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5 Tips on Selling a Home When You Have Kids

after-kidsroomHomeowners with children often dread getting their home ready to show in order to sell because they think of it as an overwhelming process.  We know it is a lot to keep a home in showing shape while still having it be a place that their kids can live in and enjoy.  In this blog we offer some tips and considerations for you when selling your home that will help you present the best impression for home buyers and still keep your house usable for your little ones.

1. Don’t stress too much!

Yes you do need to do your best to make your home show as best as it can but you do not need to lose sleep and get overwhelmed.  Lucky for you, inventory levels are at their lowest levels in 11 years, so buyers probably will not have a lot to choose from — which will make them more likely to overlook small things. In addition if it is obvious that you have children, buyers will certainly understand you having some clutter or messiness. The goal is just to decrease it as much as you can within reason.

2. De-Clutter and Minimalize:

It is surprising to some people how much stuff they accumulate from having kids in the house.  If you plan things in advance it will really help.  Take about two weeks and go through everything in your home to decide what you do and don’t need to keep, from top to bottom.  When you are holding an item in your hand, ask yourself when the last time it was used was.  If the answer is more than a month, it may be time to give it away.

Many families take this as an opportunity to donate to charity.  If your children are on the younger side, they probably don’t want to part with things…and the last time they want to part with things is during a time of transition.  You may want to consider doing the purge when the kids are asleep, or away at school, if they are younger:  toss the broken toys or the ones with missing pieces to help avoid upset feelings.

3. Store What You Don’t Need:

For items that you know the children would like to keep, but are too big, just pack them up for a short time.

When a home buyer looks at your home, you want them to imagine it as their home.  So if you can try to decrease things which have a personalized nature, like excessive family photos it will help you.  If you have a few family photos in various rooms that is acceptable but if you have an entire wall of pictures you should consider thinning it out.

Some solutions for this include taking things that are important and putting them into totes to put into storage, either in a basement or garage or at a storage facility. When doing all of this always remember that signs of organization lead buyers to believe that the home has been well cared-for.

4. Make Sure You Are Ready For Home Showings:

We recommend that you request at least four hours’ notice before a showing when you have kids. It is also a good idea to communicate with your agent about what times you know won’t work and what times will work.  Showings might be allowed, for example, between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm — when the kids are at school, and you are at work — but be flexible on those times on the weekends if you can, because not all buyers will share your schedule.  Work with your agent to block off times you know are usual nap times, meal times, bath times, or bedtime.

When you are getting ready to list your home, you should create a check list of things you will need to clean up or stage before showings can happen.  That might mean rearranging the playroom in a certain way, putting away or simply organizing all the toys etc.

5. Make a “Go Kit” For the Kids:

Having snacks ready ahead of time, along with entertainment options, will make a huge difference in how well you are able to accommodate potential buyers.  Think now about what you will do with them when the home is being showed, and have different options available for different days and times of day.

Since you have now made leaving for showings a “fun” thing, make sure the kids know the reasons ahead of time why they might have to leave with only a short notice, because their knowing might make the difference between making it out the door on time and getting stuck in the awkward situation of meeting the potential buyers in a less than optimal scenario.


Remember: for the kids, this is probably the only house they’ve ever known as “home,” and selling it can be stressful for them as well.   With the right planning as shown in these tips, however, it can be much easier, and, well, less painful for you, them, and your buyer alike.

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