In this market, selling a property can be a challenge at the best of times. Add into the mix your little angels, a handful of crayons plus some jam and you’ve got a tough job on your hands to present your property in its best light! However, family homes are in high demand so selling your house when you’ve got children needn’t be a battle. We’ve consulted with numerous property sellers who have children as well as buyers who are looking for family homes and gathered a number of tips that will help you to present your home as a place that anyone would feel happy to live in, whether or not they they have children themselves.
1. Try Not to Be Too Sentimental
It’s hard to do when you have children yourself, but try to remember that not everyone has children. Try to be empathetic towards your potential buyers. Remember all the things that might have once upon a time driven you to distraction (before they perhaps became the norm) and try to minimise these irritations when you have viewers. Ultimately, in any situation, you are trying to present an image of the house that your buyer will one day live in and the lifestyle that they will enjoy when they have moved their own furniture in. Unless you strike a particularly unusual contract, it is unlikely to contain your children when they move in! Most parents we speak to will say that, however house proud they once were prior to wee ones coming along, it’s simply unrealistic to live in the same manner when you are raising a family in the house. They do also say that they become desensitised to the things that used to drive them to distraction before children came along (running around the house dressed as Spiderman, noise, tripping over toys, etc etc!). Trying to keep the mindset of your buyer in mind is always difficult, particularly in these circumstances, but try to put yourself in their shoes and remember what they are looking for rather than what you have become used to.
2. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Never underestimate the power of the hoover and mop. This is a general tip for anyone who is selling but it’s a bit more of a challenge for sellers who have wee ones. Try to keep the property as clean as possible and consider investing in a deep clean before the photographs are taken. Some prospective buyers will struggle to see past muddy footprints in the hall and sticky fingerprints on the windows. There are never enough hours in the day to look after a family and get your house looking like a showhome, but it might be worthwhile even considering employing a cleaner for a while when the property is on the market if you need a hand. Just an hour of intensive cleaning and tidying can make a world of difference to overall presentation of a property.
3. Spick and Span
Tidy, tidy, tidy! Remember that clutter makes a property look smaller and messier. Does the pram have to live in the hall or could it be moved out into the communal hallway or garage for viewings? Will a prospective buyer accidentally step on a toy car? Do the Barbies have to sit on the mantlepiece? Some toys in the garden can help to illustrate that the outdoor space is great for children but you are also highlighting and promoting the enjoyment that adults can get from it too. By creating two very distinct spaces, adult space and children space, viewers will easily be able to see the possibilities that suit their circumstances. If your children are old enough, consider making a game of tidying-up their toys and books. This also helps them to feel involved in and understand the process of selling your home. In our experience, and that of a Super Nanny who worked for a seller of a lovely house in Edinburgh, Chocolate Buttons work wonders here!
4. De-Personalise a Bit, But Not Too Much
Some viewers will struggle to see past a property’s current condition and see its potential. You want a viewer to imagine living in your current home: where their furniture would go, where their photo frames would sit. Consider removing a few of your photographs, particularly ones with more sentimental than aesthetic appeal. Likewise with the arts and crafts from nursery: remove a few from the fridge and shelves to create more of an impression of space. We’ve been told that sometimes you will appreciate the artwork even more when you put it back up. And sometimes you’ll realise that it’s just there because you haven’t got round to removing it yet.
5. Silence is Golden
Try to create a welcoming, calm atmosphere when viewers arrive. If kids are excitable after all the preparation, try to give them as much notice as possible so that when they’ve tidied their toys away it’s ‘quiet time’. If possible, ask your partner or a friend to sit quietly with the children and keep them entertained whilst viewers looks around. The best solution, though of course not always possible for a number of reasons, is to arrange for the children to be out with your partner or at a friend’s house whilst the viewing is taking place. You and the viewer will be able to concentrate on the task in hand: looking around your property and imagining themselves living there. They will probably also, even subconsciously, notice the fact that they spent less time in your property avoiding standing on a little person than looking at the house!
We appreciate of course that these are the ideal conditions and that, frankly, life just gets in the way at times. However, if you can even focus on one or two of these five tips that work best for you, they will certainly make a difference and can only help you to sell your home and make it appeal more to your potential buyers. And that, at the end of the day, is our end goal.