So, here are some tips from a pro:
- We found 3 to be the magic number. That's how many houses OUR patience and energy lasted and our son remained somewhat controllable. Every time we shot for the fourth house, it was a disaster.
- Food and drinks often calm the wild beast. We saved the coveted fruit snacks for times of dire need. For older kids - videos, handheld games, paper and pen to make up games.
- If that baby falls asleep in the car, don't you dare wake him/her up! Let 'em sleep and take turns going through the house. No, REALTORS don't think it's weird, and we don't mind.
- Keep a hold on the kids. I still remember the look on my 2 year old's face the first time he saw an un-babyproofed home with more glass to touch than he knew what to do with. Heaven!
Some other tips, not necessarily related to house hunting;
- Bring a change of clothes for the kids. Our older son gets carsick, which we didn't find out until he threw up all over himself and the carseat about an hour away from home. Same goes for diaper blowouts, random nosebleeds, etc.
- Always keep snacks and water in the car. I grew up in Levittown, with a Burger King on every corner. Many areas of Bucks County aren't like that, and you don't want to get caught. (Please note the french fries floating around on your backseat floor don't count. I mean sure, the kids'll eat them in a pinch..... ;)
If you find something you're interested in, my recommendation would be to do a second showing sans kids. Find a babysitter who you'll feel comfortable leaving for a long time so that you can concentrate on the house without feeling rushed, and maybe even go out to dinner afterward to have some uninterrupted conversation about the property.
Want some more tips? I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve, so shoot me an email and I'll share them with you. Or, if you'd like to go shopping with a REALTOR who's "been there and done that" give me a call. I might even have a spare french fry in my own backseat, and I'll buy you a drink afterwards.