It never fails for those selling their Windsor home with small children in the house. Just when you get them settled in for a nap, your real estate agent calls and asks if you can show your house immediately for very interested buyers! You look around at the toys covering the floor, the dishes in the sink and laundry piled up and chances are, you want to scream!
It’s not easy selling property with small children. It’s hard to keep a home looking presentable seven days a week, 24 hours a day even in the best of circumstances. There is a lot of stress that goes into selling a property, and adding small children into the mixture requires a lot of deep breaths and extreme patience.
Here are a few tips that can ease the pain and make it so that your home will be ready for those last-minute showings.
1. As your realtor for a one hour notice: Ninety nine percent of buyers completely understand this and understand that they just can’t walk into a home with little to no warning. If you have that one percent that wants to see it immediately and they show zero wiggle room, how badly do you want to sell your house to them? Chances are, they will continue to make your life miserable should they make an offer.
2. Involve your children: If your children are old enough, involve them and make cleaning up a game. Create established chores and reward using a sticker chart! Put on some fun music and have little Tommy pick up the toys while Susie helps clean her bedroom. What really matters is that you are allowing your children to participate and learn responsibility all at the same time.
3. Clean as you go: I have talked about this quite a bit, but all of the home sellers I have spoken to agree this is the best thing you can do when selling your home with small children. Do the dishes after a meal, instead of waiting. Dust and vacuum regularly so that if a last-minute showing does occur, all you really need to do is minor cleaning and tidying up.
4. Create a toy box and have diaper bag filled: Every morning, put out a plastic box by your door that includes toys such as colouring books, crayons, toys for the park or swimming, and have them ready to go! Many parents I know add a small, inexpensive surprise toy or treat to the box so their children will have something new to open when there is a showing. These might include a box of animal cookies, or a new book.
Always make sure you have a bag filled with snacks, change of clothing, diapers, etc., ready to go so that when you need to leave the house in a hurry, you won’t forget anything. Being well prepared and organized for those unexpected showings means happier kids and parents. Tired, hungry and bored children make it all the more difficult when showing your home.
5. It’s not necessary to live in a staged home with small children: Yes, it is important to have a clean, de-cluttered home, but it’s impractical to live like that when you have a young family. Move all of your staged accessories into a closet when you are not showing the house. Once the house is picked up, simply pull out the staging items and you are good to go. It’s not important that all of the niceties stay out when you don’t have an appointment.
6. Hire a housekeeper or gardener if you can: Before you put the home on the market, hire a housekeeper to do a thorough, deep cleaning. Hire a landscaper to come and give your yard a good mowing, raking and weeding clean-up. It may be the best money you can spend as it allows one less thing for you to worry about. This way, you only need to do spot checks before a showing, rather than run around the home trying to do everything at once.
7. Get rid of stuff: Hire a storage unit, sell or get rid of what you no longer want or need. Decluttering your house not only makes good sense when you are selling your home, but it is also less to clean. However, there will be clutter as its inevitable with children. Have baskets or tubs in each room and when an agent calls you about an unexpected showing, throw any clutter into the designated tub or basket and hide it underneath a bed or placed nicely in a closet.
8. Take 20 minutes three times a day to spot clean: You would be surprised how much you can get done in 20 minutes. This is truly an effective way to stay on top of cleaning.