By Lauren B. Stevens
No matter the reason for your relocation, selling your home can be stressful for the entire family. You have a lot to organize and take care of, and your kids are trying to deal with the emotional aspect of moving. Making your home sale a family affair can ease everyone into the idea of letting go and help create excitement for your new house. Let’s take a look at how to get your kids involved in your home sale.
A family affair
After your initial announcement, have a family meeting to discuss a timeline and the plan so that everyone feels included. Depending on the age of your children, divvying up a list of chores for deep cleaning and organization can help spread out the work that needs to be done to get your house ready to show, in addition to giving your children the opportunity to take ownership of the moving process.
View de-cluttering as an opportunity
Anyone who’s lived in the same home for years knows how easily stuff tends to accumulate. That drawer you use for the children’s artwork and school projects? Yeah, it’s time to tackle the drawer and save only the best pieces of your kids’ work. While you may not have the time to create a dedicated scrapbook for art and schoolwork keepsakes, you can trim selections down and consolidate into a box for you to focus on when you get settled into the new place.
Let your children feel like part of the process by having them sort through their belongings — are they really going to read those books again? Do they really need to keep a toy they haven’t played with in two years? Moving is an opportunity for everyone, including your kids, to sort through and pare down their belongings. While they’re going through items, have your children sort items into separate boxes for donating and packing — you’ll be ahead of the game with boxes that are ready to be loaded onto the moving truck when it’s time.
Make it appear as though you don’t have kids
Yep. I know this is nearly impossible, but the best tip for selling your home with kids — and selling it at lightning-speed — is to make your home appear kid-less. Of course, much of this depends on your timeline, but if you have decorated the children’s bedrooms or a playroom with colorful murals or vinyl stencils, it’s time to paint over the wall art and take down the cut-outs.
Homebuying is a psychological process, and potential buyers typically know if a home is right for them quickly. If a childless couple — with no plans for adding to their family — enters a home strewn with toys or with bedrooms depicting cartoon jungle scenes, it’s highly likely to turn them off of the house.
With younger children, explain why you’re changing the way their room looks and build excitement for your new home. Talk about plans for decorating their room in the new home and help them begin to envision themselves in a new place and space.
Explain what “show-ready” means
Another reason you want to de-clutter your home is to make your home highly presentable for potential buyers. If you want to sell your home fast, you need to have prospective buyers envision themselves in your home. This means removing a lot of the personal touches you have around the home and making sure that toys are stored away from common areas. If possible, keep toys confined to the kid’s bedrooms — most buyers don’t want to view a house with toys peeking out of every available nook and cranny.
This is the perfect time for you to practice the art of tidying-up with your toddlers and young children, teaching them to put books and toys away after playing with them. If your kids have been slacking on making their beds each morning, now is the time to drill it into them, explaining that your home needs to be ready for people to walk in at any moment.
Now that you’re armed with information, take a few deep breaths and realize that this will all be over soon. As soon as your home sells, you can go back to “living” in your home without having to tiptoe around and wipe handprints and smudges off of windows, doors, and appliances on a daily basis. You’ve got this!
Lauren B. Stevens is an award-winning writer specializing in home, tech, families, and the military. She’s crafted content for Care.com, Vivint Smart Home, Philips Lighting, ADT Residential, Net Nanny, Home Depot and OXO, and created veteran profiles for Paralyzed Veterans of America. A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Lauren spends her free time composing creative nonfiction essays about military life and her childhood abroad.