With 4 moves in five-ish years under our belts you would think we wouldn't bat an eye at packing boxes, house hunting and selling our current home. And we really didn't. Until we had a toddler. Throwing a high energy, lovingly attached to random things, articulate little human into the mix really threw me for a loop this go 'round. Luckily, I've learned a few tricks over the years and managed to learn a few more as this current process unfolded and I'm sharing them all so that you don't have to
suffer fly by the seat of your pants like we did.
5 Tips For Surviving The Home Selling Process
(when you have small children)
1. Make the process work for you
Did you know that you can create and set requirements around your particular home's showing requests? I always require at least an hours notice on a showing request knowing that, while I try my very best to keep it in check, my house will never be truly "show ready" with a toddler living in it. You also have the right to decline or reschedule a showing request if the time just doesn't work for you. Of course, you want as many buyers as possible to lay eyes on your hot little property, but if you are truly in the middle of a toddler battle royale, you can ask that the showing be rescheduled for a different time or day. I personally have never canceled a showing but I have rescheduled showings that asked to swing by with twenty minutes notice or during toddler meal time. Let your agent know what your parameters are for showing requests and they can make notes in the showing system - you will still get calls asking to do a showing with a quick turn around etc but know that you have the right to adjust them to fit to your life.
2. Set the date that you officially hit the market with intent
In many neighborhoods, properties move quickly, so keeping in mind that the day you hit the market - and the three to four days following - will be a time when you could use all hands on deck. If both parents work outside of the home/children are in school, set your market debut for a week day so that you'll already be out of the house. I stay home with my son and my husband works outside of the home, so I made sure our house hit the market on a Friday, giving me the weekend with my husband around to help me keep the house in top condition and entertain our toddler for random outings.
3. Keep the life changes in check
The weeks leading up to putting your house on the market (and while it's live) are probably not the best time to start any major life changes for your kiddos. Potty training, a new sleep schedule or completely eliminating screen time are probably best saved for once your settled in your new place. Can you imagine getting a showing request and having to wake a toddler from his newly established nap time, pulling him off of his potty while he's potty training, or, worst of all, being stuck in the car in the pouring rain during a showing with no iPad? Things will be chaotic enough, don't make it harder on yourself!
4. Prioritize what and when you declutter
In my humble opinion, there really is nothing worse than decluttering/staging your house for showings. Add in a toddler and a playroom and you've really upped the level of tediousness, but it must be done. Go through your toys, clothes and play spaces when your kiddos aren't around to supervise and clear out the things you know they haven't played with in forever. You'll be surprised how much you can clean out without really making an impact on their current must have toys. I managed to find a embarrassingly large Tupperware of newborn clothes, an infant swing and an extra high chair I forgot we even owned on my first pass and made a ton of space in his closet without rocking his boat. Attach what you can that has been saved for sentimental purposes first, then whats been outgrown and is never used, hit the extra "furniture" next (like Anywhere chairs, kid sized craft tables, train tables) and then you should have made enough headway that your play spaces don't look overwhelmed with kiddo stuff. We happened to have a shed in our last back yard so I packed everything into plastic bins and stashed them out there - people understand a cluttered shed but absolutely want to see just how large a closet is when it isn't stuffed with old baby clothes. This may also be a great time to make some extra cash by running to your nearest consignment store or selling on your neighborhood online resale group!
5. Prep your car
Without a doubt, you should take a minute prior to hitting the market to prep your vehicle for time out of the house. Make sure you have snacks, pacis, chargers, a portable potty for potty trainers and a stash of new treats (I hit the Target dollar aisle for coloring books and cheap games) for time you're stuck in your car. I know it seems like you'll always have an errand to run or something to do during showings, but trust me, sometimes the act of getting everyone out of a spic and span house is enough to drain you of any and all energy. We would occasionally park our car down the street and just wait it out, too tired and over it to even grab a coffee or cruise the aisles of Target. Having the car stocked with a new Mickey DVD and a toddler strapped securely into his car seat, snack in hand made for a much more tolerable showing hour.
If you have any suggestions for surviving the home selling process with little children underfoot, help another mama out and leave them in the comments below!