With the holidays arriving so close to the traditional “end of summer vacation family time,” there were many in our community who had barely finished hanging up their bathing suits and backyard barbecue attire only to quickly exchange them for their finest holiday whites and tashlich formals.
Anecdotally speaking—which usually means from my agents—depending on which camp and which school (and potentially any unscheduled quarantining), by some estimates children have not had any consistent full week of structured play or educational time in almost eight weeks.
Since I am no longer raising any school-age kids, the plight of children being neither in camp nor in school impacts me mostly in the day-to-day challenges that a real estate agent normally faces and is most acutely felt when trying to show a home to a prospective buyer.
It is less than ideal when the home I am attempting to show has kids still in the house. There is nothing quite like trying to show second-floor bedrooms and walking in on sleeping kids, kids on private phone calls, kids doing who knows what. Even if they are not in their bedrooms, noise and mess, two things every real estate agent tries to avoid at showing time, are sure to abound even in the most organized of homes.
On the buyer’s side, watching the automatic sliding doors of the minivan open to reveal a flock of children coming with their parents for a house tour is always sure to make for an interesting showing. Recently I found myself extolling the virtues of a dining room that was open to the living room to a prospective client when her 5-year-old walks in and says… “Mommy there is water coming from the toilet onto the bathroom floor.” We ran to the first floor powder room and, to our chagrin, watched a severely stuffed toilet emptying its contents onto the tile below.
One of my agents regaled me with the tale of kids brought with parents to view new construction. The mom, doing her best to distract them, gave each child their own electronic device. While they remained quiet and fully “engaged,” it didn’t stop the 7-year-old from walking into a wall nor did it stop a second child from almost falling down the open stairwell to the basement.
Do I accompany the parents/buyers as they “extol” certain features of the home or play warden/principal, trying to keep the toddlers from messing up a Lego project that the seller’s children have worked on for months? Having the sound of kids coming from a one-bedroom apartment in the city, running around the upstairs floor yelling, “This is my bedroom” can be very comforting. Plus, soon schools will resume in earnest and my “mini” customers/clients will be sitting masked safely behind their desks.
Nechama Polak is broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck.
[email protected] 201 826 8809.