How to sell your house when you have kids and pets!

You’re ready to sell.  You’re ready to move.  But wait.  You have a houseful of kids or pets or both.  Where do you start?

My husband and I just successfully sold our suburban house in Minnesota while both working full-time, ministering, volunteering, and commuting.  With two kids and a chocolate lab puppy!  If I can do it, so can you!  Here are my tips so you can have as smooth of a process as possible!

  1. Find a good realtor

This may go without saying, but seriously consider this decision. It has such a big impact on all your future selling decisions. Find someone who you trust, who knows your situation, and who comes highly recommended. If you’re serious about selling fast, don’t bother trying to sell it on your own.

  1. Bins, bins, bins

I’m a bin-lover all the time, but when it came time to get our house ready to sell, I started buying all sorts of bins. I bought some big Rubbermaid-style bins and a bunch of baskets too. I put them everywhere that we normally had clutter. Then, when we were getting ready for the showings and open house, I put the bins in closets. It looked organized (though it wasn’t really!) and was so much easier.

  1. Plan the timeline.

If possible, get your house all ready, and leave on a vacation or to a friends house for a weekend/week. This is really the best advice I can give. If it all works out (and it did for me!), you can avoid so much stress by doing this! I’m a teacher, so we planned around my spring break. We got the house all ready, put it on the market the day before we left, and then the night my spring break began, we got out of town to my husband’s parents’ house. Because we priced it right, we had immediate interest and had over 20 showings and a 300-person open house in the five days we were gone. We got two offers on our way home!

  1. De-personalize.

This is important. And kind of sad! In order for your home to look “move in ready,” it helps to have your possessions in there, but not your personal artifacts. So leave up the generic looking landscape photos, clocks, mirrors, and the like. But take down anything that is personal- photos, books, calendars, to-do lists, photo albums, and posters. It is sad because the minute you begin to take these things down, it instantly feels less like YOUR home, and more like someone else’s home. Like you’re living in a shell of your former home. We got a big Rubbermaid (because I was obsessed with bins… ) and collected all our personal things off the walls in one place. So then, when we move into the new place, everything we need to make it feel personal again was in one box!

  1. Have an outside, professional opinion before you begin showings.

When you feel like your home is almost ready- de-cluttered, de-personalized, and ready to show, then have some people come check it out. It can be your realtor, your friends, your mom, or whoever you trust to be honest with you. You don’t need someone to say, “Wow, looks great!” You need someone to point out the vents that didn’t get clean, the spot on the rug, the smell by the cat bed, the chips in the paint. Better to have some work to do on the front end, than to wish you had and it be too late. The old adage, “You only get one first impression” is completely true when selling your home.

  1. Air fresheners are a must.

Oh, please don’t be offended. I’m sure you’re a very clean person and you don’t smell. But every home has a particular odor. You know it because when you walk into your mom’s house, it smells like Mom’s. Same with your home. You just don’t realize it. So invest in some simple plug-in fresheners throughout your home, with a fresh, clean scent. We used “clean linen” or something similar.

  1. Hide valuables.

This is a sad but true one. You will have people in your home and their realtor, or yours at your open house, can’t watch every thing they do. When I was given this advice, it was very unsettling for me. I’m a trusting person and hate the thought of people stealing from my home. But it is a wise move to hide any and all valuables- jewelry boxes, kid’s piggy banks, laptops, cameras, even DVDs.

These are my tips and tricks I learned in the crazy fog of moving.  What are yours?  What would you add?

Happy moving!

Laura

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