Kids say the darndest things. They are also some of the best clients. They are so easy to work with.
Not that they are making any of the big decisions at this point in their lives; however, if they were, the first house we ever walk into would be “the one.”
Unless there is a nasty smell or a bunch of dead animal heads on the walls. In that case, it’s difficult to even get through the front door.
Other than that, any house that is different from theirs is a veritable playground of new opportunity. They walk in, claim the house as their own, and then go pick out their bedroom, which is either the one with the most toys currently residing in it, or the master, since it’s the biggest and can fit more of their own toys in it.
The past several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few different clients who have young children. Inevitably, when I initially meet a client for the first time to show them a home, they immediately apologize for having to bring their children.
Absolutely no apology is necessary. Without the kids, we are simply just a bunch of boring adults talking about the salient or not-so-salient qualities of a home. With the kids, it becomes an extravaganza of entertainment. Sure, it takes a few minutes longer to get the kids in and out of the car and to keep them wrangled and nearby while touring each home, but the nuggets of wisdom that are gleaned from nearly every speaking child I’ve encountered, is well worth it.
Just yesterday I was showing a home to a client with a 5-year-old boy. The seller’s had a fish bowl on display, with two fish swimming around. The boy said, “Look, those fishes are swimming through Karl.”
“You mean the fish’s name is Karl?” I asked.
“No, those fish are swimming through the Karl reef,” he replied. Oh. The coral reef. I get it. That’s a good one.
This brought me back to the time when we were looking for our first home when my oldest daughter was 3. The home we ended up purchasing, was a slightly used two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow built in 1917, with an old converted fireplace in the living room that initially terrified my daughter. After viewing the home for the first time, she later asked me about it in the car. “Mommy, what is the fireplace doing? Getting her shirt on?” And that was the beginning of a long, yet somewhat trepidus relationship.
After moving into the home, she would often invite the fireplace along whenever we were going somewhere. She would squat down in front of it (her), and solicitously ask, “We’re going to the Sunshine (a nearby convenience store), do you wanna come?” I don’t think she really wanted “her” to come though; she was just being nice. When we moved, she never asked about or seemed to miss the fireplace.
Despite what we may think, kids really do play a substantial role in the real estate market. When we think about it, kids are often the reason we move. Whether it is because we run out of space in our current housing situation due to an increase in family size, looking for our kids to go to better-rated schools, or we just want to live in a more family-friendly location, kids are a huge factor in the housing decisions we make.
So, when a 4-year-old kid refuses to go downstairs because she has a “bad feeling about the house,” and we go down to find a pile of evident squatter belongings, perhaps we should give the little curtain climbers a little credibility.
After all, we are most likely making the move for them.