Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Real Estate & Kids

Summer is typically the time families make the ‘big’ move. Whether across town, across state, or across the country; it can be a stressful time for all. Here are a few helpful tips I have come across over time.

Get a Head Start.

Before the family comes to town for a house hunting trip, provide them resources on activities and schools to start narrowing down potential neighborhoods.
And, don’t forget the kids. Help them get excited too. Ask their parents what the kids like to do and send a list of entertainment centers and parks that might be relevant. Send local treats or an age appropriate book on the area as well… these small, inexpensive gestures will make a world of difference to the kids who may feel overlooked during these hectic times.

Expect Kids.

House hunting trips in the summer can often mean kids in tow. Confirm beforehand whether they will be along for the ride and if so, involve them in the hunt!
Chances are they are a little nervous about the move and may not have been house hunting before. Some tips to make house hunting with kids a fun experience for all!

1. A Planned Day is a (relatively) Peaceful Day.

Map out the route, the time in the car, and the number of houses you plan to see that day and ask the parents to review the schedule. They know their kids the best. If they know the kids need a snack around 10 a.m. you can schedule accordingly. Remember, GPS is your friend. Have it handy so you can quickly find convenience stores and potential potty stops.

2. Keep Kids in the Know.

Let them know how many houses will be seen and what to expect from the day. It can be frustrating being a kid and not knowing what’s ahead. Give them a tick sheet so they can see what’s coming up. Older kids can rate the houses as they visit them.

3. Entertain & Excite.

Keep kids busy and excited about the move. Have the kids draw or color pictures of the house after they look at it. Keep some paper and some colored pencils and crayons available. And be prepared. Accidents can happen.

4. Take a Break.

Not only for the kids, but it’s awfully helpful for the parents too. Looking at several houses in a row can get overwhelming. Stop at a park or a family friendly snack shop. Let the kids’ burn off some energy and regroup with the parents. What are their feelings so far? Have they refined their wish list based on what they’ve seen? How are the kids holding up? Reassess the remaining schedule and see if a few houses can be crossed off the list; or, if there’s time for just one or two more visits, prioritize and plan for tomorrow.

Leverage Resources.

Once the house has been found, the offer has been accepted, and it’s a done deal, this is when the real work starts for most families. They need to notify friends, determine job transitions, arrange for school enrollment, familiarize themselves with the new neighborhood, etc.
This is another point in their relocation where you as their REALTOR can provide additional value.

Refer your clients to resources that can help them save time and money. The Move Advocate, for example, is a free program that reduces the time, expense and uncertainty when planning and executing a long distance move of household goods.

The Move Advocate does the homework for your clients to find the best, most reputable van lines to meet their needs; arranges multiple estimates; and ensures the process goes smoothly.
In addition, because of the volume of moves managed by the Move Advocate, they have the clout to ensure aggressive pricing and attentive customer service from the van lines.

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget the kids. Help them accept their new home and the adventure that awaits them. Give them a closing gift of their own to keep them excited about the move. A toy truck and miniature furniture is a unique idea, or even an activity book about the move is sure to be appreciated.

With a little advanced planning, a family relocation can be a fun adventure for the parents, kids, and their realtor.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI
2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

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