Posted in Buying, Family, Home Styling, Information, Kids, Real Estate, Selling

What to do with the kid’s ‘stuff’.

We all know what to do when preparing a home for sale.  If you google ‘preparing my home for sale’, a multitude of websites come up, all claiming to have all the answers to getting your home market ready.  Every agent you speak to will have their own opinion.  Each friend and family member will tell you to do the exact opposite of what you have already spent days or maybe weeks doing.  *sigh*

We know that we need to ‘declutter’.  We’re told to remove our family photos – as if we’re trying to pretend that a family doesn’t actually live here, in this family home.  We know to take all the magnets, letters and bills off the fridge.  We know we need to keep the place clear and clean.  Fresh flowers on the kitchen bench.  Make sure the fruit in the fruit bowl is FRESH.  Grab some top up mulch for the garden.  Is it cliché to brew coffee or bake cookies before an inspection?   And what to do with the kid’s stuff???

One of the most common questions I am asked by my customers when preparing for sale, is what to do with the ‘kid’ stuff.  ‘Stuff’ that in most cases, has usually taken over the entire house.

“What do we do with their toys?  Will their room be photographed?  Does it NEED to be photographed?  There are posters and pictures all over their walls…  I don’t want those appearing on the internet!”  And how do you rationalise with a toddler when their favourite toys, books and crayons are all being packed away and how do you tell them that they can’t play with ANYTHING, for a full FOUR weeks, until the property has sold, and the campaign is over.  Then we can all breathe again.

Let me make it easy for you with these 10 tips:

  1. Family photos tell the story of your home – and buyers love a good story. If your photos are happy ones, leave some around.  Keep it simple and keep it real.  Just put away those that are ‘extra’ personal – YOU know what I mean!
  2. Do put away special toys and anything of sentimental value. If you are selling a family home, chances are you will have families inspecting your home – with children in tow.  ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is best practise in this situation.
  3. Create an art box and a toy box for your children to keep their favourite items organised and easily accessible. These will also pack away easily and quickly in case of a last-minute inspection.
  4. As tempting as it might be to pile the kid’s toys and books into cupboards or a wardrobe – because that’s what cupboards and wardrobes are for – storage, be careful to not over pack. Over-full cupboards give the impression of poor storage so do what the buyers do – open every cupboard and robe.  If anything falls out or the door is hard to close, pull some items out and restack.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use the garage for storage – buyers expect this, so store away. If you are really concerned, then seek out a storage company.
  6. Selling the dream! I was selling a small 2-bedroom unit recently and I knew it would be perfect for first home buyers/couples even though it wasn’t obviously family-friendly.  So, to MAKE it appear family friendly, I asked the owners to leave the toy box and high chair out for inspections so that young couples who inspected the property, could imagine a future for themselves in that home.
  7. I don’t include children’s bedrooms in my marketing photos unless I feel it adds significant value to the campaign. If I have at least 2 other bedrooms that can be photographed, I will leave the children’s room(s) out.  Mostly, for privacy reasons.
  8. If a children’s bedroom MUST be photographed, photos can be digitally touched up to make walls look clean and clear – photos, wall decals and names on walls/doors (was a good idea at the time!) can all be digitally removed.
  9. Be flexible with access times. I know it’s tough when you have a family too, but the more accommodating you are for your buyers, the quicker the property will be sold, and you can return to your normal life.  After hours inspections mid-week can be more practical for busy families.  Consider having two separate open homes on a Saturday – one early morning and another late afternoon.  This will help to accommodate those family buyers who are racing around like crazy on Saturdays, juggling sports, parties, tutoring and other activities with their kids.
  10. When you are selling a home that is going to appeal to families, ensure your inspections are family friendly too. Set aside a few toys that children attending your open home, can play with.   The parents will certainly appreciate it.  I bring balloons, lollies and colouring sheets to my inspections – my cranky child emergency kit!

Selling the family home, running around preparing for inspections and trying to keep things neat and clean all the time, when you have children, is hard.  Trying to buy a new family home, running back and forth between open houses, weekend after weekend, disappointment after disappointment, while juggling kids, is also hard.

Just know that there is light at the end.  And once you have finalised that sale or purchase, and you’ve settled in and gotten comfortable, before you know it, the kids will have grown up, moved out, and it will be time to do it all again.

And make sure you keep my number!  0408 991 855 Because I’ll be there to help you all over again.


Karen Taylor Chernishov shares her knowledge on property, style and renovation, helping you sell, buy, manage or invest in real estate across Melbourne's South East, Victoria, Australia. Telephone 0408 991 855

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