Remember the last time you had a family discussion about where you’d be going out for dinner? For even the happiest, most cordial family, such a simple question can quickly become a debate. Whenever you get a group of people together, there’s probably going to be some difficulty getting everyone to agree- or even be willing to compromise. If this sounds like your family, then you might be worried about trying to find a new home that meets everyone’s needs.

It’s a fact of life, that as a family, your needs can quickly change. Perhaps there’s a new kiddo on the way, a new job offer on the other side of town, or maybe Junior is switching schools as they start the next grade. Families are always finding reasons why their “forever home” might not last them as long as initially planned. When the day comes that you have to start searching for a new home, it can really pay dividends to make sure everyone in the family is on the same page. Good communication and a healthy showing of respect can go a long way in keeping everyone calm and cool under the collar while you discuss what’s right for the next step in your family’s future. Getting everyone involved could even be fun! While you may not want to bring them to open houses, they can still feel like they’re involved. A family that can work together is a family that sticks together- and makes the entire moving process so much easier.

Here are some tips worth trying:

  • Have a Family Meeting – all relationships, even those in a family, are built around clear and effective communication. Depending on the age of your family, the traditional “Family Meeting” may not necessarily be sitting around the kitchen table for a discussion. A group chat is a great way for everyone to stay connected to one another and discuss concerns or ideas publicly, where everyone in the family is free to see them. Building this open line of communication is a good idea even after buying a new home!
  • Make a List – In the spirit of giving everyone a say, start by having everyone in the family make a list of the top three features they want in a new home. This will give everyone a chance to see what their top priorities are. For some, they may want specific additions- like a pool. Others may want to stay in a single-story home and avoid needing to maneuver up and down stairs. By doing this, you can see where wants may overlap between different family members, providing good information you can use down the road to better explain why you made the final decision that you made.
  • Be Understanding – Purchasing a house is a big financial decision for adults, but for kids, it can be every bit as overwhelming. Your kids could be super excited: maybe the idea of having a backyard means they’ll finally have space for a pet. Maybe they’re concerned about moving far away from friends or having to start at a new school. That’s why it’s important to listen to everyone’s list of wanted features, and try to get a better understanding of why they might want them. Who knows- maybe you can find ways to accommodate their wants without having to find a home that has a specific feature. If you have a child who really likes to go swimming, it might make more sense to visit a community pool instead of having to purchase a home with a pool and then maintaining it. For others, they might want to be closely located to popular shopping or social destinations. This is something you can keep an eye out for when searching for homes- finding one with good walking or public transport access could be equally effective solutions.
  • Manage Expectations – As an adult, it’s your reasonability to explain what the realistic expectations are for your family’s next home. While the kids might not understand concepts like having to pay monthly expenses or the desire to be nearby to where you work, you can be up front and do your best to find compromises and accommodations for what everyone wants. This is when you explain the difference between everyone’s wants and the practical needs. If you need to be located near the heart of the city, then it may not be practical to expect finding a spacious backyard. In part, that’s why it’s so important for everyone in the family to share what they want- If Mom wants a Jacuzzi tub and dad wants a garage workshop, then the kids might understand that even mom and dad might need to compromise to make sure everyone’s needs are met in the new house.
  • No Perfect Solutions – Finding a house that meets your needs and budget can be tough enough without needing to find a long list of other features that everyone’s dreamed up… but you never know what you’re going to find out on the market. While it may be difficult to find a home that fits everyone’s wants, you can work to find somewhere that will make everyone at least a little happy. The most important thing is that nobody feels left out. Everyone deserves to be heard.

Long before you start packing or loading moving trucks, start by opening a line of communication with your family to get a better understanding of how everyone feels about moving. It can certainly be an emotional process, both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. By giving everyone a chance to voice their thoughts, you can help find a better list of what to look for out on the market, and could mean you find the perfect home for your family to start making new memories in- today and for years to come!