When researchers highlight life’s most stressful events they usually include traumatic happenings such as the death of a loved one or getting a divorce but, time and again, one routine event ends up on the list, moving. 11 percent of American adults move every year and, according to all of them who have kids, moving sucks.
While buying a new house can be exciting, selling the one you live in, especially when you’ve got a pack of messy, sticky, toy tornado-ing kids can be a real hassle. If you’re considering selling your house but are seriously stressed about how you’ll manage showings on short notice or keeping your home looking its best, check out the tips below.
1 | Get a storage unit
Kids come with an incredible amount of stuff and, no matter their minimalist fantasies, most parents find it tough to keep the clutter at bay. When you’re selling your home though it’s important that it be tidy and clutter free at all times to accommodate last minute showings. In order to cut the clutter, make a short list of the toys and equipment your kids use every day and then pack the rest in a storage unit until you’ve settled into your new home.
2 | Take it back to neutral
Perhaps before your baby was born you spent hours designing a zig zag chevron nursery. Or maybe when you transitioned your little one to her “big kid” room you let her select hot pink paint for three walls and purple for the last. If your kid’s room screams “KID” you should probably repaint to create a more neutral space. If repainting isn’t a possibility consider at least removing all decals, posters or wooden monograms or names from the wall. When prospective buyers view your home online or in person they want to image their family living there, not yours.
3 | Take a look from kid-level
As you set out to prepare your home for sale, consider getting down to kid-height level to spot dings or damage you might not see from above. Stickers on the wall, crayon marks under the desk or even muddy fingerprints by the door jamb are easily missed from above but will likely be spotted by a prospective buyer.
4 | Splurge on cleaning
When you’re a parent you often don’t have time to deep clean the kitchen or steam the carpet all that frequently. Do yourself (and your home value) a favor by splurging on a deep clean a day or two before your homes goes on the market.
5 | Clear out the trunk of your car
When you’re selling your home it’s important that you be accommodating when a showing is requested. Even if the request comes in less than an hour before the proposed showing time. Or you have laundry piled in the hall or dishes piled in the sink. In a pinch, when you need the house looking good in a hurry, grab a large plastic bin or laundry basket, pick up everything that looks out of place and store it in the trunk of your car until the showing is over.
6 | Get friendly with the neighbors
Nothing is worse than getting the kids in their pajamas only to receive a last minute showing request. Instead of postponing (and possibly missing a buyer on a timeline) consider heading just down the street to a neighbors house while yours is being shown. Most showings take less than half an hour so, if you’re close by, your kiddos will be tucked into bed in no time.
7 | Budget for the cost of selling a home
While most people consider potential profit when selling their home, it’s important to think about, and plan for, the costs associated with selling. Before your house even hits the market you’ll likely have expenses associated with getting your house prepared like painting, landscaping, renting a storage unit and getting it deep cleaned.
While your house is on the market you might find yourself eating out more often as showing often occur in the early evening and, once you’re under contract and the inspection comes back you’ll likely have a handful of small fixes (and possibly some big ones) to attend to before closing. Take a look at your monthly expenses and make a plan to cut where you can in the months leading up to putting your house on the market so you’ll have extra savings to cover your costs.
8 | Price to sell
It goes without saying that when you’re selling your home you want as much return on investment as possible. When you’re thinking about pricing though, consider how much you’d be willing to pay to not to have your house on the market for longer than necessary. Pricing your home just a bit below market value has the potential to get it sold quickly, helping you move on with as little stress as possible.