If you’re trying to sell your home while simultaneously living daily life with your kids, you understand the struggle involved in trying to keep everything ship-shape for viewers.
Trying to maintain a seemingly spotless home is difficult enough without the everyday dirt, disarray, scattered toys and assorted gear from hobbies and sports that often come with being a parent.
Selling a home while you’re still living in it isn't easy, but selling a home when you still live in it and have kids is infinitely harder,” notes Angela Colley on Realtor.com. “From the ongoing hunt for stray toys to buyers who turn their noses up at your daughter’s princess pink bedroom walls, you’ll have a lot on your plate. To get the most offers (and the best deal), you’ll have to present your home as a blank canvas anyone could love — not just a home fit for kids.”
Fortunately, there are hacks that can help. Consider these tips that can help make open houses and last-minute showings easier for parents.
- Talk to your kids about the “new normal” notes Corrine Rivera on Homelight.com. Explain why it’s important to be neater and more organized than usual, what their role needs to be and how the staging and viewing processes will work. Otherwise, those processes can quickly become confusing and overwhelming for children.
- Stage for everyone. For potential buyers who are kid-free, you’ll want to at least partially neutralize areas that (until now) have been entirely kid-themed. That doesn’t mean making your whole house adult-centric, but it does mean compromising by turning playrooms into more generic extra space; removing kid-themed wallpaper and artwork; clearing kids’ accoutrement from mudrooms; removing childproof locks from cabinets; nixing evidence of potty training in bathrooms, etc.
- That said, buyers may have kids. They may be trying to envision how their own offspring could live in and love your home. It’s OK to selectively show a few colorful knickknacks that subtly suggest to viewers how their own kids might fit in.
- Downsize ahead. Sort through your children’s belongings and donate items that are broken or seldom, if ever, enjoyed. Older children will want a say in that process, but younger children may never even notice the difference. Do encourage them to keep their favorite toys in a special spot they can access whenever they wish.
- Optimize furniture and closet storage. Instead of stashing all your kids’ gear in their rooms, ensure closets and cabinets throughout your home have capacity at any given time. That will involve pre-packing items normally stored there, which will pay off when you have 10 minutes to pick up and your son’s stinky soccer gear is all over the living room. One caveat: Ensure belongings aren’t so crammed that doors and drawers won’t open properly (viewers may check).
- Invest in under-bed storage units. Short-but-wide roll-away carts can be lifesavers when you need to remove from sight everything from dirty clothes to video games to backpacks. Toss in anything you find on your child’s floor, roll the unit out of sight, pull the bedspread over the gap and you’re good to go.
- Storage tubs are your friends. Even frequently played-with toys need not clutter up your house at every turn. Make it your child’s chore each night to gather them into labeled plastic tubs and move them into a closet or the basement for future use. That ensures they’re easy to find and accessible, but not scattered when viewers arrive.
Staging your home when you have children can be a major challenge, but with planning and foresight you can minimize the stress and still present a clean, orderly home to buyers.