As we may or may not know, selling a home can be stressful. You leave your home daily for strangers , you are keeping the house clean 24-7, but having kids makes it even more stressful. After being a Twin Cities Realtor for almost 7 years, I’ve helped several families sell their home and also have shown homes to my buyers that have families living in them.
Here are a few tips and tricks to selling your home while having kids from a Realtor’s point of view.
1. Please try and accommodate all showings. When agents are showing homes, we usually show several over the course of a few hours. They are generally scheduled by distance, starting somewhere and heading the furthest away. If the seller denies the showing, chances are the buyers we are out with, will like something and we won’t be coming back to your home, not to mention we are now far away from your place. Keep in mind that most buyers are out after work, so accommodating nights and weekends is key.
2. Set expectations right away with your agent regarding kids sleeping schedules. Most buyers view properties after work, especially during the weekdays. If you have young kids that go to bed at 6:00, let your agent know that no showings are to be held after 5:30, etc. Keep in mind that you are really shortening your window though to potential buyers when you have strict timeframes like this. Be flexible if you can. If you do have to accommodate showings around bedtime, it’s more than ok to sit down the street in your car while the showing takes place. Put your kids jammies on before the showing. You can also have your agent put in the showing remarks to give advanced notice of all showings. This will help you prepare your home in enough time.
3. Leave your home during showings. Nothing is more awkward than showing homes when the homeowners are home. This turns the buyers off. I once had a child follow me room to room and then grabbed my leg because they didn’t want me to leave. Cute, but strange. Have a bag of snacks prepared for your kids during showings. If you do have to leave your home suddenly for a showing, the kids are content with a snack. Also prepare a little to go kit with a coloring book or story book. This will help time pass for the kids.
4. Toys. Try and condense the amount of toys your kids are playing with while your home is on the market. I tell my sellers to buy a plastic tote bin and fill it with toys. Pack all the others up until you move. The tote bin is all they can play with while you are selling. It’s easy to pick up for the last minute showing and easy to put in the garage, or your car for the showing.
5. Dirty Diapers. If you have a young one still in diapers, please make sure you toss all garbage out with diapers in them. In the bedrooms, bathrooms, and even the garage. This includes emptying out the Diaper Genie. I too have kids and this isn’t a 100% sink proof garbage! Nothing is worse to a buyer than stinky room!
6. Family Pictures. We all know how adorable your family is, and that’s great. But try to eliminate the amount of family pictures you have in your home. I’ve noticed buyer will look at the pictures for a minute or two, and then leave the room to see the next room. Now they don’t even remember the house or the room because they were too focused on seeing the family photos. A picture here or there is ok, but try to minimize them if possible.
7. De-cluttering the old baby stuff. If you are done having kids and have a lot of the big stuff still (the swing, pack and play, potty chair, etc) get rid of it. I’ve seen a lot of utility rooms and storage place filled to the brim with these types of items. Potential buyers want to see the space and they want to in vision their “stuff” in it. This also includes closets. Buyers WILL open your closets, again to in vision all the storage space the home has. If they open the closet and stuff falls out at them, this can be a turn-off and the buyer may think the reason you are moving is because you ran out of room. Minimize the amount of stuff you have in the house. This will help immensely!
8. Write a letter. Buying a home is an emotional process. Buyers like to know what the sellers are like most of the time. If you are selling your house, write a letter to the potential buyer on what you like about the neighborhood, your neighbors, the park down the street, your favorite places to take the kids, etc. Tug at their heartstrings. Buyers love hearing stuff like this! Selling a home with kids isn’t the easiest but if you put these above tips in place, it will definitely reduce the stress and workload! Good luck!