Wednesday, April 24, 2019 / by Dixie Simon
Preparing to sell your home, while exciting, can often feel like a daunting task in and of itself. This can be compounded when kids are involved because it presents some special challenges that also must be addressed. Facing these challenges proactively will help ease the concerns and help ensure success!
First things first, communication is key when starting out. Moving is a stressful time for everyone involved and kids don’t always understand the process as well as you do. You think it is hard to pack up all your things and store them away, but kids might think you are packing up their toys and clothes for good! It is important to keep them informed and included no matter what. Explain the situation to them, be patient with them and help them along the way. Just as you feel overwhelmed, they probably do too. So work with your kids and help them understand.
The next thing you should focus on is packing. The list of “to-dos” might seem overwhelming right now. You have a family to support and agents to talk to and you are probably looking for a home to buy as well! I know it’s stressful. That is why it’s important to start decluttering and packing now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start packing up the boxes with all of the “extra” stuff. Pack up the china cabinet, pack up the extra toys, pack up the extra books and movies laying around. Get as much as you can packed up now so when the time comes to start staging your home for potential buyers, you are ready to go. Work with your kids and let them choose the toys that they want to keep and the ones they want to store away for a while. This will allow them to feel involved and in control. I suggest encouraging things like blocks and puzzles and doll clothes to be packed up first. Get the little things out of the way because the bigger items will be easier to pick up and move last minute if you have a showing with a potential buyer.
Once everything is all packed away and decluttered, set up some rules to help keep it “ready” for a showing. You could have a showing within an hour of a potential buyer seeing your home on the market. Being prepared to get your family up and out the door and getting your home ready for a showing within an hour can be hard. Here are some steps you can take to keep the process simple and quick.
1. Keep extra garbage bags under the existing bag in your garbage receptacles. When you grab the bag of garbage to take outside, you have instant access to a bag to replace it with.
Get a few scented plugins and keep them on inside your home so it is always smelling fresh and clean. (Remember to use something light as many people have allergies)
Designate an area where most of your time will be spent when home. This will contain most of the “mess” that will need immediate attention once a showing is scheduled. This isn’t always possible depending upon the age of your children but, if it is an option, give it a try! Try to pick up each bedroom in the morning and then close the doors to keep them undisturbed. Keep the toy bins easily accessible. It is also helpful to keep a bin nearby to use for any odds and ends that need to be picked up quickly. Have a place in your closet or garage where these totes with random items can be neatly stacked. This will hide your clutter and keep your place clean for the showing.
In the kitchen, keep the dishwasher empty and promptly put any used dishes in it keeping the sink clean. Rinse the sink and wipe down the counters, sink, and faucets after each use to keep them sparkling. Keep the table and counters clear of any clutter.
Try to use 1 bathroom. Some families are able to use one bathroom during this time so the other is always clean and ready. This is ideal if you are able but if not, just follow these principles for each and it should help get you ready for a showing in minutes. Keep the dirty laundry off the floor and use the hamper. After each use Again, wipe the counter, sink, and faucets here too to help them shine. Do the same for the tub after the last shower of the morning. Each evening schedule a few minutes to do a quick once over of the toilet and floor if needed.
Plan ahead! Create a list of things that need to be done before leaving the home to help keep you focused and getting all task completed. Here are some things to consider putting on your list; clean off all counters, tables, and flat surfaces, put all the toilet seats down, wipe down sinks and counters, pick up toys and be sure all clothes are put away or in a hamper. Before you walk out the door, turn on all the lights, open blinds/curtain if it’s daytime and open all the doors.
Last but not least, keep your family ready to go at all times. Have a “to-go” bag packed with an extra change of clothes and baby supplies if needed. Have a place or 2 in mind to go. Maybe you can go to the park or the grocery store for an hour? Just have an idea of what you will be doing during the showing so you are ready at a moment’s notice.
With a little preparation and preplanning, getting your home ready to sell when you have children can be accomplished! Remember the daily tasks you perform to keep the home ready will pay great rewards when the offers are received!