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Showing and Selling Your Home with Kids
Dated: June 30 2020
The real estate market is hot right now! Buyers are ready with historically low mortgage rates, but there aren’t enough homes on the market. This means sellers are seeing homes going fast and for amazing prices. However, parents may question whether the time is right to sell. I mean, it’s not hard to question if you can keep the home staged and ready for showings with the kids there. Let us help you so you CAN!
Make the home neutral.
Make the home neutral, inviting, simple, and one that appeals to the masses. Kid rooms are included! Don’t take the changes personally. You are making a business transaction where buyers can visualize the home and the space, which means adjusting to what the market wants so you can sell for the best possible price. Consider these important neutralizing items:
If rooms or walls are painted a bold, bright, or unusual color, you may need to paint a more neutral color.
Get rid of or cover up toy and kid themes, including posters, decorations, wallpaper, kid artwork, characters, bright colors, and comforters to be more general and neutralized. A professional staging company, Staged by Jessica Johnson, recommends to quickly and easily throw a neutral, solid comforter on top of your child’s comforter when you make the bed each day.
Take down family photos.
If possible, store bulky or kid beds.
Remove cabinet child-proof locks, or leave instructions on how to open them. People want to see closet and cabinet spaces.
Purge and Prepack!
Besides looking neutral, you want people to visualize living there and to see all the space, not your belongings.
Put all toys in one area, and do not have toys in the common and main living areas.
With all items in every cabinet and closet, especially toys, donate and prepack, leaving out only favorites and what you can’t live without. Box up and store at least half of the toys you are KEEPING. Keep it to one bin of toys. Get rid of fast food toys and anything that is broken, has missing pieces, or is a duplicate. Keep in your home only the very favorite toys your child loves that are also easy to clean up and store away. If you’re worried about the kids tiring of these toys, have another bin easily accessible in storage. You can switch out for a new batch of toys, and it will keep the kids busy since they haven’t seen these toys in awhile. Have a game plan for how to quickly stash toys away during a showing.
Need ideas on how to stash toys? Staged by Jessica Johnson suggests storing toys in an attractive basket with a lid that compliments the decor in each child’s bedroom. This works well to stash toys, blankets, and other items that kids use on a daily basis that will need to be put out of sight during showings. Besides a basket with a lid, here are some other excellent, secret storage options to incorporate in your home decor:
Ottoman Storage Bench
Under Bed Storage
Coffee Table Storage Chest
Remove large toys and playsets.
Cut down on supply of clothes (30-60 day supply at the most). Donate and prepack the remaining.
Take everything off the fridge - magnets, lists, pictures, drawings, etc…
Don’t forget about the backyard. Make sure each item, including slides, cars, trucks, and balls, is put away, has its place, and looks tidy. If you can, hide toys around the side of the house, in a storage unit, or in the garage.
Rent storage space.
Renting a storage unit while you show the home will give you a place to put all your prepacked things that you do not need in the house—oversized furniture, extra toys, additional items you do not need on a daily basis, clutter, pictures, holiday decor, and clothes. Using rented storage space makes the space in your home look larger and more impressive.
Clean, and we mean deep clean! Your home needs to be spotless and sparkling when you show it to potential buyers.
We recommend paying for a professional deep cleaning after you’ve purged and prepacked.
Pay close attention to doors, windows, walls, baseboards, mirrors, stainless steel appliances, and hardware that are prone to cloudy prints, fingerprints, smudges, sticky residue, and scuff marks, etc…
If a magic eraser doesn’t do the trick, consider touching up the paint on walls, baseboards, and trim work where scuffs, marks, worn corners, and nail holes are to make it look well taken care of and clean.
If a good carpet cleaning doesn’t get rid of traffic patterns and stains, consider replacing it.
Once cleaned, be prepared to keep up with cleaning tasks daily. Get the kids involved and have them help! Try a chore list or make it a reward-based game.
Stage the home.
Homes that have been professionally staged sell 79% faster and for 17% more. Your agent can suggest ideas, however, considering hiring a professional stager to give your house a facelift. They can bring out the best in your home, and make it look more attractive for a large number of buyers. It makes all the difference in photography and showings.
Don’t Make 24 Hour Notice Required on Showings.
Putting a 24 hour notice requirement on showings places restrictions on people and decreases the chance of more people viewing the home. Realize that some buyers are limited to times they can come view a home due to work. It is imperative that you get as much traffic as possible. You can still let your agent know of nap times. If they are able, they can accommodate that. However, be flexible to get your home under contract as soon as possible so you don’t have to continue maintaining a clean and picked up home every day.
Plan out what your family will do during showings.
Make a plan for how you will spend the time away from your home with your kids.
Make a list of things you can do, and switch between those things. Not all of them need to cost a lot of money:
Have your kids help come up with the list and the things they think sound the most fun.
You could go to the library, playground, park, grocery shopping, or hang out at a friend or relative’s house.
It may also be a great time to have a picnic or eat a meal out together.
Better yet, remember the chore list or game to have the kids help keep the home picked up and clean? A great reward for accomplishing their chores would be to treat them to ice cream during a showing.
Time for Showings! Have a plan of what needs to be done before heading out the door...
Have a plan to get ready for showings in a jiffy. If your kids are old enough to help, assign them chores beforehand or make it a game (put their toys in the box as fast as they can, and they can have a treat when you leave).
A checklist is very helpful for the kids. Here’s one for you, as well.
First, keep up with the following daily so there is less rushing and stress when you get that last minute showing notice:
Keep personal items, toiletries, toys, shoes, jackets, clothes, dishes, and small appliances put away when not in use
Open all curtains and blinds
Keep toilet seats down
Keep up with wiping surfaces down
Empty garbage cans
Hide outdoor toys and garbage bins in the garage or on the side of the house.
Second, here’s your final checklist before you leave for a showing at your home:
All toilet seats down
All lights on and curtains/blinds open
Gather/hide shoes, toys, personal, toiletry, and any random loose items.
Keep empty bins or totes handy to fill with items that buyers don’t want to see.
Wipe surfaces, if needed. No smudges, fingerprints, sticky residue, or dirty mirrors.
Empty every garbage, if you haven’t already done so.
Put away: dishes and small appliances.
Be sure beds are made and fluff every pillow.
Spray air freshener.
If not already done, hide outdoor toys and garbage bins in the garage or on the side of the house.
Keep your car trunk clear to store the totes and bins you’ve filled.
Hide placemats and high chairs in drawers and closets when you’re not using them (and especially during a showing).
Sweep the floors. However, do this last. If you run out of time, this can be skipped.
Keep a kid bag with snacks, toys, and all of the necessary items you could need to be prepared so you can grab and go.
One expert suggested that if the kids are too small to help, gather them in one room while you prepare the house. Then, put them in the car with snacks and handheld toys until you finish, if it is safe.
While showing a home with kids may seem like an inconvenience, these tips help make it much easier, especially when you get the family involved. Following this advice will most likely ensure going under contract quicker and that means you won’t have to continue to keep your house show ready any longer! Remember, it will be worth it in the long run. Know also that we are here to help you and can make more suggestions to make the process easier and smoother for you. What are you waiting for? It’s the perfect time to sell! Give us a call to see if the time is right for you!
Deanna has degrees in Communication and Journalism and over 25 years of experience in customer service, advertising, marketing, communication, instruction, training, and public speaking. With this ba....