After welcoming your newest bundle of joy, it’s quickly becoming apparent that your house isn’t big enough for everyone. However, before you can upsize to a more comfortable home, you need to sell your house. If this is your first time selling with kids in the house, be forewarned: Staging, cleaning, and moving is harder with children than without. Not only do you have to navigate around nap schedules, but you also have to keep kid clutter under control so buyers don’t walk into a messy house. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do to get your house ready to sell — and keep it that way.
RepairYou don’t want an inexpensive fix like a dripping faucet or dead tree to scare interested buyers away. DIY minor repairs to save money or hire them out to save time. If a repair costs more than $500, check with your agent before spending the cash.
Address cosmetic issues as well. Your child’s brightly painted bedroom might not be a “problem” to you, but buyers won’t view it the same way. Repaint to colors with broad appeal, replace carpeting that’s showing its age, and refinish wood flooring to restore its luster.
DeclutterDecluttering makes your home feel spacious and ensures buyers see your home, not your stuff. Start by getting rid of things you don’t plan to move. If you handle this task early, you can sell your items and put the money toward moving expenses. Clothing, books, and music are the most popular items in the secondhand economy — which, according to Gumtree, is a multi-billion-dollar sub-industry around the world — but you can sell anything in good condition.
Pack items you’re keeping but don’t need over the coming weeks. This includes excess furniture, dishes, linens, tools, recreational equipment, and children’s toys. Don’t exclude baby gear, which can clutter up a house. If you have playpens, bassinets, and jumpers in the living area, choose one or two favorites (ideally ones that fold up for storage) and pack the rest.
Deep CleanNow that your home is clutter-free, cleaning is easy. First, clean carpets, drapes, and upholstery to eliminate odors, then prevent new messes by restricting drinking and eating to the kitchen and keeping pets off furniture. If that’s not an option, use slipcovers and lightweight rugs to protect furniture and flooring and remove them before showings.
You should also clean inside cabinets and under appliances, wash windows, scrub baseboards and crown molding, and clean all the other neglected areas of your home. If you need help, use this handy checklist so you don’t miss anything important.
StageStaging makes your home look larger, brighter, and clearly defines the purpose of each room. Start by reducing the amount of furniture in each room, pulling large items away from walls, and rearranging to facilitate traffic flow. You still need to live in your house while it’s on the market, so use staging tricks to keep everyday items accessible yet out of sight. A lidded storage basket is great for stashing diapers and wipes, while a storage ottoman or wooden chest offers a quick place to hide toys when buyers are on the way.
MaintainAfter all your hard work, your home looks perfect. But how will you maintain it over the coming weeks? The most important thing is preventing big messes like juice spills on the carpet or your toddler’s artwork on the falls. Set rules and use baby gates to control where little ones go.
You also need cleaning routines so your house is never more than 15 minutes from show-ready. Do dishes, laundry, and tidying up daily, sweep and vacuum several times per week, and schedule time on weekends for bigger chores.
When your realtor does call about a last-minute showing, you’ll have just a few more tasks before you can leave the house. Stow away playpens and bassinets, turn on lights and open the curtains, check for off-putting odors coming from the trash or fridge, and give surfaces a quick wipe before buyers arrive.
There will be moments during the selling process where you wonder if all the hard work is worth it — and it is! When everything is done and you’re settled into a home that’s right for your family, you’ll be grateful you made the decision to move and stuck it out through closing day.
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