Selling a home is a daunting prospect. Selling a home with kids? Now that’s a recipe for losing your mind. How exactly are you going to keep your sanity intact? Well, here are some ideas that will make the selling process much smoother for you and your family.
1. Have a Daily Chore Checklist
One of the hardest things about selling your home with kids is that you have to keep your home fairly clean at all times, including for those last-minute showings that are so obnoxious. Remember, it just might be one of those inconvenient showings that sells your home.
Make a quick checklist of chores you want to do each day to keep your home looking clean (probably not spotless, but that’s OK). If you have kids who are four or older, you can also make them a checklist of things they can do to help you keep the house as clean as possible at all times.
Daily Kid Checklist:
- Make or straighten up beds
- Put toothbrushes and toiletries away
- Hang up towels
- Put dishes in dishwasher or hand wash and dry
- Put away toys and books
- Hang up backpacks and put away lunchboxes
Daily Adult Checklist:
- Make beds
- Sweep and vacuum
- Put away dishes after every meal and wipe down counters and table
- Wipe down kitchen appliances
- Wipe down toilets and bathroom counters and sinks
- Clean mirrors
- Take out garbage
- Fluff pillows
- Pick up toys, personal items, and dirty laundry
- Run dishwasher
This list will help you keep your home looking clean at all times, unless your kid does something like dump out a bag of flour all over the kitchen floor or flushes shoes down the toilet and floods the bathroom. Otherwise, keeping up with the little things will make a big difference in how your home shows.
It’s also not a bad idea to think about striking some kind of a bargain with your child. Maybe they get a special prize for doing a week’s worth of their chores, or maybe they get some kind of special reward or outing once your home has sold.
2. Prepare Showing Bags
Have you ever gone on a long trip and packed bags of snacks, toys, and other goodies for your children? Do your kids look forward to those bags more than any other part of the trip?
You can do exactly the same thing for showings. Then your kids will actually look forward being herded out of the house. Make sure they only get the bags during a showing so that they stay interesting. Include snacks, drinks, a new toy, or anything else that will occupy and excite your child.
If you have a lot of showings, you may want to swap out some of the items to keep the bags fresh and interesting.
Once you’ve made your showing bags, just leave them in the car so you don’t ever forget them.
3. Make Your Workload Lighter
There are some smart tricks you can do to give yourself less work during this chaotic time. Remember, it won’t last forever!
- Pack away toys: The fewer toys you have in your house, the fewer toys you have to pick up. Put 50% to 75% of your kids’ toys in boxes and hide them so you don’t have to worry about them. Ditto for any especially messy craft supplies or toys (did anyone say Legos?).
- Designate certain rooms off limits: If you have several bathrooms, can you go down to two so you don’t have to clean the others? Do you have other rooms that can be locked and off limits so you always know that they’re clean?
- Make the kitchen toy free: Kitchens often sell homes, so your kitchen should be priority number one. Designate it a toy-free zone, which will make it easier to keep clean.
- Clear kitchen countertops: Speaking of countertops, do you know how much faster it is to wipe down clean counters? Remove all clutter and pack away as many appliances as you can so they’re not in your way.
- Keep a big kitchen drawer empty: Keep a large kitchen drawer empty and stash bibs, sippy cups, mail, and even dirty cups in there if you’re in a rush.
- Cut down on dirty dishes: If there was ever a time to use paper plates and plastic utensils for every meal, this is it. It’s also a very good time to eat out as often as you wish. If you don’t want to be so hard on your budget and the weather is nice, eat outside.
- Keep cleaning supplies in a central location: Keeping all your cleaning supplies in one location will make it faster to do any quick cleaning before you head out the door.
Create a Getaway Plan
It’s so important to have a getaway plan, especially for those last-minute showings.
Do you have a neighbor, friend, or family member who will let you pop in for a last-minute lunch or naptime?
You should also make a list of places you can go so you’re not scrambling to come with something when it’s time to leave the house.
It’s important to have your home be as available as possible in order to get the most people through it and increase the chances that you’ll get an offer. On the other hand, there might be times of day when you need to have a delay of an hour or two. Just be sure to communicate about this with us before you put your house on the market.
Good luck with your upcoming home sale! Even with kids, it’s possible to do it without going crazy. With any luck, your home will sell quickly, and it will all be over soon.