A Father’s Guide: Selling a Home with 4 Children

Selling a home is tough enough, but doing it with children adds a whole new layer of complexity.

The comedian, Jim Gaffigan, has a great line about having four children. When people ask him what it’s like to have that many kids he responds, “Just imagine you’re drowning…and then someone hands you a child.”

That pretty much sums it up now imagine you’re also trying to get a home ready to be sold. Staging, open house prep and just everyday organization gets a little bit nutty when kids are involved. Selling a home is stressful enough, but these “bundles of joy” that now own Legos and multiple pairs of play shoes can wreak havoc when you have a potential buyer coming over in under an hour.

My wife and I do not claim to have all the answers. We’re definitely open to suggestions, but here are a few tips we’ve found to extremely useful when selling a home with multiple children.

Use the car as a holding area

Kids are walking tornados. Crumbs, toys, dirt just stream from their person for absolutely no reason. So when you’re trying to get the house ready for an open house or a potential buyer how do you contain the mess that is your children. I’ve found that the car can be your safe haven. Pile the kids in the car about 10 minutes before you’re actually ready to go. Pop in a DVD if you must or put on some music to entertain them while they’re all buckled in. Then you can become the whirling dervish of cleaning and take that last run through the house to tidy things up before buyers come. Plus it gives you some peace and quiet for a few minutes to gather your thoughts and make sure you took care of everything you wanted.

An active backyard can be a selling point

While most of the time you try to be out of the house when buyers are walking through it, as a parent I understand that’s not always a possibility. As long as it’s a nice day, taking the kids to the backyard can actually be a benefit for potential buyers. You’ll be out of their way as they walk through your home and try and comprehend how unbelievably clean it is for someone who has four boys, but then they can also see what the possibilities are for a backyard. Just seeing an empty backyard is ok, but actually seeing how kids use it and what it has room for can help prospective buyers who might have kids of their own to envision how their children might use it.

Electronics are easier to clean up

So we have a rule in our house that the kids can only play electronic devices during certain hours on certain days. But we have been known to make an exception when the house is about to be shown. You see, toys require cleaning up. Electronics just have to be turned off. Sure, you could try and be that parent who never bends or breaks, but this has been a life saver to avoid Lego pieces and Matchbox cars from being cleaned up minutes before an open house begins.

Remember: You’re not the only people who have children.

You’re selling a home with children it. Chances are there will be people who also have children that are looking to buy it. They know you’re home isn’t perfect and it’s ok. The overflowing toy box in the corner or the random Happy Meal toy left on the couch will not make or break the sale of your home. If anything it adds a little character to it and might even make it more memorable. Don’t let the kids stress out your home sale prep. The right buyer is out there and they’ll love your house for being the home that it is.

And of course I welcome suggestions, recommendations and any other helpful tips so please feel free to share in the comments.


Header image courtesy of Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography

Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Aficionado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Coldwell Banker, where he oversees the brand’s marketing efforts and content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While CMO by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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