Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Should Kids Come Along to Look at Houses?

Should Kids Come Along to Look at Houses?

I get asked a lot if it's ok if kids can come along on showings. What am I going to say, no?  However, I do let the buyers know what the process is going to be like and how it's so much harder with kids.

First, kids, no matter what age, usually only last for about 3 houses. If you have 5, 6, or 10 houses to see that day, do you really think you can concentrate if you have to constantly listen to kids ask, "Are we done yet?"

Second, no matter how "well behaved" your child is, they're never well behaved enough to not run around a vacant house or not touch something in an occupied house. Kids just don't really see those boundaries. And if the sellers are home, any child not their own is never well behaved!

buyers looking at housesThird, as someone who might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on one of these houses, you're not able to focus on the houses and really give the houses the attention they deserve because you're worrying about which way your kid(s) ran and if they're inside or outside, or if they're upstairs or downstairs...

Buying a house is a very emotional thing for most buyers, and it's best to have focus. Kids can be a distraction.

With that, what do you do with the kids? Most of my buyers look at houses during the day when their kids are in school. But you work? Well, when do you go to the dentist or doctor appointments? They aren't around in the evenings because they're home with their families. You schedule first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or towards the end of the day before you have to pick up your kids, right? Who wants their kids running around a waiting room while you're in your appointment?

Think the same thing for house hunting. A house purchase is a huge purchase. Why can't you go into work at 10am instead of 8:30? Why can't you leave for lunch to look at houses? Why can't you leave work at 3:30pm to see a couple? Many of my clients take an hour or two out of their day to view houses instead of waiting until the weekend when they have nothing to do with the kids except bring them along.

Yes, there are exceptions. Sometimes there is just nothing that can be done with the kids. For those situations, I say we need to limit the amount of houses we look at. You need to bring an ipad or coloring books or some activity for them to play with in the car. You need to bring them LOTS of snacks.

I remember some buyers I worked with a few years ago who brought their 5 kids along. They were in town for a 3 day house hunt, and we looked at 14-17 houses each day. The kids ranged from 3 months to 16 years old. How long do you think it took to get through those houses? This was before the ipad and smart phones...

Please leave your kids at school, with a babysitter, with a friend or family member, or bring someone along who can stay with them in the car. They will distract you and you can get back to your kids faster without them looking with us. Plus, no parents need their kid(s)'s approval on the house picked as it's not their money!!


**Are You Packed Yet?**

donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
Regent Property Group

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

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*Should Kids Come Along to Look at Houses?
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Comment balloon 31 commentsDonna Harris • October 16 2013 11:49AM


I'm fine with children on our, or not. 

They're a family and it's often important to them that they look as a family.

I raised 5 children.  I can totally ignore them.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Hi Lenn, And/But totally ignoring them can also be the problem because the kids are running around with no one (but me) telling them over and over again to not touch things... and no, those aren't our toys...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 5 years ago

Harris:  Besides the more obvious reasons, I would think it would just be easier in so many ways on the parents themselves if the kids were not along.  And faster to view multiple homes.  You're right though.  That's not always possible.  In those instances, just be prepared as a parent ... and make the best of it ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 5 years ago

I agree, it's better, esp up front to not have any distractions.  I could see it working if it's a 2nd look around or deciding between 2, if it comes down to that, and if they are well behaved.  I agree, that focus is important.   - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) about 5 years ago

I get stressed with my 5-year old in my ear and I'm trying to hang up with a telemarketer. I couldn't imagine having them hound me in a house buying circumstance! Great advice, hear, hear!

Posted by Kristi Knutson, Blog Trainer ☂ about 5 years ago

Gene, It takes a lot longer. Many times, the parents are ready to leave, and we're waiting and waiting for the kids to reappear. I can only do so much with my 2 eyes and 2 arms...

Debbie, Maybe for a 2nd showing or during the inspection period, but initial view isn't necessary for their input.

Kristi, I understand!! I have a 5 and 2 year old...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 5 years ago

Not an easy answer to that question Donna, sometimes three houses works, sometimes it can be a pain throughout however many houses you look at. In the end the kids live there too.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 5 years ago

It is always a difficult question because some of your arguments raise a parent's hackles as if you're calling their parenting ability into question.  Not disagreeing with you or saying your point is invalid (I agree with you actually) - it is simply imperative to allow them to make the decision as to whether or not they bring their children.  Point out the obvious and leave them to make the decision - if they insist on bringing the children limit the number of houses per day (which I do with every buyer children or not).  My buyers aren't allowed to see more than 5 in a day (relocation visits obviously the exception). 

Posted by Jim Beitz (Keller Williams Success Realty) about 5 years ago

Your followup blog should address agents that bring their kids to the showing...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) about 5 years ago

Great topic here, Donna!  Of course it depends on the age of the children and length of time you'll be out.  Now we all want our kids to see their new home but that can always be arranged after the fact.

Posted by Matt Kombrink, Your #1 Source For Real Estate (RE/MAX All Pro) about 5 years ago

It just happened to me two days ago. I shown a house to a young couple with a 3 years old daughter. The father  fall in love with the house, however the little girl said "NO, I didn't like it" . So the mother go along with the daughter. We are still looking.... 


Posted by Kwee Huset, Venice Florida Homes For Sale (Kwee Huset Realty) about 5 years ago

Donna, adding kids to the home search equation can certainly lead to unexpected outcomes at times. You happened to mention iphones and ipads in your blog-- these could be a great resource for those who have to bring their kids along. Another thought is to make a simple sort of game out of the situation. For example, offer them a scavenger hunt (with rules) that keep them focused on an activity. And although I agree that parents don't need their kids' approval, it's always a good idea to consider kids stakeholders too considering that they will also be living there. Thanks for the great blog.


Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) about 5 years ago

It's nice when they ask in advance.  At least I can brace myself.  I, personally, have had unsupervised children run amok.  But I'm not the babysitter and not responsible.  Since their parents are on-site, the duty falls on the parent to provide the watchful eye, not me.  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 5 years ago

What a fantastic blog, i just had this issue and you have some great answers and tips. 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

They can be a distraction, but often times they do more selling to their parents than I do.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) about 5 years ago

In the best case, the answer would be no.  I think they become too much of a distraction.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 5 years ago

Donna: I could use this post on a listing presentation, since it is so on the money and says volumes on how to prepare a buyer to show them homes. It is the buyer's most important purchase and it has to be treated as such by all parties. Thanks,  Jim

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 5 years ago

Gary, They will live there, but they shouldn't have an opinion until they make the mortgage payment. If mom and dad like it, that's what's important.

Jim, I rather show 7-8 houses and get them under contract than show them 2 separate days. My average buyer buys within 5.74 houses they see.

Tim, Probably!!

Matt, Age really doesn't matter. The 5 year olds complain about as much as the 15 year olds...

Kwee, Makes no sense. Kids either like every house or none of them.

Ralph, Good points.

Carla, Most of mine don't ask. I ask them and they think the answer is obvious until we have the talk. I also want to be prepared with carseats.

Scott, Thanks!

Bob, Really?

Kathy, Exactly!

Jimmy, Thank you!!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 5 years ago

I don't have an issue with it. Don't have an issue saying no to a child also. Just part of the deal.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 5 years ago

I have been lucky this year that any buyers I work with have had great well behaved kids. I have also been lucky that the kids have added to how happy the house hunting is so I view them as a real asset. However, I can in my 24 years remember some horror stories so i guess this is just part of the job.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 5 years ago

It's best for buyer to find someone to take care of kids that are very young.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 5 years ago

Donna, to me it is up to their parents.  The reason being is that a house can be very important to kids as well  I also know that I have some parents who need/want to be able to focus because of the age of kids and being able to multi-task with looking at houses is difficult.  Touchy subject and I think that is also an answer that is diffierent for everyone depending on their situation.

Posted by Kelly Young, Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126 (The Platinum Group Realtors) about 5 years ago

I agree that leaving to kids out of the process is best, but that can't always happen Donna.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 5 years ago

Sure if they are well behaved and listen. However, temptation is there to not cooperate...good one here

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

I agree, totally! Having kids tag along is a no win situation, often ending poorly for the buyers, themselves! 

Posted by Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc., 26 years in So. Jersey and the Greater Camden area (Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc.) about 5 years ago

Donna-Good topic and it is interesting to see how parents are able to handle, or not, the control of their children. Some do a great job and others not so well.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) about 5 years ago

I'm a parent first and I really never mind kids coming along for showings.  Frankly unless I have someone only in town for one day I rarely try to show anyone more than 5 or 6 homes... kids or no kids you show too many and they begin to run together and people get tired.  (there are exceptions).  But I've shown buyers with kids of all ages and even people who have brought along their dogs.  I just accommodate.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 5 years ago

Of course it's easier often without kids, but I also find that they get excited about homes and the parents can visualize the family in a new home. I never mind if they come, but if I were looking at homes for myself, I'd leave small kids at home. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) about 5 years ago

Donna a great blog and a situation that we all have run into. Suggested.

Posted by Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate, Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties (RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales) about 5 years ago

Every situation is different.  I think that kids can be an asset.  Since I deal primarily with relocation buyers, there is no one to watch the kids as they are new to the area.  We just plan for it.  We allow for breaks at the parks, weather permitting, snacks, movies, coloring books, and involving them in the process.  I find it to be a rewarding experience in getting to know the kids as well as the parents.  But that is me.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) almost 5 years ago

Yes, home shopping with children can be a challenge. But timing is
everything. Avoiding periods when kids are feeling tired and hungry can help.

Posted by Jill Penman, Coconut Grove & Coral Gables Lifestyle Expert! (ONE SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY) almost 5 years ago