Selling a home with kids is way more difficult than without them. You see a better future in a new home. They see a stressed out and short-tempered parent.
The key to preserving your sanity is excellent planning and preparation – and an acceptance that nothing will go exactly as planned. But, you’re a parent and you already knew that.
Here are some great tips on minimizing stress and hassle when selling a home with kids.
You know you need to declutter in order to get your home ready for showing, but decluttering for young children takes a little finesse.
- If you have a little time, consider methodically tossing old toys and mementos a little at a time.
- Allow your child to choose which items to keep (as opposed to choosing what to toss)
- If they get stuck ask them to choose “this” or “that”
- Choose a place to donate and visit so your child can see where their toys will go.
Your buyer needs to see themselves in this home, not you and your kids. Selling a home with kids often means a home filled with memorabilia and signs of family life. Neutralizing the home means taking “you” out of the picture so the buyer can put themselves in.
- Walls should be a soft white and all kid-oriented pop-art, wall graphics and posters removed. I know you want to say “I don’t know what color the new owner might want. They can paint it after I’m gone.” Respectfully, that is an excuse because you don’t want to paint. That’s ok, but your home will sell for less.
- Remove all the cute photographs. All of them – the ones on the wall, in the frames on the bookcase or stuck to the refrigerator. They are too dang cute and all the buyer will do is think about how YOU live in this home.
3. Remove the child safety stuff
Selling your home with kids is tough. Child safety products make your life easier because you can be just a little less vigilant. Removing them might be a non-starter for you (or your kid). However, a childless buyer can be frustrated to tears by a child-safe lock on a closet door or kitchen cabinet.
- Remove any non-critical child-safe locks on door and cabinets. Consolidate hazardous household products in just one cabinet.
- Post helpful instructions next to any remaining locks to reduce the tears of frustration or your potential buyer
- Remove potty seats, bathroom sink steps and all bath toys during showings
4. Manage the toys
Kids can take a room from pristine order to colorful chaos in 10 seconds, flat. How do you sell your home with kids who can work such voodoo black magic? It is important to have a pre-planned strategy ahead of time.
- Prepare storage bins under the bed. Buyers will open closets and cupboards, but no one is checking under the bed.
- Prepare a “go basket” of small items of value or sentiment. This basket gets tossed in the car whenever you leave for a showing.
- Make tidying for a showing a game with a pre-determined reward
5. Managing showings
The most difficult part of selling a home with kids is the unpredictable nature of the timing of a showing appointment, but it is a lot easier with an experienced real estate agent and a little pre-planning
- Ask your agent when the majority of buyer showings typically occur. This can vary by season, region and type of home.
- Select several different “ideal” time slots during the week that coincides with your families schedule and popular viewing times.
- Instruct your agent to force as many showings as possible into these pre-determined slots.
- Set advanced notice parameters. For instance, a buyer must make an appointment by 10 AM for a noon showing slot.
- Prepare a list of places to hang out during a showing – a park, a friend’s house or an indoor playground
- Prepare a “go bag” filled with snacks, drinks, games, and distractions. Oh, wait. You’re a parent and that bag is standard equipment for you.
6. Selling Your Home With Kids Checklist (downloadable pdf)
They say God laughs when humans make plans. Despite everything we just laid out, your Realtor will call with an urgent “can’t wait to show” request. When that happens, here is a handy checklist you can use to quickly whip your home into show-ready shape in moments. PRO TIP – contain the kids in one room while you barrel through this list. Then, get the kids into the backyard or the car while you finish up the last little bit.
This is a downloadable pdf. Click on the image and you can print it to post on your refrigerator. Just make sure to remove it before your showing appointment!!