We had house rules when it came to playtime. Washable markers and crayons only! Finger paint, Silly Putty and Playdoh were kitchen activities where the flooring was vinyl and washable. There was a mandatory foot check when finished to make certain no stray remnant would transfer to the carpet. Water toys were for the bathtub or swimming pool. Nerf toys were (and still are) for the outdoors.
As the boys grew older the list changed. We don’t have air BB guns or paint ball fights at our home, though most Ham Lake acreage is large enough to accommodate these activities. Dirt bike riding must stick to the marked path. No candles or unsupervised fireworks allowed. Baseballs must be hit away from the house not toward it. And water balloons and Super Soakers are filled only with water and played with outdoors.
Parenting is not an easy job. No one said it would be and it isn’t. One of the most important things you can teach a child is respect.
- Respect of self.
- Respect of other people.
- Respect of property.
I have shown half million dollar lake homes that are only a few years old where all of the newly sheet-rocked walls in the basement were “decorated” with the black Sharpie designs of a three year old. The parents didn’t mind as they were planning to finish the basement prior to closing. But what will happen in the new home when Junior tries his hand at marker-art again?
Homes barely a few years old have been ruined not only with Sharpie Markers in a rainbow of colors but by water damage in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Carpeting and hardwood floors are damaged by not taking care with drinks, paints or messy toys. A spill on carpeting never properly cleaned up after leaves ugly discoloration. I have seen homes with cracked windows; holes in doors and walls; bathrooms with water damage from over filled bathtubs; BB holes in siding. Home fires are often started by fireworks or unattended candles…The list really goes on and on in a home with lax parenting.
Certainly, accidents happen from time to time and repairs can be made but teaching children to respect your home and property can save a family thousands of dollars and endless preparation when it becomes time to sell your home. Replacing carpeting and vinyl flooring for most homes will be a minimum of $3000-5000. Hardwood replacement can be triple that amount. Window replacement can run a thousand per window. Holes in siding can be repaired but mismatched colors kill the curb appeal. Laws in Minnesota require that a fire and repairs be disclosed to potential buyers and that will affect the value and ability of new buyers to insure the home.
If you think, so what. A new buyer can make the repairs. Think again. In a buyers market, IF a distressed property sells at all, it is sold at a substantial discount.
So institute family rules that protect your real estate investment! Become a bit neurotic and enforce ALL of them. Your kids will learn more than how to have fun, they will learn how to respect their family’s home.
Other articles on protecting your real estate investment:
- Dangerous Decorating--Home Improvements that Lower the Value of your Home!
- Something Smells Funny! Is YOUR Pet Destroying Your Home?
- Staging 101—Why Dead Animals Don’t Sell Houses!
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