Selling and Moving with Kids: Tips Every Relocating Parent Needs
Even the simplest of tasks become harder when you have kids. Once a 30-second chore, getting dressed or going to the bathroom becomes a 30-minute affair when toddlers are involved. When it’s time for selling a home, it can seem virtually impossible.
We won’t lie to you: As a parent, you will have to work harder to keep your house clean and clutter-free for showings. However, the extra effort pays off. Homes that are clean and staged “sell faster and at higher prices than those that are not staged,” according to the National Association of Realtors. In other words, it literally pays to keep things tidy.
Staging Tips for Parents
The way you stage has a big impact on how easy or hard it is to clean your house after it’s on the market. Start by ruthlessly cutting back on the amount of stuff in your home. Get rid of everything and anything you can do without, like extra furniture, dishware, off-season clothing, and media. Not needing to move furniture and clutter around shaves hours off housekeeping.
Declutter kids’ toys too. Put bulky toys into storage and shrink toy collections to select favorites. If kids’ toys are usually on display, use hidden storage solutions like a cubby system with storage baskets in children’s closets. This allows for speedy clean-up.
If you’ve allowed kids the freedom to make their own decorating choices, now is the time to revert children’s bedrooms to neutral décor. When selling a home, interior design isn’t about your family’s tastes; instead, it’s about appealing to as many buyers as possible. Repaint accent walls, take posters off the walls, and swap busy bedding for solid colors.
Cleaning a House with Kids
Effective home staging makes cleaning easier, but you’ll still need to dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to daily housekeeping. A showing can happen any time, and you don’t want to get a call from your realtor when you’re ankle-deep in LEGOs and dirty laundry.
Handle these housekeeping tasks daily:
Put away toys and electronics.
Tidy homework, mail, and other paper clutter.
Wash and put away dishes.
Clear and sanitize kitchen counters.
Sweep kitchen and dining area floors.
Wash and fold one load of laundry.
Hang coats and put away shoes.
Give yourself a couple of hours for these weekly cleaning tasks:
Mop and vacuum floors.
Clean bathtubs, showers, and toilets.
Wash bedding and towels.
Clean out the fridge.
Empty trash cans.
Wipe down appliances.
Clean mirrors and windows.
Spot clean walls.
When your real estate agent calls about a last-minute showing, give the house one final sweep before leaving. Make sure there are no off-putting odors coming from trash cans or kids’ rooms, tidy the entryway, and clean up any toys and other clutter. You should also open curtains and turn on the lights so your home looks bright and welcoming.
Managing Kids’ Emotions
All of this change can be stressful for kids, especially young children who don’t quite understand what’s going on. You can help kids cope with the move (and prevent messy outbursts) by maintaining household routines as much as possible. If you usually sit down for family dinner at 6 pm, do the same while your house is on the market, even if that dinner happens at a restaurant and not your kitchen table. When a showing disrupts your routine, maintain a positive attitude — instead of viewing showings as an inconvenience, use them as an opportunity for fun family activities, such as going to the park or the movies.
Finally, keep your sights on the goal: the successful sale of your home. As stressful as maintaining a spotless home can be, it’s only a few weeks of your life. Before you know it, your home will be sold and you’ll be settling into a new house that’s a perfect fit for your family.
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