Moving can be incredibly stressful. But, when you go from the renting life to buying your first home, there are more stressors than you probably realize. Luckily there are professionals like Emily Tupa—a wife, realtor, and mom—in the Black Hills to help us along the way. Here are her three steps to making the transition easier, especially on your kids.
Emily has been a realtor with RE/MAX Advantage in Rapid City for the past four years, and in addition to helping others buy and sell their home, she and her husband Tyler have walked through the process (multiple times) as well. In July of last year, six months pregnant with their second daughter, the Tupas solidified the agreements of selling their second home and buying their third. As they negotiated the deals, the clash of storms arose when Emily’s mother passed away.
“So many of my clients are in the same position,” explained Emily with compassion. “It may not be that traumatic, but I tell people, ‘You don’t quit working, quit making dinner, quit fighting with your spouse, or quit helping your kids with homework while you’re doing something as major as buying a home.’ None of that goes away; you’re just suddenly handed this boulder of an extra activity to manage.”
Even in the best of circumstances, large decisions can bring extra stressors—especially for little ones. Emily’s oldest daughter Julia, now five years old, experienced this. Still at a young age where adulthood is a mystery, their knowledge of and ability to recognize and react to change is very present.
Here are a few ways to make the transition to a new home a bit easier for the littles in your household.
take a tour
Children are often visual learners. If you are set on a house, ask your Realtor for a walkthrough with your kids. During this tour, talk through the ideas for your new home and ask for their input on spaces they will frequent, like their bedroom.
“We did a ‘check-in’ on our house with Julia in the final weeks before our move, and asked her questions like, ‘Where should your bed go?’ and ‘What’s something you don’t have now that this new house could have.’ It got her excited to be able to make some of those decisions,” said Emily.
In addition to touring the home itself, take a walk around the neighborhood as a family to explore the new area!
Advice from the Realtor: Be respectful of the seller’s position, too. Selling a house can be just as stressful as buying, and asking to view the property multiple times could make the transaction uneasy.
let them help
To understand the reality of their toys, books, and belongings being packed up, let your little one help. Give them a box and a task while explaining the items will only be put away for a short time.
“We gave Julia a box and we made it into a house where her stuffed animals went,” said Emily. “She patted them all on the head and said, ‘We’ll see you soon’ before we taped it up. I think it made it a little less scary for her as her room was being packed up.”
Advice from the Realtor If you can, make the investment of hiring a moving company. As a parent, it saves time and frustration. Rather than moving furniture all day then trying to show up for your family that evening, it frees you up for an overall positive experience.
As every parent knows, there will be questions upon questions during this time of transition. However difficult it may be, take the time to explain and walk your child through this new chapter in your life. One way to make the connection a bit easier to understand for children is accepting your new home like a new member to your family.
“A new home is like a new family member entering the picture; you will have to figure out what quirks this home has that you will have to adapt into your family dynamics,” said Emily.
For example, the Tupa’s new home is at the top of a hill where the wind is much stronger than their past home. With louder storms came more sleepless nights when little Julia became frightened. But being patient with the characteristics of a new “family member” and explaining them to their daughter has helped.
Advice from the Realtor: It may be frustrating when a seller will not budge on their price, but changing your perspective of the home to a piece of that family will help you picture what is happening in their situation. People take great pride in their homes and what they’ve done to them. Selling a home is like walking up to a family member and assigning a worth to them. Sometimes, it can be very off putting. Be patient as you go through the negotiation process.
Buying a home is a big step for you, your partner, and your entire family. But, finding a home that fits you and your life will be well worth the time and stress. With a light at the end of the tunnel, your house will be welcoming you home.
written by Jenna Carda family photos by Legacy featured in the spring 2020 issue of BHParent magazine