Other People's Children - No, Pat! You Can't Hit Them!

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Last week, an agent called to show one of my listings to her buyers, who were coming back to see it for a third time.  Normally, that would be wonderful news, but in this case, I really had to brace myself.

This agent's clients had three children in tow for the first two showings, and it is a huge understatement to say that two of the three were behaving like complete brats. 

My clients had done a very good job of child-proofing the house while preparing to list it.  Anything fragile was put away or put on a very high shelf, and it would have been safe from normal kids.  But not these!

I wasn't there for the first showing.  But on the second, one little boy was making like Spiderman and climbing up a wall of bookcases.  As I was talking him down, his brother managed to light the gas log, then he threw a fist full of pine cones that began to smoke and smell bad.  Their sister wasn't that badly behaved - she was outside slurping water from the bird bath, and at least that was not destructive to the house!

It was like a scene out of Desperate Housewives - showing the place to Lynette and her ADHD brood!

I wanted to throttle the little brats, but Mummy and Daddy are both lawyers, and I'd probably wind up serving 2 to 10 in our local slammer. So I took their agent aside and said the children had to leave the house and play outside during the showing - there's a huge park just behind the place where they could be maniacs without hurting themselves or someone else's property.

The little darlings probably told their parents that I was a mean real estate lady.

And during the third showing, they did play out back in the park. 


And while I tried to work up some empathy for these parents, I just couldn't - even after hitting my "Retry" button!

House hunting can be rough on any small children, and I'm lucky to have clients whose little ones are always well behaved when they come along.  But if you are buyers out looking for your dream house, and if your children are a little, well, energetic, it might be best to leave them with a baby sitter, although these poor parents probably have a hard time finding one who will come back a second time!



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Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

Which is the reason I "forgot to have kids", too. I see this stuff way too often and it really makes me wonder why we don't have madatory parenting classes in High School.  The makin'  'em part is easy enough.  It's the raisin' 'em part that seems to have people stymied.

I feel for you. I might not have been so restrained.

Dec 13, 2008 10:44 AM #1
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Pat, this sounds all too familiar!  What is it about sharp educated people that so many of them have out-of-control kids?  It sounds like you did the right thing.  I hope they buy the house.

Dec 13, 2008 10:53 AM #2
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Babysitters exists for a reason.  Though it isn't always possible by the time you are on your third visit and getting serious it might be time to leave the little ones at home so you can concentrate on the house.  Frozen smile on face and a glass of wine will help you through.

Dec 13, 2008 11:10 AM #3
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


New age parents think their children crave permissiveness, while what they are actually crying out for is discipline!!! Thanks,   Fran

Dec 13, 2008 11:36 AM #4
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Ken, I guess it's a whole bunch easier to not have kids.  I sort of wish I had sometimes, especially when I'm having computer issues.

Margaret, yes, sometimes I think that very highly educated people are not necessarily child smart!

Cindy, frozen smile?  Me?  Glass of wine, yes!  I was ready to raid the sellers' wine cellar and share a bottle with the poor buyer broker!

And Fran, somehow, I can't imagine you having children behaving like this!

Dec 13, 2008 12:28 PM #5
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Amen!  Amen!  You've said it so well.  Children who are little demons don't need to be house shopping!

Dec 14, 2008 05:35 AM #6
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Pat - Indeed, children don't need to come along for the ride when their parents are looking for a home! It drives everyone crazy, including the kids!

Dec 14, 2008 09:11 AM #7
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Barbara and Barbara Jo, I really don't think it's fair to the children - maybe take them to see the new house after it's all picked out (I'm talking little kids here)  I have clients with a 5-year old who really seems to enjoy it.  And when she's having fun, so are we!  But she really is an exceptionally well behaved child.  Um, "exceptionally"being the operative word!

Dec 14, 2008 10:06 AM #8
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

Aw just smack em! They won't forget your listing in a hurry!

Dec 14, 2008 11:19 AM #9
Marcy Moyer
eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales - Mountain View, CA
Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist

I guess I am the exception here. It is hard enough for parents to find a home. If you ask them to leave their kids out of it, even if the they are possessed kids, it will make them look for another agent who can deal with their with the kids. Wild children are just another challenge for us. Find a way to keep them occupied and be grateful you have a buyer or that someone is looking at your listing.

Marcy Moyer Intero RealEstate Menlo Park Ca

Dec 14, 2008 12:53 PM #10
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon

I know this is not funny - but - I about died laughing reading your account of these showings.... thanks for making me laugh

Dec 15, 2008 02:06 PM #11
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Pat - These lawyer parents with unruly kids probably spoiled the crap out of them and will be finding themselves utilizing their own law degrees one day when their kids run up against trouble. I hope their specialty is criminal law.  

Dec 17, 2008 04:00 PM #12
Colleen Cooley
The Corcoran Group - Jupiter, FL
CRS - Jupiter Florida

Pat... the title alone made me crack up!  I love kids, but when people bring out of control kids to showings I cringe. The other day someone brought their little boy to a listing of mine.  He touched everything, constantly cried out for attention... yet the parents didn't blink. Finally the kid ran into the sliding glass door face first & got a nose bleed. It wasn't fun!

Dec 17, 2008 04:08 PM #13
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Ellie, I was tempted, but Mummy and Daddy are big time attorneys!  I'd wind up serving hard time!

Marcy, the parents of these lovely youngsters are not my clients - thank heavens!  I would not have taken them on.

Thesa, I laughed as I wrote it!  I had to or I'd have cried!

Carol, there are a lot of problem kids of parents who are powerful and famous Americans.  I'd rather have them someplace other than in one of my listings.

Colleen, I, of course, forgot to have children.  And when I have any feelings of regret, I think about kids like these - and I could have wound up with one!  Yikes!

Dec 18, 2008 02:19 PM #14
Bridget Fredericks
Home After Home - Baton Rouge, LA

Geeze, I never had it that bad with kids.  The worst was one kid that kept picking stuff up to play with it.  I was constantly running behind the child to pick things out of her hand and put them back where they belong while Mom and Dad got to view the house without me.  Someone had to keep an eye out for the kid!

Dec 18, 2008 02:41 PM #15
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