School’s almost back in session, the kids are getting antsy to return to school, and your house is on the market. It’s difficult enough to manage showings and staging with children underfoot all summer long, but the back-to-school rush can feel like it overwhelms you while you are trying to sell your home. To keep yourself (and your little ones) sane as you try to sell your home in the last days of summer, here are the must-do tips you can’t live without.
1. Create a Blank Slate
Personalizing a house is one of the things that makes it feel like home. However, when you’re trying to sell, you want the buyers to feel at home. If you’ve got children’s art and report cards all over the walls and fridge, it will be hard for buyers to see past it. It’s time to clear out the school year’s display of accomplishments and replace it with more universal, homey touches like a calendar, notices of neighborhood events, and other items that help buyers feel like your home is where they belong.
2. Box It Up
Back to school is chaos, with a flurry of new shoes, supplies, and clothes littering the floors. Manage the chaos by creating attractive, easy storage for the must-have items – both inside and out. Look for large bins or storage benches that can double as decor or furniture, and make sure that everything fits. If you have more items on the loose than can easily be thrown in the bench, you’re going to end up frustrated. If needed, ask kids to help identify the most critical every-day items, and the sad process of wrapping up summer by moving sunny-day toys to the garage or long-term storage.
3. Increase Storage
Whether it’s renting a storage unit or expanding use of the attic, garage, or shed, adequate storage is a necessity. Make sure everything is boxed and labeled nicely and tucked safely out of sight. To make your home as presentable as possible consider putting the following in storage: winter clothes and sports equipment, unused toys, memorabilia and art work, playroom furniture, and excessive stuffed animals.
4. Be Prepared
Don’t let showings catch you off-guard. Create a prep checklist and establish a one or two-hour buffer zone for all tours. As soon as you get word that someone wants to take a look around, grab the checklist and get started tidying, dusting, sweeping, and hiding all evidence of an exuberant summer break turned back to school chaos. Don’t forget the outside, either. Include a sweep of the lawn to make sure that potential buyers won’t trip on a bicycle or overlook the flower garden for piles of summer toys. You can even turn prep time into a game that helps the kids feel included and gives you a few extra hands.
5. Have an Escape Plan
Identify a number of places where you and the kids can go to pass the time during a tour. If the kids are behind on summer reading, a tour is a great opportunity to find them a quiet place to get serious about summer assignments. Or make a date of celebrating the end of summer with a few more fun trips like a nearby park, swimming pool, a friend’s house, the library, the movies, or an ice cream parlor.
6. Pack in Advance
Have backpacks and diaper bags ready to go with all the supplies you’ll need while you’re out and the prospective buyers are in. In fact, start scheduling some of your back to school errands while you have buyers touring. Need to make a quick trip to school to get some last-minute registration items done? See if you can’t use selling your home as an opportunity to get out of the house and manage getting back into school.
7. Leave Room in the Trunk
No matter how well you plan, sometimes you may still get caught off-guard. For those times when getting ready for a showing just doesn’t go your way, an empty or well-organized trunk can be your best friend. It’s probably not your first choice, but it’s such a relief to be able to throw extra toys and other messy items in the trunk of your car at the last minute. This emergency storage trick can be a lifesaver when you’re up against the clock.
Selling a house always presents challenges, but with these tips and a little preparation, there’s no reason you can’t go back to school and still present your home’s best side to buyers. Tell us your tips for selling a house and keeping your sanity during summer break in the comments.