Contributed by Kristin Louis
When it’s time to sell your home, you may feel a little intimidated about the process. After all, you not only have to deal with the legal and financial aspects but, as a parent, you’ll also have to figure out how to keep your home in top shape without changing your children’s lives. The good news is that it’s possible, it just takes some preparation. Keep reading for a few tips on how to make your house sellable even when you have tiny tots and toys scattered everywhere.
1. Showcase Its Best Features
First things first, you have to know what your home’s best features are. This might be a grand entrance, an exposed brick fireplace, or a gourmet kitchen. These features change throughout the year, so before you start making any changes to your property, it’s a good idea to look through the photos you already have to see how it looks from one season to the next.
Your Home Headquarters notes that many homebuyers fall in love with the ambience, and seasonal decor can absolutely make that happen. Since you’ve already taken photos when it was at its cleanest and decorated for each season, pull some of those aside for your realtor, and don’t be afraid to emulate your favorite looks when it’s time to stage for a virtual tour.
Speaking of your virtual tour, you can make your home’s finer points stand out by ensuring that your photographer has a clear path and that each room is as saturated with natural light as possible. Something else to consider before having photos or videos taken is that you will need to make updates and repairs, especially in areas that matter most. A cracked window or leaky pipe, for example, may show up in images, and that can be a huge turnoff to potential buyers. And if you have carpeting, it might be a good idea to hire someone to give it a deep cleaning, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done so.
Finally, once all repairs are made, you’ll want to repaint with neutral colors so that your buyers can best envision themselves in your space. Some people like to redecorate by swapping things from one room to the next. Do this to match the color scheme in each room, and you won’t have to spend a ton of money to change your home’s appearance.
2. Decrease Clutter
Another important task before putting your home on the market – as well as while it is listed – is to ensure that it is clutter-free. As an added benefit, when you have fewer things, there’s less to clean for you and your family.
Before you get started, decide which areas are in the most need. Chances are, it’s the kids’ rooms, followed closely by your living areas and the basement or guest rooms. Budget dumpster suggest making a map of your “clutter hotspots” and tackling one room at a time.
Talk to your family about what’s happening. Young children may resist, but you can make the process more fun by offering incentives, such as ice cream on Friday if they allow you to fill a box of items to go.
When it comes time to handle your own clutter (and yes, you have clutter!), have an open mind and be objective. Chances are, you only use about 20% of your clothes and shoes 80% of the time. And all of those hobbies that you took up and did not pursue likely left you with boxes full of art, gear and other supplies that can go. A good rule of thumb is that if you have not used it in a year, you probably won’t, and it’s time to say goodbye.
3. Create A Cleaning Routine
According to the experts at Parents, the secret to keeping the house clean when you have kids is to make them part of the solution and to start them as young as possible. Keep in mind that even toddlers can easily get in on the house-cleaning action, and establishing a daily cleaning routine is a great way to get everybody on the same page.
Start your day right by cleaning up after breakfast. Avoid the temptation to leave the dishes in the sink for “later” because later may never come, and your agent may need to schedule a last-minute showing. Assign everyone in your household a job that they have to complete each day. This might be that your middle schooler vacuums the living room while your spouse or partner folds and hangs laundry. By getting everyone involved and used to doing the same thing every day, you’ll have fewer opportunities for things to go undone.
Your daily cleaning checklist should include everything from wiping down the countertops and cabinets to making the beds. Prioritize areas that are most visible, such as the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms.
General Home Selling Advice
Keeping a clean and organized home is crucial. But there are other things that your buyers will notice when it’s time to sell. Spend some time away from your house, and then return to see if you notice any smells. Things like pet odors and cigarette smoke are a huge turnoff, and many buyers will walk away from even a well-priced home. Identify these, and look for ways to eliminate them.
Something else to keep in mind is the condition of your front and back yard. For some buyers, a fence-in area is crucial. Chances are, with kids, you already have a fence or other contained area for play. Make sure that this is fully functional, and, if you have a swimming pool or hot tub, that these are fully secure so that a potential buyer’s child does not accidentally wander into the water.
Finally, talk to your realtor about price. When you are moving with children, you want to expedite the process as quickly as possible. This will reduce stress and frustration as you try to keep things clean, and it will shorten the duration of time where your children are uncertain about where, exactly, they’re going to live. Price your home right in this market, and you’ll likely enjoy a quick sale.
Ultimately, getting your home ready when you have kids does take work. And lots of it. But with some preemptive planning and cooperation from your entire household, it’s possible, and it may not be as intimidating as it looks today. So make a list, check it twice, and don’t be afraid to bribe the youngest members of your household when you need to get things done.