They have a saying about working in the movies with children and pets. Selling your condo or house can be a big undertaking whether you’re single or have 3 kids under 3, but the time and effort you make to prepare it will pay back in cold hard cash. Here are some home selling advice for parents out there:
The reason you likely bought your condo or home was because it fit your goals of living with your children or pet. Your home likely shows it. Show how your home 'fits' and it may even attract a buyer that had the same goals you did. I'm not saying leave the playpen in the middle of the living room, or the feeding dishes out to be tripped on by unsuspecting strangers. Put those things away, and even minimize the exposure of those items. Show how a room perfectly fits the Thomas the Train set. (warning: pick up all your legos) Some people are allergic to pets, and you cannot change that, but that was never your buyer anyways. Clean and deodorize, but you don't need to hide what people are going to figure out on their own.
Identifying Your Ideal Buyer
One of the most important discussions you need to have with your REALTOR before you list your house for sale is about your ideal Buyer. If your ideal Buyer has children (for example, you’re in a good school district, have a finished basement, have 3 or more bedrooms and a kid-friendly backyard), then by all means, showcasing the playroom and your daughter’s doll collection is A-OK. But if your target Buyer is single or a couple, then recognize that kid rooms will be a turn-off. Remember the cardinal rule of selling: you want prospective Buyers to see themselves living in your space. I can’t tell you how many condos I’ve shown to single clients who got freaked out by the crib and changing table in the den. That's not the life they know and it makes their seeing themselves within the home, harder.
Toys and Kids Stuff
While you’re taking the time to de-clutter your space, don’t forget that no Buyer wants to see disorganized piles of toys and books, random Legos and your kids artwork on the refrigerator. Take the time to select a few toys for your child to play with during the listing period, and put the rest in storage. Reduce the amount of baby and kid stuff to the bare essentials and empty that diaper genie!
We always suggest our Seller clients leave their house or condo during a showing because it’s uncomfortable for a Buyer to go through a house while the Seller is home (and the last thing you want a Buyer to feel while in your house is uncomfortable)! That’s even more important if you have kids. Having children or a pet welcome Buyers at the front door is not the way to make a first impression. Take the kids or pet for a walk or bring them to a sitter or Grandma and Grandpa's.
One of the easiest ways to sell your home quickly and for the most amount of money is to make it easy for people to see it – and that means making it available to see when people are not at work. Too often, I see Sellers restricting showings to before 6:30 or 7 PM because the kids go to bed. When you do that, you eliminate 75% of the Buyers. If your kids are early to bed, consider taking them to Grandma’s during the first week of the listing.
There’s no question that having kids complicates the sale of a house. All the more reason to make sure you’re priced right and working with an agent who’ll be able to guide you through the process to sell your home quickly. As always, we’d be happy to chat about your home and a selling plan that takes into account the realities of your life. We don't want to turn down showings, but having a plan can help.