How Seriously Should Parents Take Kids’ Opinions When Searching For a Home?

By Danielle Braff | Chicago Tribune |

In choosing a new home, Camille McClain’s kids had a single demand: a backyard.

That seemingly reasonable request turned the Chicago family’s home hunt upside down, as there weren’t many three-bedroom apartments on the North Side — where the family was looking — that came with yard space. Still, McClain and her husband chose to honor their 4- and 6-year-old’s request.

“We worked with a few apartment brokers, and it was strange that many of them didn’t even know if there was outdoor space, so they’d bring us to an apartment, we’d see that it didn’t have a yard, and we’d move on,” said McClain, who runs Merry Music Makers in Lakeview, a business focused on music education for children.

McClain’s little ones aren’t the only kids who have an opinion when it comes to housing, and in many cases youngsters’ views weigh heavily on parents’ real estate decisions, according to a 2018 Harris Poll survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.

Fifty-five percent of homeowners who have a child under the age of 18 said the opinion of their child factored into their homebuying decision; 74 percent of millennial parents (those between the ages of 18 and 36) listened to their kids’ opinions before they bought their homes.

Renters paid attention to their kids’ preferences even more: 83 percent said their children’s opinions will be a factor when they buy a home.

The most common requests from kiddos? Fifty-seven percent want their own bedrooms; 34 percent want a large backyard; 25 percent want to be close to parks or other activities; 24 percent have an opinion about schools; 24 percent want to be near friends; and 21 percent want a swimming pool, according to the survey, which was commissioned by SunTrust Mortgage.

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