We moved house when my eldest was just 6 months old. It was probably one of the most stressful times of my life, despite the fact that our house sale and purchase was, compared to some, relatively straight forward. Trying to sell your house is challenging at the best of times, but add in a young family, and everything suddenly becomes that bit more difficult!
Here are my tips to make the process as stress free as possible.
- Storage Boxes – God bless the storage boxes!!! One of the hardest parts of selling your home with a family is keeping it presentable so that it looks clean and tidy for viewings. Inevitably when you have children, they want to play with EVERYTHING, and you spend most of your days tidying piles of Lego away whilst they simultaneously empty out another all over the floor. We invested in some Ikea storage cabinets with canvas boxes inside, as a quick and easy place to pack toys away into quickly and easily is a must. Yes they may well be organised chaos inside, but there is nothing worse than having HOARDS of toys on display, hiding the real features of your rooms to prospective buyers. You can also buy storage play mats that can quickly and easily be scooped up into a bag with all the toys inside. The best £9.99 we ever spent!
- Aim to have flexible viewings – not all times are convenient for viewings when you have a young family, particularly when you have to factor in meal times, nap times and school runs. Chat to your estate agents about your requirements for viewings and discuss how much notice you would like beforehand – aim to find one who can be flexible around the needs of your family. Hatched offer a service that allows viewings with prospective buyers to be arranged via text, without sharing personal details, meaning that viewings can be organised day or night to suit you, regardless of ‘normal’ office hours.
- Make the most of your loft, or alternatively, ask friends / family to store large items for you (such as bouncers and baby walkers) especially if they are things you are not actively using. When people see large items cluttering up space, they will immediately raise the question of storage – don’t make any lack of storage glaringly obvious!
- Have a sort out – get rid of stuff you don’t need. Selling your house is a good time to consider how much of your hoards of belongings you actually need to keep, as lets face it, what ever you keep has inevitably got to be transported to your new home, so its not a time to be sentimental about your pocessions. Charity shops, facebook buy and sell groups, ebay, gumtree and offering hand me downs are a great way of passing on the items you no longer need, and you can potentially claw back some much needed funds in the process.
- Worst case scenario – put stuff in your car!! Yes, I actually did this! There were some items that we were actively using but that may have proved a little unsightly for viewings and estate agent photography. 10 minutes before the viewings were about to start, I shoved the bouncer, the baby bath, and the play gym in the boot and back seats of my car. I left out the odd item to show we had a family living at home, but removed the clutter so that the room sizes and layout were shown to their full potential.
- Focus on the benefits of your home to other families – if you are selling a family home, chances are you are going to attract other families to come and view it. Make some notes of the things that a prospective buyer may like to know e.g. what the local schools are like, nearest shops, park, local supermarkets, restaurants etc. If someone else is doing the viewings you can let them know its there, and leave an information sheet printed off that they can take away. It may sound a bit cheesy but it is the little bits of information that can really seal the deal in the sale of your home .
- Have a “viewings pack” ready to take out with stuff to entertain the kids should you need to leave the house at short notice. For us, this included our packed changing bag and some snacks, but for older children, a colouring in book, stickers or craft activity is great for packing into the car if you need to make yourself scarce at short notice.
- Remember that you still have to live and enjoy your home in the meantime. Hopefully your house will sell quickly, but remember that living in a show home isn’t realistic long term. You still have to let your children have their routines and maintain some sense of normality. If someone has a family themselves, they will not be expecting a blank canvas and signs of family life aren’t always a negative.
Good luck with selling your home – if you’ve recently moved house with children, what strategies did you use to make it as stress free as possible?
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