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Leave kids at home during open houses

Have a real estate question? Broker Marjorie Youngren will be conducting a Twitter chat Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Tweet @REMAXMarjorieor @GlobeAddress.

Serious about looking for a home? Don’t take your children with you!

I love my kids, and I know you love yours, but house-hunting is an extremely competitive sport that requires a serious amount of attention. It is distracting enough to be at an open house with other potential buyers, but adding children to the mix can be disastrous, causing you to lose focus and dismiss a home that might be perfect for you.

I was prompted to write this article because of a situation that occurred with two of my buyers, Ricki and Liana, last month. A house came on the market that seemed perfect for them, so we planned to take a look at the first opportunity. They were able to make it to the open house and brought their children, ages 1 and 3.


This particular home had everything on their wish list, but later that night, Liana e-mailed me and said they were going to hold off on making an offer. She said that although she loved the house and felt it was priced right, her husband wasn’t totally sold on it. He said they hadn’t looked at enough homes.

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I knew right away that this was not the real reason. I had watched Ricki chase their son around, while Liana paid the house close attention. Ricki simply had not been able to really “see” the house. He had been too distracted, making sure his son didn’t break anything.

I sent Liana a very nice but assertive response suggesting that they absolutely needed to get back into that home and see it again — without their children. I reminded her how much she loved the house and said I didn’t think Ricki had been able to focus as much as she did because he was just too busy watching their son. I also reminded her of everything this house had to offer.

The next morning she replied, thanking me for my e-mail and stating that her husband admitted that he was somewhat distracted. They got a sitter and met me at the house.

After spending the time to really take in the whole house, they both realized that it would be absolutely perfect for their family. We were then able to focus and strategize on how to put together our offer.


At the end of the day, my buyers got the house and moved in this month. They are thankful that they took the time to go back and look — without their kids.

Marjorie Youngren is a broker at RE/Max Leading Edge in Lynnfield. E-mail your questions to