Prepping for a showing is hard work, nevermind adding children to the mix. If you are considering selling your home and you have kids, let me just say a little prayer for you right now because yeah… it isn’t easy. But it is totally doable! Continuing on with the home selling series, we are moving onto how to prep for a showing.
More than likely, you will have some lead time before a showing. I would do as much work as possible ahead of time so that when the showing was close, we wouldn’t be stressed. If I had a day’s notice I would vacuum, mop, and declutter as much as possible the night before. The more cleaning I could do when the kids were sleeping, the better! The day of the showing I would do the final cleaning and tidying, but when the kids were awake I was far less efficient.
Have Designated Drop Zones
Prepping for showings was a lot of work. Adding children (miniature tornados) takes that to another level. If I was cleaning for a showing, no doubt that there would be a mess made where I just cleaned up. Usually we were pressed for time trying to get out the door, so we had designated areas where we would just throw things. We had a junk drawer and cabinet in the kitchen, the dryer in the bathroom/laundry room, laundry basket in the master bathroom, and laundry baskets in the kids’ rooms. The house looked clean, which is all that mattered! Was it organized? No. But I just dealt with that later.
Give the Kids an Activity
In order to prepare the house how I wanted for a showing, I needed some dedicated cleaning time. Sometimes (a lot of the time) that meant cleaning when I was home alone with the kids. While cleaning with kids is great, all moms know that it isn’t exactly the most productive or efficient method. What I would do is have the kids near me (in a bedroom or living room) and give them toys and ask them to stay there while I tidy. This usually worked out pretty well. I could clean the bathrooms while having the kids in earshot, but not have them underfoot. If I was downstairs and I needed to mop, I would set up an activity (nothing complicated or messy) on the kitchen island and that would occupy them while I did my work. Or there is always the option of a show/movie. You gotta do what works to get things done! Were they always perfect? No. But it helped most of the time!
Get ready, then Get Out!
As soon as the house was ready, we would leave. Even if it was a few hours before the showing: the longer I was home, the bigger the mess that was made. Especially if we were approaching a mealtime. That is just how life is with kids! I would do as much as possible and then get out of the house for the meal itself. Any parent who has kids knows that the mess only increases exponentially when food is involved!
When we first started showing our home, I went a little overboard with cleaning and decluttering. I went as far as hiding the cat food and water bowls, drying rack, and turning every light on in the house. In hindsight it was unnecessary and only added more stress. People who are looking at your home understand that you actually live there. Leaving daily-living items out won’t stop them from liking your home. Put laundry away, open the blinds, and pick up, of course, but don’t go overboard like I did.
Ask (Or Pay) For Help
We are so fortunate to have a great group of friends and neighbors. I know for a fact that I could call on them if I needed an extra hand cleaning or watching the kids. Do yourself a favor and ask for help if you need it! That is what friends are for. Showing your home can be very stressful, so any extra help you can get is great. If you don’t have friends around or no one is available to help, consider paying someone to help clean your home or watch the kids for a few hours. A few dollars can go a long way to help preserve your sanity! Consider it an investment.
The reality of having your home on the market is that you need to be flexible. You won’t always have a lot of time to prep for showings. My biggest piece of advice would be to never turn away a showing. Even if you only have an hour to prepare, do what you can and let it be. They might love it regardless! I am a licensed realtor myself, so I am speaking from experience. (And if you do have real estate questions, feel free to contact me!) I really hope this helped. It isn’t an easy feat, but it can be done. And as long as you hire a good realtor and are realistic, your home should sell in no time! Good luck!