Keeping the Kids at Bay When Selling a Home
Homeowners with young children face a common challenge when their house is on the market: How do you keep the home clean and ready for prospective buyers while maintaining a kid-friendly and safe environment?
Keeping that “staged look” as the kids create instant messes can be overwhelming. Your primary focus should be the kids’ bedrooms, according to two home stagers.
“Children’s bedrooms are often problematic when getting a home ready to sell,” said Külli Yee, founder and president of Ilus Design Home Staging and Re-design, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada. “They tend to have more clutter than most rooms in the form of toys and activities, and out-of-season and hand-me-down clothes and toys are often stored in the child’s bedroom.”
Yee suggests limiting the number of toys and activities that children play with each week and adding and subtracting as the kids get bored.
“Most kids only actively use three or four favorite toys at a time and the rest just sits there collecting dust,” Yee said. “Pack away extra toys, stuffed animals and books. Organize the remaining toys neatly in baskets, boxes and bins and display only a few items on the shelves.”
Alice T. Chan, a Fremont, Calif.-based home stager and author of the book 8 Steps for Creating an Irresistible Market Ready Home that Sells, recommended keeping a child’s bedroom floor and closet free of clutter by lightening the load.
“Reduce the amount of items stored in the closets,” she said. “Pack, store or give away anything that the child doesn’t need for the next two to three months. This is also the perfect time to get rid of unused or broken toys and old clothes.”
For those with infants, a nursery should be kept tidy with all extra diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bottles and clothes hidden away in a dresser. Make sure that the diaper pail is emptied frequently.
Moreover, remove any furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose in the nursery. Anything beyond a crib, dresser, rocking chair, changing table and small accessories should be packed away.
If your kids have their own rooms, consider asking them to share a room for a couple of months until the home sells. This allows you to set up the other bedrooms as a guest room or home office, adding extra value to your home.
Unlike pets, you can’t simply pack up the kids and send them away for weeks at a time. Remind your children that once your current home sells, the new home will bring them exciting new adventures. If that doesn’t make them more cooperative in helping keep the place then there’s always plan B: bribe them with ice cream, outside!