I recently asked a client how the showing went and she enthusiastically replied, “Great! But…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 10-15 minutes clean-up routine after breakfast; this way if you get a call to show the home anytime throughout the day, the house is already 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 sweatshirts. 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 Street, the reservoir and the lake. In bad weather, you can easily spend time at Moe’s Bagels, the libraries, Barnes & Noble, BMOCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art), Boulder Book Store, The Parenting Place, Logan’s or Vic’s, Amante or Laughing Goat, 29th Street Mall, Into The Wind, recreation center pools, the movies, etc.
Your Village: Noting 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 that you might need a place to lay low during showings.
Sports Pit Stop: 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.
Teamwork: 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 dust pan and sweeper to clean up the floors. A three year old may like to clean surfaces with a duster. A four year old may want to make their own bed. Giving children a chore teaches teamwork, jump starts the learning of some important life skills, and keep 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, etcc, appreciate the donations, offer tax write-offs and may pick up donations at your front door.
You Are Not Alone: If you are struggling with showing, contact your listing agent. He or she is your ally and may be able to adjust the showing instruction, 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!