Whether you’re relocating for work or simply looking to downsize, you’ve decided to sell your home during the winter season. On top of it all, you’re carpooling the kids to basketball and dance classes after work each evening, which leaves absolutely no time for, well, just about anything. Don’t fret! It’s possible to nail that winter home sale and have your kids’ needs taken care of, you just need a little prep.
First step: family huddle
As soon as you know you’re selling, you should bring your children into the fold. Selling your home with kids is easier if you’ve prepared them for the upcoming changes. If they’re younger, this may be as simple as having conversations about the new home and what their new bedroom may look like. With older kids, it’s important that they feel heard, so make sure you take the time to field their questions and concerns. If possible, provide details about your next home, or the area to which you’re moving. If time allows a Saturday visit is always a good idea if you’re moving out of town.
Get the kids involved
You can’t do it all on your own, and why should you? The best way to get your kids used to the idea of moving is to involve them in the process. Your first project should be working together to get rid of household clutter.
One year, five years — no matter how long you’ve lived in your house, there’s bound to be a collection of unused items. Have kids sort through their possessions and purge items they’re no longer using. With little ones, you may want to promise a new toy or two for their new bedroom or playroom at the next house as a way of encouraging them to get rid of old, unused toys — they’re making room for new items. This is also a great time to talk about donating items to less fortunate children, who will love the toys they’ve outgrown.
A family affair
And while the kids are involved in decluttering, teach them what a show-ready home is. For preschoolers and toddlers, this may be a great time to teach them about tidying up after themselves, whether it be their toys, snack bowls or sippy cups. Messy tweens and teens may struggle a bit with bad habits, but remind them that the better they clean up after themselves, the faster the selling process will go. Potential buyers don’t want to walk through a messy house, now do they?
Head-start with packing
Part of the decluttering and de-family-fying is the opportunity to pack away items you’re not planning on parting ways with, but you won’t need before you move. For children, this could be the creation of a keepsake box with items already packed and ready to go to the new house. For you, this could be taking the time to carefully remove and pack the plethora of family photos and children’s art projects that decorate your home. While those are the items that make your home feel homey, potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home with their family, and walls peppered with school photos and family portraits don’t help.
And while you’re depersonalizing your home, embrace a minimalist approach to staging your home for sale. Not only will you get a head start on packing for your eventual move, but you’ll be presenting a clean canvas for potential buyers. Most of all, cutting out the clutter will make it easy for the entire family to keep the house show-ready during the selling process.
If your home is listed over the winter holidays, it can be tricky to know how to handle decorations. So, one of the best seasonal home selling tips is that less is more. Decorate your home for the holidays, but go easy. Hanging white lights outdoors or placing white candles in the windows will give your kids the fun of holiday lights while creating a well-lit and welcoming feel for potential buyers. Remember, you don’t want to do too much because it can overwhelm buyers, in addition to creating more work and clean up when it comes time to move.
So, instead of pulling your hair out, get your family on-board with your winter home sale. Your listing preparations will give you a leg-up on your pending move, and your kids will get a sense of ownership from their involvement. You’ve got this!