House hunting with baby, like everything else with baby, is an art form with equal parts patience, research and patience. And then you have to juggle baby and patience.
Although we haven’t yet bought a house, I’ve found the following things helpful:
- A patient agent. Or at least one who is willing to act patient and wait while you change another diaper.
- Lots of research and clarity on your priorities so you can narrow the field before driving around all day.
- Plenty of time. We devote about 5 hours at a time to looking, expect to only see 4-5 houses. That’s it, likely for the month.
- Make peace with the amount of time you’ll spend getting baby in and out of the car seat.
- Take turns carrying/baby corralling.
- Make peace with feeding in the car parked in the driveway. Feed baby, then go in and join the others already inside.
- Build a diaper changing station in the trunk/backseat of your car.
- Don’t let baby play in the house or yard, no matter how antsy she is. Especially if the home is vacant, you don’t know what’s on the floor.
- Play with baby while you’re out of the car. Try to make something fun for her!
- If baby is sleeping, let her sleep! Take turns looking at the house.
- Bring water and a snack. Extra stops are difficult!
- Bring special toys for baby to play with in the car – ideally something she hasn’t seen before.
- If she’s fussy, ride in the back with her.
We have found a house we like, we’re debating about making an offer. It’s a great house, has been recently flipped so is in good (aesthetic) condition. It doesn’t need any immediate work but has some room for improvement which would benefit us for later resale.
Making the leap is hard. I can’t act on the fact that I like the house, I have to calculate and obsess and turn it into a rational long-term financial decision. It’s in a great neighborhood, but nor our favorite neighborhood. It will involve a commute, but is convenient to any of the major metro areas. People tell me that when you walk into the house you’ll just know… and I wanted to live in that house when I walked into it, but buying it is a whole other thing.
Now I wish I had some tips for house buying with baby.