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Selling A Home When You Have Kids

If you have never had to sell your home when you have kids, be thankful!  I've sold a few of my homes since I have had kids and my home is on the market right now.  I was also a real estate agent for a few years so I was able to get some great tips from other families with kids who were selling their homes. 

Selling a home can be stressful enough all on its own. Add a few kids to the equation and it's downright crazy. You are trying to pick up and the kids are making a mess.  You think you have the house all ready for a showing and then you realize that your five year old has pulled every pair of pants out of his drawer and left them on the floor.  

It's stressful, but it can be done.  Here are some tips to help you if you are selling your home with kids without losing your mind! 

~ Set aside a certain amount of time each day to pick up and clean the house. If you keep it generally clean, you won't panic so much when it comes time to have a showing.  

~ Let your real estate agent know up front that you have children at home and the more notice that you have before a showing, the better. Sometimes short notice showings can't be helped, but ask them to make sure they put into the comments that other agents see when looking at information about your property that you would like at least 24 hours notice before showings if possible.  

~ When selling a home, people will look through your cabinets and drawers if they are interested in your house. They will typically open drawers in the kitchen and laundry room.  They will also usually open the top drawer.  Keep these clean and if you have to throw things in drawers at the last minute, do so in dressers that you own (people will NEVER open these), or in lower drawers as opposed to the top one.  

~ Get a few laundry baskets.  Keep them handy so that you can throw things in them at the last minute before a showing. Then just take the laundry basket with you when you leave the house.  This method has saved me more than once!

~  Make a "house cleaning" kit.Have all the things that you will need when you get a call for a showing close by and ready to access at a moment's notice. This way you won't waste valuable time looking for Windex, Pledge, or paper towels.

~ If you have older kids, set rules about how their bedrooms need to be kept while you are selling your home. My 13-year old knows that if her bed is not made before she leaves for school, she can't use the computer or the phone that night when she gets home. It's a little harsh, but if I have a 2-hour notice before a showing, I can't afford to spend it all cleaning her room.  

~ If you know that you have a showing in a day, take your family out to dinner the night before. It's not worth the stress and the extra mess to have to clean it all up. Alternatively, have lots of easy to make, no-mess foods available at home so you can have quick dinners without the mess.

~ Try not to sweat the small stuff.  Pay the most attention to things that people will look at the first time that they are in your home. For example, make sure that windows at eye-level are clean before you worry about high windows.  Make your kitchens and bathrooms are spotless before you start to panic about a little dust in the master closet.  

~ If you have small children who can't help clean, consider having your husband or someone get them out of the house while you prepare for showings. Sometimes it's less stressful to do it alone than to be barking orders at your family the whole time, especially if they can't get things done to your standards. 

Selling a home with kids can be stressful. You want to have a home that looks great and is attractive to potential buyers, but you've also got to live in your house in the meantime.  Do the best you can and know that as time goes on and you have more showings, it will get easier because you'll have a routine. 

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