Keeping your home in pristine condition while it’s on the market is one of the biggest challenges that most sellers face. It can be tough to continue to live your daily lives while trying to make your home look like nobody’s been living in it.
As if that wasn’t hard enough, throw some kids into the mix. The mess of toys, dirty clothes, juice spills, cookie crumbs and muddy footprints can make it seem nearly impossible to stage your home to impress buyers.
So how can you try to keep your home in decent condition while entertaining showings? Consider the following tips.
Give Yourself at Least a Week to De-Clutter
De-cluttering should be part of the staging process regardless if there are kids around or not. No buyer wants to walk into a home that’s disheveled and disorganized. Before you even list your home and have photos taken, make sure you give yourself enough time to clear it out. Keep a few toys and items that your kids absolutely need to have at their disposal at all times. Everything else should be stowed away.
If you’ve got pink walls, repaint them a neutral color. If there are any stuffed animals on the shelves, put them away. If your kids’ drawings are stuck on your refrigerator door, take them down. It might hurt to make changes like these, but such an effort can go a long way at helping buyers see the true potential of your home without all the kiddie things standing in the way.
Find a Storage Unit to House All the Kids’ Stuff
You’ve got to put all the kids’ belongings somewhere when you’re de-cluttering. If you’ve got a sizeable garage or attic, perfect. If not, think about securing storage space somewhere else. Whether it’s at your parents’ house or a rental storage room, having ample storage space is a must to keep your kids’ things out of the way while your home is on the market.
One method of storage that’s gaining in popularity are PODS, short for ‘portable on-demand storage’ units. These sit on your driveway, or can even be taken off-site to be stored. This is an affordable option that also offers easy access in case you accidentally stored one of your kids’ favorite toys.
Designate One Room For the Kids
Instead of letting the kids run rampant all over the house, assign one room in the home that is solely theirs. They probably already have a play room. If that’s the case, stick to that space. Kids are notorious for leaving a trail of mess wherever they go; by keeping them confined to one room in the house, you can significantly cut down on clutter and make your life a lot easier when a buyer books a showing.
Specify a Two-Hour Notice For Showings
It’s perfectly fine to request a minimum amount of notice for showings. Of course, you don’t want to make it difficult for buyers to see your home, but you also don’t have to deal with last-minute showings either. To give yourself enough time to make sure everything is in its designated place before a buyer walks in, a couple of hours notice should suffice.
Your agent can specify that in your listing so that buyers’ agents are aware that they need to provide some leeway before showing up. Half an hour notice is way too stressful when you’ve got small kids, clutter, feedings, naps, and so on. Make life easier for yourself and request 2 hours notice before appointments.
Keep the Trunk of Your Car or Minivan Empty
If you’re willing to entertain a short-notice showing, having a clear trunk can work wonders at providing you with quick storage to throw all the toys, dirty blankets, sippy cups, and other debris that can quickly accumulate when you’ve got little ones running around. While this isn’t exactly an ideal situation, you just never know when the right buyer comes along that will want to put in an offer on your home. The more people see your home, the more likely you’ll get an interested buyer sooner rather than later.
Come Up With a Plan For Showings
It’s best not to be present during showings, but this is a lot easier said than done when you’ve got kids in tow. Sometimes you might have a few showings booked in one day, which means you’ll have to be out of the house for hours.
In times like these, you need to have a plan to keep the kids entertained. Where will you go? What will you do? Rather than scramble to think of something at the last minute, come up with a list of things to do to spend the time with the kids during showings. From going to the movies, to hitting the mall, to hanging out at a friend’s house, having a list to choose from can help. And if you’ve got infants, make sure you always have a diaper bag packed with all the important things your children need and ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
Selling a house is a stressful endeavor, and when kids are involved, it can be even more maddening. But while you’ll certainly need to take the extra step and make more of an effort to keep your home in decent condition, following the above tips can boost the odds that your home will attract the right buyer and sell in a short amount of time.