Buying a new home can be as stressful or as fun as you make it. When my husband and I were in the process of buying our new home, we chose torally the whole family and make the entire process an event. By doing so, we were less stressed, the kids were more excited and the whole thing went as smoothly as possible. Yes, there were a few hiccups, but, in general, that time in our lives is one we look back on fondly. Here’s how we managed to make choosing a home, buying a home and moving house a family affair.
The devil is often in the details so we chose to get over this hurdle in the very beginning. Rather than falling in love with a house we couldn’t afford, my husband and I got pre-approval from our mortgage lender. Once we knew exactly how much house we could afford, the searching process became fun rather than tedious.
Make a Wish Jar
On the first Saturday night after we had secured financing, my husband, myself and our ten and eight year old sat around the kitchen table and made wishes. We asked our children to write their wishes for the new house on colorful pieces of paper and put them in the wish jar. We told the children their wishes could be anything; from the color of their new room to the size of the yard.
Once the jar was full, my husband and I pulled out and read the wishes aloud, one-by-one. We discussed the wishes as a family and decided what was reasonable and what was whimsical. The wish for a swing-set was reasonable; the wish for “a big red barn with room for five ponies” was whimsical.
As a family, we compiled our list of what our dream home would look like and what it would contain using our reasonable wishes. With list in hand, we spent Sunday in front of the computer, house hunting. While we could have spent the day going to open-houses, we thought the kids would quickly lose patience and we would quickly lose our minds. Instead, we chose to shop online and create a short-list.
With a list of the five homes that made the cut, my husband and I dropped the kids off at Grandma’s and headed to open houses, cameras in hand. As we were walking through the various houses we took photos of each room and the front
and back yards.
When we were through, we grabbed the kids, had a drive-thru feast and went home to upload the photos. We then sat with the kids and asked for their opinions on the photos we had taken. Taking a photo tour of each home helped us cut our short list down to two.
Because we knew we would be choosing between the two, we were comfortable taking the kids with us and asking for their input on each house. We got some good opinions and ones that were utter nonsense but, in the end, the children were actually helpful. Our final choice, made as a family, was a great home that we all enjoy together.
While I’m sure that this process sounds a bit idyllic, it really did work out well. By involving our kids in the buying process, the move was more exciting for them. Changing schools caused a bit of anxiety, as it does with all children, but my husband and I firmly feel that by engaging our children in the home buying process we made a major decision as a family and, for us, that’s what it’s all about.
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