The opinion of more than 55 percent of home buyers’ children was factored into their decision on which home to purchase, according to a Harris Poll survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.
The survey also found that 74 percent of millennial parents – or those aged 36 and below – took their kids’ opinions into consideration when buying a home. And in the case of renters, they pay even more attention to their kids’ opinions, with 83 percent saying they took these into consideration when choosing somewhere to live.
But while the trend might be strong, psychologists and some real estate professionals say parents should be wary of getting their kids involved in these matters. They say that moving is a very big decision, and that getting kids involved in the process might give them a greater sense of control and ownership. On the other hand, children may feel rejected if their parents are unable to meet their demands, said clinical psychologist Ryan Hooper in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
Interestingly, children can play a part in parent’s home buying decisions without actually being asked to make a choice, said Adam Lietman Bailey, a New York real estate attorney and author of children's book “Home”. He said parents can help with this by asking their kids questions about what they’d like, such as where their toys should be stored in the home and what kind of backyard they’d like to play in. Even so, “most parents already know [their kids’] desires and needs,” and “moving decisions are likely at a level above the child’s thinking capacity when choosing a home,” Bailey says.
Santa Clarita, California-based estate professional Tracey Hampson related how one client’s home search was prolonged due to his insistence on asking for his kids’ approval on any home he viewed. The buyer was almost ready to submit an offer on one home with a pool, but then his children started crying. The kids didn’t want a pool, it turned out.
“They ended up not submitting an offer,” Hampson told the Tribune. “So speaking with your children before you make a real estate decision is wise, but I wouldn’t base the purchasing decision solely on their opinions.”
Kids often make very emotional choices, being swayed by home design TV shows or getting stuck on certain values, and will only consider the immediate benefits to them personally, said Aaron Norris of the Norris Group in Riverside, California.
“Their opinions can change tomorrow,” said Julie Gurner, a real estate analyst with FitSmallBusiness.com. “As harsh as it may be to say, this decision should likely not be made contingent on a child’s opinions but rather made with great consideration into what home can meet their needs best. You can give them an opportunity to customize it a bit and make it their own.”