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It’s true that having children changes everything. And while this typically means for the better, having little ones around does pose a challenge when it’s time to upgrade your living arrangement. When you have your house on the market and you also have children, keeping it staged and ready to show at a moment’s notice means you have to put in a bit of preemptive work. Don’t bow your head in defeat as you step on your third Lego of the morning. Instead, grab your coffee and read on for tips on how to make it all work out.
Purge Everything Except the Necessities
Spend a day or two removing everything in your home that’s not necessary for health and happiness. Start with your stuff first; this will alert your children of what’s coming their way and might even encourage them to start weeding through their belongings before you head to their bedroom. Toss out the trash first — old papers, broken hairbands, and cords that you will never use can head straight for a garbage bag. Next, invest in sturdy storage bins — you can pick them up at Lowe's or Home Depot — to store the things you don’t want to get rid of but that you don’t need at the moment. Off-season clothing and holiday decor are a few suggestions.
Now You Can Start Cleaning
Once you are left with nothing but items that you’ll need within the next 30 days or so, start cleaning. The American Cleaning Institute suggests that you prioritize the rooms that buyers pay the closest attention to. This will be your living and dining rooms, along with the kitchen and bathrooms. Deep clean each area, which should include dusting, sweeping, mopping, shampooing the carpet, and searching for dirt and grime. The kids can help, too; hand them a damp washcloth and let them get to work wiping down the baseboards. You can even make a dust bunny puppet to make the process fun and engaging. Make a chore chart of items that need to be done every day, and only allow playtime/video game time once they are done.
Prepare for an Open House
Chances are, your realtor will suggest hosting an open house within the first week of your home hitting the MLS. If everything is already clean, it should not take that much time to get ready for the big day. Put together a checklist to ensure that all of your proverbial Is are dotted and your Ts are crossed. Redfin notes that this should include things like opening the windows to bring in natural light, reducing odors, and securing valuables. You’ll also want to make arrangements for your pets; ideally, you can keep animals out of the house in the days before your open house.
Don’t Forget About the Exterior
Even if you are selling your home during the cooler months, there are likely toys scattered about your lawn. If possible, put all of these in one place, preferably to the side of the home where they are not immediately visible. Alternately, if you have a playhouse or trampoline, you can store larger items in and under these to get them out of sight. Make sure, however, to remove bicycles and other large objects from under the trampoline before the kids start to play again.
Play Up the School Zone
If you’re moving out of your home because you need more room, you can almost bet that another family is going to move in behind you. If you live in a great school zone, make sure to leave information out and available; GreatSchools.org and Niche are excellent resources.
Selling a house when you have kids isn’t impossible. It is going to take work, that’s for sure. But the time and energy that you put into it now can turn into hundreds or thousands of dollars on closing day, which might come even faster when things are neat and tidy.
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Hi - this is Werner with Home Inspection Tennessee