Selling a home is always a challenge, but this is even more true when children are in the home. If you have small children or a newborn, you’re already intimately familiar with just how much “stuff” can be generated — and how quickly it can become scattered about the house.
While that’s not normally an issue, dealing with all clothes, toys and games can be a major hassle when you’re trying to prepare your home for buyer showings. Add to that the possibility of a surprise guest right before nap time or in the middle of dinner, and you’ve got a lot to juggle.
Selling your home with children is tricky – and can prove stressful at times. Try these tips for staging your home for a quick clean-up and exit, and you’ll be sure to sell it in no time.
When Selling a Home, Start Packing Early
One easy way to get your home ready for showings after the home goes on the market, is to start packing now! If there are toys that your kids can live without, pack them right away and then keep the moving boxes in the basement or out of the way. This will remove a good deal of clutter from your home for the showing.
Also pack out-of-season clothing and any other clothing items that your child isn’t actively using. And if you have clothing and toys that your kids have already outgrown, now is the perfect time to donate them to charity or hand them down to a friend.
Packing early will reduce both the clutter and heavy lifting when that moving day finally arrives.
Use Flexible Toy Storage
For any remaining toys and games that have not already been packed, invest in some storage bins. Selling your home and moving is not the right time to go for cutesy bookshelves and fancy art stations, but it is the right time to invest in some sturdy storage bins.
Choose large bins made of clear plastic to make it easy for your children to see where their toys are — and where they should put them back when they’re done playing. Stack bins neatly in a closet or on a bookshelf for daily use. Of course the added benefit, is the toys will already be packed when it’s time for the movers to come.
Pack a Getaway Bag for Home Showings
Remember the bag you packed to be ready for a quick trip to the hospital when your baby was born? The same idea applies to getting ready to leave the house at a moment’s notice for that last-minute showing. Keep an umbrella stroller and a diaper bag ready by the door for a quick exit.
In addition to the usual diapering supplies, be sure to pack a few books or small toys, water bottles or juice boxes, plus healthy snacks just in case you find your away from home longer than expected. With your emergency bag ready, you can dash out the door for a quick walk to the park or a mini-road trip while your home is being previewed by prospective home buyers.
Keep Your Home Clean & Tidy
With your getaway bag already packed, you will have time to spend a few minutes tidying-up before the showing. And to make it possible to clean your house in just five minutes, commit to some daily home maintenance before bedtime.
Assuming they’re old enough, enlist your children’s help in cleaning up their own toys at the end of each and every day so the kiddie clutter doesn’t get out of hand. This will also make them feel like they’re an important part of the process — consider making it a challenge or game.
It’s also a good idea to rotate your housekeeping as well. Instead of waiting until Saturday to do a major cleaning session, tackle just one room a day to keep everything clean and organized. A little bit of daily effort will make it much easier to stay on top of the mess and do a lightning-fast once-over before you make your escape.
Keep It Fun When Selling Your Home
Flexibility is the name of the game, especially on the days your Realtor calls with a last-minute house showing. With your house in order and your bag already packed, you’ll have a bit more breathing room, so stay calm.
Remember that children might be confused about what’s going on, so take the time to answer their questions as you drive around the block waiting to see if those potential buyers have left your driveway and made their offer yet. So keep it fun and use the house showings as an opportunity to do something together as a family.
With your house organized in a way that makes it easy to show to buyers, you will have a much easier time selling your home quickly — and hopefully for a great price.
Bobby Fenner is a Full Time Realtor with over 30 years experience in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Real Estate Markets. He and his team of Real Estate Pros offer the highest level of service. If you’re buying or selling a Coastal Virginia home, call (757) 439-5779 or email [email protected] We’ll be happy to assist you in your move.