10 best tips for selling your house when you have kids

There’s a lot to do when you’re getting ready to sell your house. From making small repairs to cleaning everything, getting ready can be time-consuming. Add kids to the mix and things can get a bit overwhelming. But it can be done – without a ton of stress. It just takes planning

Tips for selling your house with kids

1. Declutter

Let’s face it, when you have kids, you have clutter. But for buyers to picture themselves living in your home, you have to clear it out. It can be tempting to throw everything in your closets, garage or basement, but this isn’t the perfect solution. Buyers want to see the spaciousness of those areas too.

Pack up what you don’t need or want and donate it. Then pack up what you won’t need in the immediate future (like seasonal items and clothing) and store it neatly in totes or boxes. If you still have a ton of stuff after doing this, see #2.

2. Store the surplus stuff

If you only have a few boxes of excess things after decluttering, you can store them neatly in your garage, basement or a large storage closet. But if you have more than a few totes and boxes, find a temporary home for them. Ask friends or family if you can borrow their extra storage space or rent a storage unit until you sell your house.

3. Find a place for everything

Every item in the house should have a place. Find a home for everything, including toys, shoes, backpacks and miscellaneous stuff that tends to float around the house. When it comes time to show your house, it will be much easier and faster to return items to their various homes. And your house be so much tidier!

4. Clean up

Undeniable truth: kids are messy. Of course, it depends on their age, but at some point, all parents deal with glitter, handprints, marks on walls, and sticker residue. This all needs cleaned up before you sell your house. If you need to clean up tough messes, a quick search of the interwebz will help you find the solution!

5. Tidy the kid stuff

Playrooms and art supplies are okay to have if you find a way to keep them neat and tidy (see #3). Bins for like items work great. And when you label the bins, there is never any question about where things should go (and the kids can help too!). Tidy items each day to keep things from getting out of control.

Side note on children’s artwork: it’s hard not to hang up those masterpieces! But you can keep them from overwhelming your refrigerator and walls. Target and other retailers sell specific frames to make it easy to rotate in the latest showpiece from your little Picasso. This will help you keep the chaos off your fridge.

6. Create a new daily routine

Selling your house can turn your routine upside down and sideways. Intentionally design a new routine (tweak as you go), rather than adding your new chores to your old routine. Things will be easier when you plan for more cleaning, tidying, and interruptions to your day.

Plan quick and easy meals (less time to prep and clean up) and add daily cleaning tasks, along with tidying/organizing a couple of times a day.

7. Talk to your kids

If your kids are old enough to understand what’s going on, they’re probably old enough to help out (even if it’s just a little bit). But if they’ve never been expected to pick up their toys before, it’s probably too much to ask them to start suddenly without warning. Ease into it, but set the expectation and explain what their responsibilities entail. If it helps, add in a reward to sweeten the deal.

8. Make to-do lists

Create a daily checklist of things to do, such as making beds, vacuuming, wiping counters, and putting things away.

Create a separate checklist of things to do before a showing. Wipe down the faucets, sinks, and appliances, spot clean mirrors, put everything in its home, empty the trash, put out fresh towels, close the toilet lid, turn lights on and make sure the house smells good (neutralize odors or bake cookies, limit the use of air freshener).

9. Create a “ready bag”

Your “ready bag” will help you get out the door without forgetting something. Load it with snacks, juice, water, diapers, wipes, small toys, art supplies, and books for the kids. Don’t forget the things you might need – add a snack and water bottle, along with your phone charger.

10. Know where you’re going

Showings don’t usually take too long, but you will need to leave the house. Have a plan on where you will take the kids. If you have family or friends nearby, check to see if they mind if you stop by their house. Other options could include the library, park, store, or just a walk around the neighborhood.

Bonus: Plan for last minute showings

In your listing, you can specify how much lead time you want before showings. But you might still have last minute showings from time to time. And, who knows? Maybe that’s your buyer!? Sometimes accommodating pays off.

Here are some suggestions for last-minute showings:

  • Clear the clutter – grab an empty laundry basket and collect any random clutter
  • Keep your trunk empty to stash the laundry basket
  • Spend 5 minutes in each room, methodically going from one end to the other, addressing the most obvious issues
  • Put dishes in dishwasher and food in the pantry
  • Empty trash
  • Wipe counters, faucets, sinks, and mirrors
  • Vacuum if time (and you haven’t already)
  • Make beds

Have pets too? Check out our great tips for selling a home when you have pets!

Are you ready to sell your house? Selling a home can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. At Coluzzi Real Estate, we answer all your questions and simplify the process every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time!


About the Author:

Amanda has lived in the Des Moines area since 1999, where she and her husband have bought and sold a handful of homes over the years, including a recent flip. Amanda enjoys writing, obsesses about personal finance and is fond of looking at houses. She loves sharing useful tips and info to make life easier for anyone wanting to buy or sell a home. In her spare time, Amanda cherishes time with her family, volunteers with IHYC, gardens, hikes, and practices TaeKwonDo. You can read more of her writing at whywemoney.com