How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell(No Tantrums Required)

In real estate, time is money, and frankly, sellers with kids don’t have either to spare.

If your kids want to help, more power to them! Assign them small tasks so they feel included, but if they aren’t interested, don’t let them get in the way. Send them to their friend’s house, have a family member take them out for the day, or distract them with a movie so you can get the house ready.

It’s been a fun run in this house, but it’s time to get ready to sell.

Source: (Kha Ruxury/ Pexels)

Start By Getting Rid of Your Kid’s Clutter

Imagine touring a home and stepping on a Lego. Ouch!

So, first things first, clear out all the toys scattered around the house.

Beyond removing hazards, get rid of eyesores like the hot pink Barbie dream house blocking the stairs or the conspicuous play kitchen taking away from your lovely renovated dining area.

If you must leave some toys out in view, consolidate them into one place designated for kids’ stuff.

Real estate agents advises sellers to, at the very least, get rid of toys in the common area. It’s more acceptable to have it in the kids’ room, but definitely do your best to make the living room look like a living room, not a playground.

Most buyers already have a hard time picturing their belongings in someone else’s home, so get your own personal items, especially of the kid variety, out of plain sight.

To make space for buyers’ imaginations, create some “toss” and “donate” containers and start filling them up, only leaving behind the things you (and your kiddos) can’t live without.

Think you’re done decluttering? Keep going.

That’s right, you’re not done. A home that’s filled to the brim with furnishings passed down through generations and collections of tacky vacation souvenirs will not impress.

Put away any dated, bulky furniture or decor. Family photos, random decorations and knick-knacks, and anything else that shows personal interest (such as sports fan gear, awards, and memorabilia), should also go into storage.

Keep in mind the end goal: make your house look like a model home.

What to Do When the Kids See You Packing

Whether you’re packing up toys to store until the house sells, or getting rid of them for good, prepare for a range of reactions. Your kids (and maybe even you) may find it hard to part ways with items they’ve outgrown.

The British Psychology Society published an article explaining that starting around the age of two and continuing throughout adulthood, the objects one owns become infused with their identity. This emotional attachments to objects sometimes lead to a painful but necessary series of goodbyes when selling a home.

Whatever the scenario is in your household, these tips will help manage emotions that are revealed when removing life-long items.

  • Ask kids which items they want to keep, and then assure them you won’t throw those items away.

  • Give them choices of keeping either this or this.

  • Pack up toys in increments. Slowly get rid of the ones they rarely play with and hold onto favourites.

  • Involve your kids in donating items to show them that you are giving these things to people that need them, not just throwing them away.

  • When kids push back, explain that the whole family and all their favourite things are going to a better house, where everything and everyone will still be together.

  • Share all the good things about the new house (better yard, more kids in the neighbourhood, bigger rooms).

  • If you already have a new house lined up, bring them to see it, along with some of their stuff. If not, bring them to a couple open houses.

  • Get them excited about moving and don’t try to hide what’s going on — this will make them even more upset and you’ll need their cooperation.

Deep Clean Everything

Years of boogery faces pressed against windows, juice spills, holidays with your entire extended family, and entry-level art projects can really take a toll on a house. It’s time to deep clean like you mean it.

Start at the ceiling (you might find some baby food up there) and work your way down. Clean the crayon off the walls, wipe off the handprints on windows and doors (inside and outside), and scrub every bathroom until it shines (don’t forget to remove toys from the kids’ tub).

Here are some of the best home cleaning products for your various needs that you can find on Amazon:

  • Ceilings and walls: Chomp Cleanwalls Wall and Ceiling Mop

  • Sticky Stuff Remover (also works on crayon markings): Goo Gone

  • Wall Scuffs and Marks: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

  • Glass windows and doors: Windex

  • Kitchen cabinets: Parker & Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream

  • Stainless steel: Therapy Premium Cleaner and Polish

  • Multi-Surfaces: Puracy All Natural All Purpose Cleaner

  • Bathroom: Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

  • Carpets: Kids ‘N’ Pets

  • Hardwood Floors: Bona

Paint Over Kid-Themed Walls

To reel in multiple offers, a house has to appeal to every buyer. Buyers don’t want to see chalkboard paint or pink flower wallpaper.

And although the height measurements of the kids that’s been a decade-long work in progress on the kitchen wall means a lot to you, it has to go.

When we looked at psychological studies about how buyers experience colours and surveyed top agents about the hot colour trends in the housing market, we found that more buyers can picture themselves best in a home with beige walls. Paint every room in a clean beige paint, and your house will look brand new.

Source: (NeONBRAND/ Unsplash)

Replace carpets and refinish floors

A house with carpeting is usually a turn-off to buyers, especially in a home with kids, and simply steaming carpets won’t give the illusion that they’re new.

If you have kids, you’re probably going to be lucky to get past five years of carpet with it really looking good,” says Cave. “Very often times, aged carpet has to be replaced.”

He adds that it’s cheaper to replace the carpet yourself than to give an allowance to buyers for replacement. If you do it yourself before listing, you can choose the price point. Plus, most buyers are willing to look past carpeting in a home if it’s nice, new, and neutral.

Hardwood floors, on the other hand, may only need a quick once-over with a floor refinisher.

But, if you’ve raised a puppy and taught three kids to roller skate on these surfaces, you may need a professional’s opinion.

It's always a good idea to give them a little extra TLC first, before doing something more extreme. A good clean and condition, using hardwood floor refinishing products, could give them that extra shine needed to sell.

Check out these best selling refinishing products:

  • Bona Hardwood Floor Polish

  • All Floors Restorer and Protectant

  • Rust-Oleum Transformations

  • Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer

Stage the home

Once you’ve cleaned your house and prepared it to sell, the hard part is keeping it that way. It’ll be a joint family effort, so you’ll need all hands on deck. Yes, this is hard… especially if your kids are dead set on not moving.

On two important occasions, your home will need to look its best. And as anyone with children can attest, it’s during the most important days that kids will wreak havoc.

So, let’s rephrase that…

There are two important occasions in which your kids need to be somewhere else.

  • Professional photos and virtual tours It typically takes one full day to prepare a newly painted, clutter-free home for its photo shoot. Have grandparents or friends take the kids for the day - to the zoo, a waterpark, it doesn’t matter, as long as they are out of the house. It takes attention to detail to make your house look as if it’s being featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

  • During showings In this case, you may need to get the house ready at a moment’s notice while also removing yourself and your kids. This doesn’t mean your home has to be picture perfect, but it does have to look as presentable as possible.

This article was originally published by on 24th May 2018 and written by Corinne Rivera