When you get your home ready for sale, you do not want to have a single carpet fiber out of place or any scuffs on the walls. If you have kids, trying to convince them to keep the place tidy is another matter entirely. Luckily, there are some ways to go about selling a home with kids without going crazy or scaring away potential home buyers.
How to Streamline the Home Selling Process With Kids
Using these six tips, you can get your home in order and earn your family’s cooperation to sell your home faster.
Focus on De-cluttering and Cleaning
Some people like to do some last-minute home improvements before they get a home ready for sale. However, this is typically more practical for families who do not have small children. Be very realistic about your home preparation expectations. A lot of time-consuming and complicated upgrades do not net you a big increase in the sale price sometimes, so will need to prioritize.
Focus the bulk of your time on de-cluttering much more than you think is necessary, and removing all the fingerprints, crayon marks and stains under the couch. Once you are done, you can think about adding some features of interest to the home.
No one wants to do a great deal of work for no perceived reward. For kids who are old enough to understand cause and effect, you can offer motivational prizes or even money for their cooperation in the endeavor.
As an enticement to de-clutter, you may want to offer to host a yard sale and let your children keep the money on the toys they sell. This will inspire them to get rid of more of their stuff, and they will feel less like you are making arbitrary decisions. Consider allowance increases for keeping their rooms in show-ready condition and being flexible about regular showings.
Involve Kids in Decision-Making
Most families spend at least a few months in the home selling process, from the first day the home is listed to the day everyone moves out. That means several weeks in which children may have to deal with a smaller amount of their stuff.
Many people decide to rent storage or keep some of their possessions in a different place while they are are showing the home. If you choose to do this, involve the family, particularly older kids, in deciding what to keep at the house and what to put into storage. Keep the storage unit very tidy, so that the children can cycle out items from time to time if the selling process takes longer.
The Importance of Maintaining Routines
Moving is a stressful situation for everyone, but especially for kids. If they are moving far away from your current neighbourhood and possibly changing schools, they face a lot of worry that can last a long time afterward. In fact, moving a lot as a kid can change the way adults approach relationships.
The best thing you can do is to preserve a level of normalcy for your family. Avoid showings at times that affect sleep routines. Strive to have family time at home each day, as you would if you were not selling the property.
Keep Staging Family-Friendly
Some home sellers prefer to make the space seem as though children do not live there. However, if you have kids still living at the house, you may not be able to avoid this. Stage your home in a way that makes sense, with an open floor plan that is easy to keep clean and put back into place for a showing. Do not add any items that are likely to break or that cannot be cleaned easily in the event of a spill.
Make each child’s bedroom simple, uncluttered and quick to maintain. If you want to keep some elements of the kid’s style for continuity, consider framing drawings and keeping classic toys out as decorations.
Prepare for Unexpected Showings
Even if you make an agreement with your real estate agent that you will always have several hours’ notice before a showing, you never know for sure if you will be caught off-guard by a buyer that must see your home now. You can avoid a lot of stress when selling your home by having a go-to plan for getting out of the house for a showing. Create a checklist of items that need to be cleaned or put back into place before everyone leaves. Stock up your car with books, toys and non-perishable snacks that you can eat on the go if you really have to rush out the door.
Considerations When Moving During the School Year
Moving can be stressful for you as an adult. People may say "oh, children are resilient," but honestly it can be very hard on children if they must deal with leaving their home and their friends at school.
Many parents try to move at the end of June or over the summer months. However, if an offer on your home comes or if the ideal home you've been looking at suddenly comes on the market, you often have to act. Often in Calgary real estate, timing is everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work with the rest of your life. It's always a personal decision, but here's some food for thought.
Kids Are Social Beings by Nature
When they are younger it's not unusual for them to have a close group of friends that they spend a lot of time with especially in school. If you move during the school year, there is an instant group of children for them to meet. The routine of the school day will provide a bit of distraction from any hard feelings they may have had about leaving their old neighbourhood and old school. It eases the transition.
Being the New Kid
This may be daunting to some children, but to most it will make them the centre of attention. You know your child best – do they love to be front and centre at family gatherings? Do they love it when relatives come over and fawn over them? If they come into a new classroom situation, the focus will be on them. Suddenly they are special.
Look through this opportunity through the eyes of a child. They're not as self conscious as grown ups. That may ease the worry you may feel about thrusting a child into a strange situation. It might not be as much torture as you might imagine it to be. Help them to get excited about going to a new school with listen with empathy should there be tears along the way.
Staying in Touch
This is a no brainer for older children who are so connected via Social Media, but younger children should be afforded the opportunity to keep contact with their friends. Drawing pictures, writing letters, phone calls or video chats can be helpful. Visits to the old neighbourhood if you're staying in Calgary and organized playdates so children will have something to look forward to.
More often than not, your children's new life will start to replace the old.
It's Toughest on Teens
Peer groups are so terribly important to teenagers. At this stage of life, the opinions of peers sometimes carry more weight than the opinions of parents. Parents must stay connected with teens even when they appear to be pushing parents away.
Moving to a new community or a new school can be a kick start, particularly for teens that are falling behind academically. Fresh new beginnings can mean schools with higher standards, teachers with new perspectives and a more positive peer group. It can also have the opposite effect, so it is always best to keep an eye out.
Moving can be stressful for you as an adult. People may say, "oh, children are resilient," but honestly it can be very hard on children if they must deal with leaving their home and their friends at school.
Many parents try to move at the end of June or over the summer months. However, if an offer on your home comes or if the ideal home you've been looking at suddenly comes on the market, you often have to act. Often in Calgary real estate, timing is everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work with the rest of your life.
Selling a home with kids is never easy, but there are ways you can minimize the stress for everyone. If you follow these six tips, you will keep everyone much happier with the home selling process.