The time has come and you’ve now been thinking about selling your home, but you also remembered that YOU HAVE KIDS! How on earth is that going to work without losing your mind? The good news is, you’re not the first person to make a move while having kids and if you plan accordingly, you will survive too!
Aside from all of the emotions that come with moving, one of the hardest parts about selling a home with kids is that they are little terrors that will undo everything you do. I mean, as soon as you get a room cleaned and ready, those little rascals tear it apart. I remember when I went through it and it drove me crazy!!!! No to mention they seem to follow you wherever you go, right?
Kids just don’t get it. They don’t understand why the house needs to be clean and organized. This obviously can cause an enormous amount of stress in the home. Well, the good news is, there is hope! I’ll do my best to break down some simple steps you can take to help make the moving process and emotional breakdowns just a little less stressful.
Here are some tips that might help you survive your move with your littles in tow.
1. Talk to Your Kids
You may not think they understand, but any child 3 or older understands more than you think. Tell them all of the exciting reasons you’re planning on moving. Whether it’s to a new state for relocation purposes or to a bigger or maybe smaller home, explain it to them with a smile on your face. Tell them about the new room they get to help decorate. Show them pictures of the new local parks and playgrounds or better yet, drive by them (if you have your new home picked out) Make sure you explain it when you’re in a good mood and feeling excited too. There’s also a great activity book for kids you can buy on Amazon by Linda Ward called “My New Home.” Remember they may be stressed too and show it in different ways than we do. Make it fun for them. It’s a family adventure!
2. Get Organized & Prep
The very real first step is to come up with a game plan and get organized. This will not only help calm your nerves but can also motivate you.
When the kids are at school or taking a nap, make this your time to start getting organized. Start de-cluttering and purging your home of the items no longer needed or used. Donate, sell, dump or pack it up. Go through the kiddies clothes and toys. Take down any personalized items and put away or pack all but “some” of their favorite toys and maybe 2 weeks worth of clothing. If your kids are old enough, have them help choose which toys and clothes they use most often and let them box up the rest. Let them draw on the boxes with their stuff in it after you label what’s really inside. You and I both know a box of crayons and a box can keep a child entertained more than any toy!
3. Make a Daily Checklist for the Kiddos
If old enough, making a checklist for all of the chores that your kids are capable of helping with on a daily basis and it will make them feel involved and important. Remind them to make their beds (or do their best to straighten it up), clean off the bathroom counter (toothbrush, toiletry items) Find a special place for them to put everything. A basket to dump it all in and put under the sink is always helpful. Close toilet seats, and hang up towels neatly. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher or hand wash and put them away.
When a showing is scheduled have them help turn on all the lights in the home and open the blinds before you leave the house. Your home shows better when it’s brighter! It will get mundane if it takes a while to sell, so try a rewards chart or promise something special when the home sells to thank them for their awesome efforts. A little parenting bribery goes a long way!
4. Prepare “Showing Bags”
Pre-made showing bags for you and your family can greatly reduce last minute stress when you're frantically preparing for your next showing. These bags can hold your kid's favorite treats, drinks, a special toy/book, cozy clothes/blanket. Whatever you do, make these fun! (Add something unique that they only get when there’s a showing - it makes that time exciting for them!)
Make sure there’s a showing bag for you too - include some personal items, just in case you have to run out of the home quickly and forgot to put on deodorant! Once you have them made, just keep them in your car or garage to grab as you leave your house.
5. Pre-Plan Your Outings
Gather some ideas of easy trips for when showings happen. The less planning you have to do in the moment, the easier the process. This may be a good time to go to the park, go on a hike, grab some food, or just walk around the mall. Better yet, explore your new neighborhood!
If your kids are still in the napping stage, do you have friends or family nearby who are willing to let you show up for nap time if needed? Make a list of options so that you can easily escape to somewhere pleasant when you are leaving your home for a showing rather than driving in circles for an hour.
6. Make Things Easier for Yourself
Don’t forget about you! Have an empty laundry basket on hand so you can throw in items around the house quickly if you need to. Then throw it in a closet or even your car! Have a list saved on your phone of what you need to do so you don’t miss or forget the important things, then, plan to do a final sweep of the home once the kids are buckled in the car.
7. Set Up Showing Times with Your Agent
It's super awkward whenever sellers are trying to get out of the home when buyers are showing up. Ask your agent to give you a minimum showing notice for each requested showing of your home. You can ask for more or less time based on your needs. Just make sure you have plenty of time because you'll need enough time for your little one to finish a nap or for your older kiddos to get their helpful chores done. You'll also need time to do a final inspection while leaving your house beforethe buyers get there. Budget this time wisely so that you don't feel too pressed for time. Your agent will, or should, always do their best to work with buyers agents and make these showings as convenient as possible for you, but it’s not always easy.
8. Try to Minimize Your Workload
The easier you can make the process, the better. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
•Cook your meals on the grill or in the oven in a single dish- less clean up if there isn’t a cooktop to wipe down. Better yet, order in or go out!
• If you have several, think about only using two bathrooms- less to clean! When you’re done showering use your towel to wipe down the door.
•Have one place for homework and hide ALL kids craft materials and messy games- trust me, you’ll thank me for this one!
Have toys/books/games/etc. in ONE room - whether it’s each child’s bedroom or a playroom - leave the main spaces a little less chaotic. Schedule lotsof outside play - if weather permits – or playdates at a friends home. Have everyone take their shoes off at the door of your home too!
You’re still living in your home, and you have to LIVE! There is a good chance that the person thinking about buying your home has children - or at least has been around children enough to know that families have to livein their home. Not everything will be perfect, and there will be times when you can’t get to everything on your list! It’s okay. Your kids are going to take their cues from you, so remember to breathe!
Selling a home with kids is a challenge, but it can be a fun shared experience with your family if done correctly. The steps above should help you throughout the entire process. Make sure that you choose a great Realtor to work with, not just the first Realtor that you know. Your Realtor's ability to sell your house fast and keep you informed throughout the process will help decrease your stress dramatically. The Realtor that you hire is a huge part of your success, so choose wisely.
Remember to stay positive, stick to the plan, and make some good memories with your family during this time. You've got this!
For more tips and tricks feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.