Selling With Kids? Here's the Way to Victory in the Cleaning Department

If you’re like many sellers, you have children. And like everyone else, you’re probably worried about keeping your house show-ready while it’s on the market. This is a valid concern, and having kids does add an extra level of complexity to the process. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Keep reading, and we’ll take a look at the steps you need to take to present your house in its best possible condition. We’ll also offer tips on how to counter the kids’ best efforts to thwart them.

Start by decluttering.

Your very first task is to get rid of all the stuff you don’t need. Plan a yard sale or donation drop and designate a spot in your garage or spare bedroom where your excess will go. This should include everything from dusty books on the shelf to all of the boxes that you have sitting untouched in the attic and garage. 

Be prepared, this is where the kids are going to fight back. If possible, have your spouse or partner take the kids to the park while you sneak through the toy bins for broken and out-aged items. If they catch you in the act, there is no shame in letting them stage a toy shop so that you can buy things from them. What you do once they’re yours is up to you.

Bring in professional help.

There are a few people to have on your side when you’re trying to get your house ready for sale. First and most obviously is your realtor. Your agent can walk you through the house to determine your best features. Chances are, this will be your kitchen, living room, and master bed and bathroom. These will be the areas that should receive the most attention. 

Next, a professional stager can help you set your home up efficiently and attractively. This is an investment, however, and the initial consultation can cost upwards of $600, although some charge as little as $150. At around $75 per hour, you can expect a total bill of around $1,101, according to HomeAdvisor. Keep in mind that a staged home sells around 73 percent faster, so what you are really buying is time that you don’t have to upkeep a rigid cleaning regimen.

Establish a daily routine.

Speaking of your cleaning regimen, you’ll be doing yourself and your family a huge favor if you establish a daily cleaning routine now. This should include making the beds, loading the dishwasher, and wiping down the countertops and appliances first thing in the morning. At night, make sure to sweep and mop, put toys away, throw the junk mail in the trash and put away the laundry. 

Your kids can help, even if they are little. For younger kids, make a game out of cleaning. You might, for example, give them one point for each toy they put in their toy box. For older kids, your best bet is to write down their daily responsibilities. The mom-writers at My Home School Hub also recommend using their favorite activities as a form of delayed gratification. In other words, no Minecraft until the beds are made and the floors vacuumed.

Putting your home on the market is exciting. But it also comes with lots of apprehensions, particularly when you have kids that might not understand the importance of keeping things clean. Fortunately, even though it’s a challenge, making sure your home is ready for those last-minute showings doesn’t have to be a chore. The tips above can help you divide and conquer until moving day.

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