By Dave Twombly
There are many things that come along with having a baby. In addition to the every day amazement that new parents experience (and the sleepless nights, diapers, worrying, joy, humility, etc.) comes, as I mentioned in my previous post, stuff. Lots of stuff. Unfortunately, the stuff has to go somewhere. Regardless of whether you live in a condo in Cambridge or a mansion in Medford, you’ll notice the place is getting smaller as you accumulate all of that “necessary” stuff. So, it’s time to buy a bigger house.
It was easier in the old (pre-baby) days. Everything was easier. If you wanted to line up a bunch of houses to go check out on a Saturday, you just picked the houses, hopped in the car and went to go find your dream home. There’s an open house in Cambridge at 11:30 am and another at 2 pm in Arlington Heights? No problem. We’ll hang out, take our time and grab lunch in between. We’ll make a day of it. Right?
Well my new-parent friends, those days are gone. Finding the house you want just got a wee bit harder. If you are like me, (and I promise you, it gets easier) it takes at least 45 minutes just to get out of the house. You have to collect all of the items you’ll need to go on this journey to the next town over. Now you have to think about things like “can we make a 2 pm Open House when nap time is usually at 2:30”? Do we take the baby out of the car seat to go into the house? Do we divide and conquer? What about actually viewing the house? That car seat gets heavy going up and down those stairs but you’ve gotta see that furnished basement with the Man Cave of your dreams and the master suite in the converted attic with the whirlpool tub.
Now, I know first hand that Grandma isn’t going to be available to watch the baby every weekend a good house comes along that you want to see. (Wouldn’t it be better if life worked that way?) So how do you navigate this? Be exacting and have a good agent.
As you know, the time you have to accomplish things (and that’s anything: laundry, grocery shopping, taking the garbage out) when you have a baby is precious and fleeting. So you have to use it wisely. When scoping out potential houses to see, remember: Baby don’t like ‘maybe’. Instead of the four Open Houses, with two houses that you aren’t so sure about but “could” work, stick to the two that look like good matches. Use a discerning eye. If there is something is on your list of negatives that you see, don’t waste time going in. Head on to the next one.
A good agent should know what your likes, and more importantly dislikes are, and can preview a house for you. You find a perfect listing and your agent previews it realizing that you are going to bump your head going down the stairs for the next 30 years…off the list! Your agent reports back that the idyllic looking nursery is actually above the garage and knows it will be noisy and cold? Off the list! The house looks great but your agent points out all of the lead paint with which you are going to have to deal? (An extremely expensive and time consuming project) Off the list!
Be precise and make your agent work for you! You can have a baby AND still find the right house for you. It just might be a little harder.
But hey, maybe you have one of those babies who sleeps all the time and will stay knocked out during your entire housing search, rendering this post meaningless! (Yes, that was me muttering under my breath about how lucky you are).