I recently asked a client how the showing went and she enthusiastically replied, “Great! But….” But what? She went on, “my kids think I am “Crazy Mommy!” I yelled at them to ‘finish the snack!’ ‘Clean up the mess!’ ‘Put the dog in the car!'” Her kids wanted to know what happened to Mommy? Let’s take a moment to understand that while it is important to sell the house, we don’t need to throw the kids under the bus to get it done! Here are some tips for managing showings in a household with kids:
- Morning Routine.
Add a 10 to 15 minute clean-up routine after breakfast; this way if you get a call to show the home anytime throughout the day, the house is relatively clean. Make sure surfaces are picked-up, beds are made, breakfast is put away and toys are in their rightful bin/closet/chest, etc
- Requesting Time.
Request a 2-hour prior notice to showing; 2 hours gives your family time to straighten up and exit the home.
- Ready … Set … Go!
Pack a “field trip” bag. It may contain excursion essentials such as snacks, diapers, wipes, sippy’s, and sweat shirts. Having it ready by the front door or in the car means you can grab and go just before a showing.
- Excursion List.
Prior to placing your home on the market, develop a list of places to go and things to do. In good weather, you can head to the park, creeks, farmer’s markets, trailheads, Pearl St, the reservoir and the like. In bad weather, you can easily spend time at Moe’s Bagels, the libraries, Barnes & Noble and Border’s, BMOCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art), Boulder Book Store, The Parenting Place, Logan’s or Vic’s, Amante or Laughing Goat, rec center pools, the movies, etc.
- Your Village.
Nothing beats having a friend who will open their doors to you and the little ones during a showing. Be sure to ask for help and let friends know prior to listing your home you might need a place to lay low during showings.
- Sports Pitstop.
Keep a bin of basketballs, mitts, tennis rackets, Frisbees, kites and the like in the car; a quick jaunt to the courts or parks gives your little ones an opportunity to expend energy and have fun during a showing.
Give your little ones age-appropriate tasks to help the household get ready for a showing. A two year old may like to use a dustpan and sweeper to clean up the floors. A three year old may clean surfaces with a duster. A four year old may want to make their bed. Giving children a chore teaches teamwork, jump starts the learning of some important life skills, and keeps them out of trouble while you get the house ready.
- Containing Messes.
From art to popsicles, explain to little ones that certain items must be used or eaten in rooms where messes clean up easily. I can tell you from experience, a red magic marker + master bedroom curtains = disastrous mess.
- Donate It.
Your family may have an opportunity to clean-out closets, playrooms and the like when selling a house; cleaning out the home prior to placing a house on the market helps make the home feel organized and roomy. Groups such as Saver’s, The Salvation Army, www.boulderfreecycle.com, There With Care, Lupus Foundation, etc appreciate the donation, offer tax write-offs and may pick up donations at your front door.
- You Are Not Alone.
If you are struggling with showings, contact your listing agent. He or she is your ally and may be able to adjust the showing instructions giving you more time to get ready, conduct fewer open houses, etc.
In the end, your house will sell and the whole family can say they helped make it happen!
This article contributed by:
Amy Zoldak, Broker Associate
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
720.841.2390 (cell phone)