Selling a Home Where the Kids Still Roam: Our Top Tips

Selling a home always creates a fair amount of stress! Here are our best tips for selling a home when the kids are underfoot.

Getting out of the house with the little ones is a wise strategy during showing. (Photo: Courtesy of the Goodhart Group)

By Allison Goodhart

Alexandria, VA – Selling a home always creates a fair amount of stress for our clients. Even the smoothest of transactions can cause anxious moments. Throw children into the equation and look out! Having gone through this process recently, we thought we would share our best tips for selling a home when the kids are underfoot.

Prepping Your Home for Sale

Long before your home goes on the market, take these important steps for successfully selling a home where it’s clear that children have lived.

● PURGE! Now is the time to give away, donate, or sell toys and clothes your kids have outgrown.

● Pare down to just the toys and books necessary for everyday use. Put the rest in storage.

● Try to keep kids’ things in only one room of the house, ideally a basement room or dedicated playroom.

● Paint the kids’ rooms a neutral color. Potential buyers won’t want to see your adorable murals or stenciling.

● Take down your family photos. As cute as your kids may be, potential buyers need to picture themselves in your home, not your family. Replace your photos with generic artwork and make sure family photos are not visible online.

● Store outdoor toys in the garage or at a neighbor’s house. Be sure to round up any balls and toys lying around the yard.

● Clean, clean, clean! Stock up on Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, Goo Gone, and Kids ‘N’ Pets carpet cleaner. Invest in a professional deep cleaning – it’s worth every penny.

Showings with Kids

Now that your home is on the market, you need to prepare for showings and open houses. This is not easy with kids! Below are our best tips for preparing for showings to sell a home when children are underfoot.

● Invest in bins that you can quickly throw clothes, toys, books, art supplies, etc., into just before showings. Store these bins in your car, under beds, and in closets.

● Plan to be out of the house the first weekend it’s on the market, which is when most of the showings will occur. It’s much easier to leave your home in show-ready condition for a stretch than to remain in the house where you’ll have to keep it spotless for at least several days. Use the opportunity to visit friends or family, or travel to a destination you’ve always wanted to see.

● Make a showing schedule. For example, pick two nights when your family has an activity (say, soccer practice or ballet) and plan to go out to dinner on those nights so you’re out of the house for several hours. Let your Realtor know that those are the best nights for showings.

● For all other showings, request a two hour notice (any longer is off-putting to potential buyers).

● When a showing is scheduled, keep the kids in one room while you prepare the house, then go to the park, grocery store, or friend’s house until the showing is over.

● Be flexible with nap times – babies may have to nap in the car!

The Bottom Line

Selling a home when you must deal with kids is not easy, but it can be done! With preparation, patience, and flexibility, you can quickly and easily sell your home for top dollar.