger kids to the task. "Parents sometimes don't see the disservice they are doing to their families," she said. "It doesn't take into consideration the mind of a child."

Do you think asking your child's opinion when home shopping is a good idea, or a bad one? Have any of you ever asked your kids for advice when picking out a new place? And if you did, how did it go?

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Melanie September 29, 2010, 12:44 PM

My family moved twice when I was growing up. The first time my sister and I were 6 and 9 but our brother was 12. My parents took him on a house hunting trip while my sister and I stayed with friends. When it was time to move 5 years later my parents let my sister and I take a very active roll in the house hunt. We looked at houses in each town and had appointments at the schools to meet with the principals and have tours. My parents were trying to find the right town and school. Having an active part made the transition a lot easier and gave us some ownership in the whole process. I ended up with a great appriciation for real estate as well and I ended up getting my real estate liscence at 22yrs old.

Heather September 29, 2010, 1:35 PM

I only moved once when I was younger, and to this day I wish I had had input on it. Though the yard was large, it was in town, and the house was pretty old. I would like to say I’d give my daughter a say in our next home, but if it goes the way we like, not only will she be too young, but we already have the blue print in mind if we can build.

Christina September 29, 2010, 3:40 PM

We have not solicited our 3 years old twin boys’ advice, but we did take them with us while we were hunting for a new home in Chicago. We found that the way they reacted to and interacted with the various places we viewed extremely helpful when it came time to make a decision.

As a child, my parents moved regularly due to job relocations. The transitions definitely went MUCH more smoothly when my brother and I were involved in the house-hunting process.

Sara September 29, 2010, 4:15 PM

I didn’t even take my husband house hunting when we bought our last two houses. :)

If it was possible to take my daughter househunting with me when we move again I would, as least for the final stages.

Trey September 29, 2010, 5:30 PM

Once we’ve sorted out a couple houses and have a short list, I think that’s a great idea. Prior to the final two or three taking the kids could simply slow things down.

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