Jump to content

Menu

Selling a house while kids are still living in it


Squawky Acres
 Share

Recommended Posts

How exactly do you prepare a house for photos, video, and showings while kids are still living in it?  Our agent has all of these ideas about clearing away any unnecessary items and furniture, making things very spare and empty, deep cleaning, and decorating with fresh floral arrangements and bowls of lemons to add color.  

 

The thought of preparing my house to be this pristine makes me want to hyper-ventilate.  We aren't especially cluttery, but we do have five young kids and cleaning is futile.  Anything we wipe down (walls, windows, surfaces) immediately gets smudged or spilled on.  I don't think I can do this.  We have no family nearby who could take the kids.  I was thinking maybe I could put all of the toys in the attic so that they cannot make toy messes, and then just send them outside to play with sticks and rocks or something . . .

 

Another option is to buy a new house and move first, and then sell an empty house.  This is an option for us as we do not have a mortgage on this house, and have plenty of savings for a downpayment.  But does selling an empty (but sparkling clean!) house seem a little bit desperate?

 

I would love to hear from those with experience.  This is the first house we have owned, and we moved from a rental so did not have to sell anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Move first. Scrub and sparsely stage old house.

 

Thanks.  I think I am feeling especially hopeless about things, as my brother's agent told him that with three little boys and four dogs, they absolutely had to move out first as they would never get their house in showable condition.  It just wasn't possible.  But then again, we saw plenty of less-than-perfect houses while we were looking, and that did not prevent us from putting in offers.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't sold a house while kids were living in it, but we recently showed our house to prospective renters while the kids were there. We rented a storage unit to stash all of the extra stuff, and asked for a few hours lead time before a showing so we could get the house in shape. My only moment of panic happened when I woke up to find that my 3 y/o had gotten up in the middle of the night and "improved" on a freshly-painted wall in the dining room. IMG_6730%202_zpseo3fjziq.jpg

 

I highly recommend renting a storage unit for stashing stuff. I didn't realize how cluttered our house had gotten until I'd moved out a few carloads of stuff and suddenly realized that I could breathe again. :)

SaveSave

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Move first. In your position I don't know why you wouldn't. Leave a few pieces of furniture behind to stage. If you haven't accumulated extra furniture you can spare for a few weeks, maybe borrow or rent some . . . or get creative. Use a patio table or air mattresses to stage. You only really need a dining table, a few beds, and a small sitting area. Maybe shower curtains and some pretty towels. You can leave the rest bare (with your flowers and lemons, of course).

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have the option to buy another house first and move at least the bulk of your stuff and yourselves to the new house before selling the current home that would be the way I would go.  Absolutely.  Sooooo much easier.  5 little ones running around is going to make this an exceedingly stressful process otherwise.

 

I have done both.  With one house, we sold within hours of driving away, and we were completely moved out.  The house was spotless and competitively priced for our market.  I hired professional cleaners to come in and scrub it down.  They arrived as we were getting in our car, our real estate agent handled paying them, and people were coming in to see the house late that afternoon.  We had two offers by the next morning.  (We were actually moving out of state so it made sense to hire cleaners.)

 

The biggest generation of interest is when a house first goes on a market, usually.  Having that very first few weeks on the market with a house spotless and competitively priced is usually going to put you in a better position to sell then having to constantly clean up after children, try to stay organized and neat while living in the house, plus trying to work around people coming to see your house.  Sometimes people get very judgey of other people's belongings/neatness, etc.

 

The bigger thing would be to do your research, regardless of what any particular real estate agent says, and make sure (as much as you can) that your house is competitively priced, maybe even priced slightly below market.  When we have priced slightly below market we usually get multiple offers very quickly.  Since they know there are multiple offers coming in, many times we ended up with a full price at market offer or an offer slightly above market and often with no heavy strings attached.

 

You might also consider paying for a home inspection yourself.  I did that twice.  Both times it paid off.  I found things that we could easily and cheaply repair so they weren't an issue when the buyer did their inspection and in one case we found an issue that could have been a deal breaker but we were able to address it BEFORE we ran into unhappy buyers backing out of a contract at the last minute or demanding repairs we might no longer have the time or cash flow to address.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Move first. In your position I don't know why you wouldn't. Leave a few pieces of furniture behind to stage. If you haven't accumulated extra furniture you can spare for a few weeks, maybe borrow or rent some . . . or get creative. Use a patio table or air mattresses to stage. You only really need a dining table, a few beds, and a small sitting area. Maybe shower curtains and some pretty towels. You can leave the rest bare (with your flowers and lemons, of course).

 

 

i agree

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In your situation, I would definitely move first. I think my oldest is still traumatized from the time we sold our house with 4 kids 5 and under and Dh was away at a 6 month training.

 

Hmm, yes.  I'm having visions of running around throwing toys and dirty laundry in trash bags, and screaming at everyone to clean up and find their shoes so that we can get out of the house for a showing.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, when you stage an empty house with the things you left behind, everyone must know that you have moved out already . . . but that doesn't encourage them to give low offers because you must be desperate?

 

We have a beautiful house with recently-renovated kitchen and baths, and I think we will price competitively; but we do not live in a very active real estate market.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We sold our house while living in it, but we took the first offer that was almost asking price, after just twelve hours on the market. I apologized to my kids a lot that week for my very short temper getting the house ready to show. We put a lot of stuff in storage to keep the mess to a minimum. I'm not sure I would have survived if it had been weeks or months of showings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We couldn't move first. If you can, do it!!!!

 

The first time I sold, I had a four year old, a one year old, and I babysat a one year old full time.

The second time I sold, I had three boys, 8, 5, and almost 3. If you've read any of my threads, you know my family is rather intense.

 

We decluttered ruthlessly. Huge garage sale the first time, giving away in free cycle and goodwill the second (we had a lot less stuff the second time we sold because we never seem to be able to quit moving, so we're in constant decluttering mode). I have to say, it was fun to give neighbors all of our (previously free or cheap to us) extra furniture for free. Their smiles were delightful.

 

We pre-packed as much as humanly possible for the move and stored the boxes and extra furniture neatly in the garage. A storage unit would have been preferable, but we didn't have the cash to spare, and our realtor (both times) told us that boxes lining half of the garage was not abnormal, as long as we kept it neat). When it was all said and done, we had less than half of our already rather sparse possessions filling the house.

 

We spent some money to make the bathrooms match attractively. I don't decorate (see theee small boys), but I bought a few inexpensive paintings and some vases and such. Flowers for the table. Do all of the above before pictures. When actually taking the photos, try to remove the kids from the house and adjust each room as pictures are taken for best photos (move the homeschool organizers to the other side of the room out of the shot), completely empty counters, except of decor, move the toy box out of the picture, etc.

 

Clean the house to spotless every evening. This is actually not that hard as there is little left in the house. :-) It only takes an hour or three each day. ;-) (Really, this isn't fun...I'm being honest). Always, always, always clean the kitchen immediately after each use. Dirty dishes in the dishwasher are ok, in the sink, no way.

 

Keep a stack of empty laundry baskets. Require at least an hour of warning before a showing. When you get that call, shut any non-helpful children in one room with a video. Go room to room wiping down/picking up. Put the toy box in the closet. All random stuff goes into the laundry baskets, which go into the trunk of the car. Pull the nice towels out from under the sink in the bathrooms and set them out. Grab the wet ones, Toss them in one of the baskets. Wipe down bathrooms. Turn on something gently scented to make the house inviting. Work your way through all the rooms. If you have time, vacuum the area the buyers will see when they walk in. If not, count on that cleaning you did the night before. Load the kids into the car (or stroller...the first time we sold, we had one that and DH had it, so we walked the neighborhood during showings, rain or shine). Then clean the room they were in and walk out of the house. Breathe deeply, smile, and hope this is the time it sells. :-)

 

And when your DH suggests that it's "so nice" to live in such a clean house and "why can't we do this all the time"...smile and nod rather than bopping him on the head. :-)

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, when you stage an empty house with the things you left behind, everyone must know that you have moved out already . . . but that doesn't encourage them to give low offers because you must be desperate?

 

We have a beautiful house with recently-renovated kitchen and baths, and I think we will price competitively; but we do not live in a very active real estate market.

 

Maybe I'm not that savvy, but we spent the fall looking at houses and that never crossed my mind. I think that many of the empty houses we looked at were investment properties, but we were looking at very middle-of-the-road 3 and 4 bdrm houses. You don't have to take low offers--we offered a bit lower than asking price on the house we ended up buying, but the owners said no and we still bought the house. :) 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have thought about this as there may be a promotion coming on the horizon for DH that would involve a move. We can not sell then buy (well maybe, but moving to the new area would require the equity we have in this house). 

My 2 options are: 

1. rent storage and move out EVERYTHING we are not using in the next 30 days and list to sell. Pack well and label EVERYTHING. Hire cleaners to come often and try to find outside activities that we could do (maybe use the library for schoolwork type stuff) to cut down on messes made in the house. I am sure staying home all day makes messes worse. 

2. rent storage same as above, then pack what we need for 2-3 months and rent in the new area (not too far away, about 30 minutes on the freeway) for a couple months while house is on the market and we get the lay of the land. Problem with that is we would have to rent at least a 3 bedroom due to housing laws here and that = $$$.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One idea, how far are you moving?  If it is within driving distance, I'd rent a storage unit twice as big as you think you need and move everything non-essential for the next two to three months into it.  Think of it as pre-moving.  It will make your house look less cluttered without looking obviously staged.   People will see your house and think "Wow, these people live here with several kids and the place doesn't look cluttered"   Then they will think they could do the same thing and be more interested.  Leave the kids some toys, but only things that can be scooped quickly into a bin, and no legos.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, when you stage an empty house with the things you left behind, everyone must know that you have moved out already . . . but that doesn't encourage them to give low offers because you must be desperate?

 

 

No, to a buyer that means available, not desperate.  A bargain hunter may pick up on the desperateness but you are hoping to find a reasonably motivated buyer just like you're a reasonably motivated seller.  

 

Think of it like dating, what may look desperate to somebody will look available and attractive to more of the target audience, within reason of course.  Won't be on the market long...

 

No way I would try to stage a house with little kids if I could avoid it.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are moving to another town about 45 minutes away, so moving in several stages would not be difficult.  I like the idea of doing a "pre-move" -- renting some storage and boxing up things we won't be using in the next 2-3 months.  That would significantly cut down on clutter and mess, and make our storage look more than adequate.  The only danger is DH saying "Well, we didn't need this stuff for three months, and look how clean the house is.  Let's just get rid of it altogether."

 

While I think it would be best to be completely out of the house, I think the moving and selling might overlap a little bit.  We are starting to look right away, but are so particular that it might take us a long time to find our next place, and then we will have to wait for the closing date and might miss the spring selling season for this house.  I would plan to put it on the market as soon as we find our next place, but I think we will still be here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, the realtor that sold our house doesn't believe in spring selling season. He said he closes on more homes in October than any other month. He sold ours in November, when other realtors hadn't been able to sell it in"prime" season. I'm beginning to think a lot of what we assume is conventional wisdom about real estate is just smack talk.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by SamanthaCarter
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, for an empty-ish but staged house with some key pieces of furniture, would you also leave some clothes in the closet, food in the pantry, and linens in the linen cabinet?  Or does empty/staged mean I take everything out but the beds, dining room set, and seating area?

 

ETA:  And, of course, the fresh-cut flowers and bowls of lemons for color.

Edited by Squawky Acres
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I the only one who read the title of this thread and giggled for a minute because it looks like she's selling the house, but the kids convey. You'd have a hard time moving THAT property.

 

Yeah . . . that was somewhat intentional.  Originally, I had thought of writing it as "Selling a house WITH kids still living in it."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, the realtor that sold our house doesn't believe in spring selling season. He said he closes on more homes in October than any other month. He sold ours in November, when other realtors hadn't been able to sell it in"prime" season. I'm beginning to think a lot of what we assume is conventional wisdom about real estate is just smack talk.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I was wondering about that.  Although up here in New England, it seems to be more true that there are selling seasons.  It is too snowy in the winter, then muddy during mud season to attractively showcase a home.  Everyone likes to wait for things to "green up" in the spring.

 

We have been looking this winter, but are really just seeing the dregs of things that did not sell last spring.  There will be an explosion in March and April.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

focus on one room at a time.

 

declutter (your agent is right about this one.  when looking with 1dd, some of them - just, wow.  decluttering for photos would have really helped them sell faster.)  - if it's stuff you really want to keep, but don't need put it in boxes.

clean,

then take pictures.

move on to next room.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

focus on one room at a time.

 

declutter (your agent is right about this one.  when looking with 1dd, some of them - just, wow.  decluttering for photos would have really helped them sell faster.)  - if it's stuff you really want to keep, but don't need put it in boxes.

clean,

then take pictures.

move on to next room.

 

Thanks.  This sounds very systematic.  The problem is that our agent wants to bring in a video crew to do a walk-through so everything needs to be clean and perfect all at once.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We boxed up all but the bare minimum when we sold our house. Right before showings I threw anything loose in a laundry basket that came with me in the car. My 4 month old slept in a pack n play so I took that too. With 3 kids, 4 and under, and a dog we could get out of the house in 30 minutes for a showing. I had to be very intentional about keeping the house clean.

 

We also priced our house to sell quickly, I didn't want things to be crazy for months.

 

After we moved I ended up donating a lot of our kid things. Even though I am sort of a minimalist, there was a whole lot the kids never missed.

Edited by Rach
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We sold our home last year and my kids Had a lot of electronic time so I could keep the house clean. It was a rough time and stressful for me. Especially when we asked for a day's notice and people would want same day less than an hour.

 

We did a lot of decluttering to begin with. I went through each room and made boxes for storage, give away and throw away. This helped a lot to keep clean. Having the nice organized boxes helped a lot too when we moved into the other house too since it was easy to unpack then. I made sure these boxes were very clearly labeled as to what was in them and where they belonged.

 

I trained the kids to make their beds daily in the morning and clean. I did room checks each morning to make sure all laundry was put away properly, toys away, etc. since most of the morning was school time for us, this kept the rooms clean for me. Each night, I cleaned the kitchen and made sure the main level was cleaned before bed. This kept the house as tidy as I could and then I tried my best to vacuum, wash Windows and dust before a showing. This happened most of the time, but not always.

 

Even with a pristine home and being on the market at the right time, we sold after we had moved out. Had I known that, I would have saved the stress and moved out and then put it on the market. It was empty and we did get some very low offers and just waited for the right one.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving first was not an option for us when we moved a few years ago and our place took a while to sell because it was during a slow market and the type of place we were selling was especially slow. We were able to get lots of stuff moved out and the clutter out of the way and the place really cleaned but it really was hard to keep up week to week so it could be show ready in 2 hours then to need to get an animal and kids out of the house during showings. I do not look back on doing all that fondly but it was not just for a short period of time so that added to it too. I think it would have been ok if it was just a short time frame.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the reduced stress levels for you I would suggest moving out because you can but I do have to tell the story of the first and only house we have ever sold.

 

Our kids were 6, 9 and 12.  We rented a storage unit and took any "stored items" out of the house.  I cleaned like a maniac everyday and we left anytime someone came over, sometimes literally sitting in the car on the next street over.  We had a lot of showings but no bites.

 

In November my entire extended family came for Thanksgiving.  My Grandmother, my parents my 4 siblings, two sibling spouses and 2 cousins.  They were all sleeping in my house. We had sleeping bags and suitcases everywhere. The floor of every available room was covered.  One afternoon we were all watching a movie with the curtains drawn so the family room is dark, three little ones were napping in various rooms and there is a knock on the door.  I answer to see an agent at the door. She mentions that her clients want to see the house.  I say "great, when?" she replies, right now, they are in the car.  I assure her that this is not a good time, we have 15 people in the house.  She insists, so I let them in.  No one even stopped the movie, they wandered right through peering into every messy room.  They left and my agent called 30 minutes later with an offer on the house.  

 

I dot know that I will be that gutsy the next time I sell but it is a funny story.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Move first, then sell.

 

An empty house (not staged), is likely problematic for small or strange shaped homes, or spaces that are undefined. A regular bedroom looks like a regular bedroom in almost any house. Also for overpriced homes you may need to stage. An empty house means a quick close for a buyer.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We just moved.  We had 4 kids in 1300 square feet.  We were able to move a lot into storage before photos.  Then, 2 days before we went on the market, I left town to visit my parents with all the kids and we stayed there for the first week.  DH was able to get every thing in perfect order after we left ( I did so much beforehand, but yes, kids) and we were able to accept every singe request for a showing.  It was a lot of work but saved us from two mortgages at the same time. 

Edited by ksr5377
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sold my house while living in it (2 kids, large dog, 2 cats)

 

Everything in closets got packed into boxes and stored. Empty closets look larger.

 

I packed up 3/4 of kitchen stuff and stored. This was a royal pain but worth it.

 

Knicknacks, books, etc all got boxed up.

 

Got rid of some excess furniture I was not planning on keeping.

 

My house was so empty (in boxes) that people thought we had already moved out.

 

Luckily it sold in one day :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How exactly do you prepare a house for photos, video, and showings while kids are still living in it?  Our agent has all of these ideas about clearing away any unnecessary items and furniture, making things very spare and empty, deep cleaning, and decorating with fresh floral arrangements and bowls of lemons to add color.  

 

The thought of preparing my house to be this pristine makes me want to hyper-ventilate.  We aren't especially cluttery, but we do have five young kids and cleaning is futile.  Anything we wipe down (walls, windows, surfaces) immediately gets smudged or spilled on.  I don't think I can do this.  We have no family nearby who could take the kids.  I was thinking maybe I could put all of the toys in the attic so that they cannot make toy messes, and then just send them outside to play with sticks and rocks or something . . .

 

Another option is to buy a new house and move first, and then sell an empty house.  This is an option for us as we do not have a mortgage on this house, and have plenty of savings for a downpayment.  But does selling an empty (but sparkling clean!) house seem a little bit desperate?

 

I would love to hear from those with experience.  This is the first house we have owned, and we moved from a rental so did not have to sell anything.

 

 

We did it for landlords at the time. The house was on the market for almost a year.

 

The trick really is to minimize as much as is sanely possible.  

 

We kept decorative things (like pretty bowls for fruit) in the closet to come out for showings.  We had to have 24 hours notice for any showing.  Obviously we had everything prepped for photos - that's just one day.  It is harder at the front end - you have more showings.  Price your house right and maybe you'll only have to show it for a week or two!  Ours was more challenging because they priced it higher.... and it really did take just under a year.  

 

But we only had one stressful showing.  (December 23rd, two of our daughters' birthdays and our van was in the shop, so instead of driving around for an hour, we had to take a walk for an hour IN DECEMBER.)  Ironically, that was the one showing that sold the house, lol.

 

If you are thinking of painting walls fresh, go with a moderate tan.  (I have a great color if you want a suggestion.) It will hide fingerprints so you aren't constantly wiping stuff down.  Any kids who are of useful age should consider themselves conscripted into your army.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We staged our house with three little kids. Our realtor hired a stager and she sent through each room and told me what to keep out and what to pack. That was very helpful. We only kept out the clothes that we were actually wearing, not out of season clothing (it was winter when we packed up, so I must have kept the spring clothes handy to switch to). We packed up most of the toys. In the kitchen, we only kept the number of dishes, glasses, etc... that we needed for a meal. I only kept out one bowl, one baking pan, etc... (our old kitchen was small with not much cabinet space). I planned meals around the pantry and the freezer - didn't realize how much food we actually had between the two.

 

The rest of the house - the dining room, the living room, the family room, only had the furniture that you expected in there - nothing else. I could clean the whole house in one hour, if we got a call for a showing. It was very nice to be able to keep the house like that, but it was at the expensive of not having all my "stuff" around.

 

The one room that I got to keep as is without decluttering was my homeschool room.I kept it neat, but I didn't pack up all the school stuff/toys that were in there.

 

It was a lot of work getting to the point of having everything packed up and then fixing everything in the house to have it ready to list. We had a deadline and a list to follow which helped a lot. Since we were also building our current house at the same time, I was busy every second I was awake either homeschooling or doing house stuff.

 

Since you have to do the stuff anyway (pack and fix up your current house), maybe you can set a deadline to see what you can actually do by then. If you find that you can't get it done by the deadline, then you have the option to selling after you move.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, for an empty-ish but staged house with some key pieces of furniture, would you also leave some clothes in the closet, food in the pantry, and linens in the linen cabinet?  Or does empty/staged mean I take everything out but the beds, dining room set, and seating area?

 

ETA:  And, of course, the fresh-cut flowers and bowls of lemons for color.

Don't over think it.  "Staging" isn't to fake out the potential buyer into believing someone still lives in the home.  "Staging" is kind of multi-faceted and can do different things for different people but normally you aren't really trying to dupe your potential buyer into believe you are still in the home.  It frequently is to help potential buyers envision how their own furniture will fit (especially if the house is somewhat oddly laid out), make the home seem inviting, give the buyer a sense that if they lived in this house their own lives would be picture perfect, with everything neat and tidy and well decorated, etc.  I think staging has its place but honestly I have never needed to stage my home.  Keep it clean, neat and decluttered, yes.  Actually stage it after moving out?  Nope.  

 

Talk to your real estate agent.  Maybe they think it is necessary for your area.  If so, just set it up as simply as possible.  If you have been touring houses have you seen any staged homes?  Did you feel they spoke to you more than a normal home  or an empty home?  Is it common in your area?

 

Thanks.  This sounds very systematic.  The problem is that our agent wants to bring in a video crew to do a walk-through so everything needs to be clean and perfect all at once.

 

They can't come in until you give the o.k.  You can do a systematic clear out first, before they walk in the door.  You don't have a home you want to move into yet, so I would be focusing on the clear out.  It will make the photos and video look a lot more appealing.  Better to wait 2-3 weeks while you clear out/declutter, than to rush to get photos and videos out that do not show your house at its best.  

 

Commit to a quick declutter and pack up of some things throughout the house for the next 2 weeks.  Make it a priority.  See how it goes.  Do it room by room.  Have several boxes ready to go for each room.  Box 1:  Stuff to keep but you can live without for a few weeks/months.  Box 2:  Stuff to sell/give away.  Box 3: Stuff you aren't sure about and will have to come back to later (I do this box so I don't get bogged down trying to make an immediate decision I am not ready to make.  Keep this box from filling up quickly.)  Have a clipboard with a pen and sharpie.  Label the box with a number and a general description (not too detailed).  Write down what you are putting in the box of stuff you are keeping (don't really worry about a list for the other types of boxes) on the notebook paper, along with the box number and general description title on the box.  Also keep a separate running list of boxes by number and room, along with that brief overall description.  Makes it MUCH easier to find stuff later.  If you have a kiddo that could be writing the lists while you pack that helps.  Anything to sell/donate try to clear out very quickly.  If you have 2nd hand stores you want to use, find out their policies/requirements and take stuff as soon as you can.  Find places you would like to donate to and write down their hours of operation.  

 

Don't kill yourself doing it.  Set a timer, work for a set amount of time, then go do something else.  Return after a break.  Once one room is relatively cleared out, move on to the next one.  Pace yourself.  Look at sometimes maybe hiring a teen to come play with the kids while you work.

 

At the end of the two weeks reassess and see where your heaviest decluttering should be focused and work on that area.  Work on that.  Then do a massive one day cleaning and have them come in the next day, if you really want them marketing your house in the next month or so.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, the realtor that sold our house doesn't believe in spring selling season. He said he closes on more homes in October than any other month. He sold ours in November, when other realtors hadn't been able to sell it in"prime" season. I'm beginning to think a lot of what we assume is conventional wisdom about real estate is just smack talk.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I think some of this is very regional. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think some of this is very regional. 

:iagree:  A lot of this is absolutely regional.  

 

Definitely there are some overall trends but mostly these things are regional.  Selling does tend to slow down all over around Christmas since a LOT of people don't want to be moving during the Holidays but there are usually still some buyers in a lot of areas.  We have buyers in our area during that time, even though not as many.  Our weather is usually mild in the winter, though.  In areas where it isn't, there may definitely be a significant drop off until things warm up a bit.

 

OP, I would look on-line at local selling/buying trends in your area.  I would also see if I could take a tour of comparable houses to your own in your immediate area to see what your competition would be.  Maybe wait a couple of weeks so you are closer to current market and for the weather to warm up and get people putting more homes on the market, but definitely actually go SEE those homes.  A real estate agent can help but I found things worked better, I made better decisions, when I was also conversant with the situation.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you.  Yes, things certainly slow down over the winter in rural New England.  I think it is different closer to the cities where the markets are more active in general.  But here, it is just the houses left over from the spring and then some sellers who have to sell during the winter.  Almost no one does that on purpose.  I would love to list in the early spring, but I think we really need to know where we are going first.  I realized that our greatest fear about selling first was having to leave a house we love that is renovated just to our liking and not have someplace else to go.  We are less frightened about buying a place in the new town and then being stuck with an old house that does not sell.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago, when my oldest kids were little, we sold while still living there.  One tip that helped with the last-minute decluttering: I emptied out space in the kitchen to stash things quickly, everything on the counters.  Ironically, I learned that trick from the former owners - when we were looking at the house, I pulled open a kitchen drawer (I don't know why, just instinctively) and whatever was in there was covered in a big pile of loose legos.

 

(Fortunately, we sold in one day.  But, when I got the first call about a showing, I got everyone into the minivan and headed to the park.  Then came another call and another... I needed to dash home for the diaper bag in the middle of a showing.  And then it started raining and we had already been to lunch, the grocery, etc.  We were out of the house for over seven hours.  When it came time for the inspection, I had kids napping and stayed in the house, as out of the way as I could.)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've sold homes twice while living in them with four small, messy children. And homeschooling. Both times, the house was on the market for nine months. I kept it spotless (had to for my market), but accomplished nothing else during that time.

 

Just reading this thread makes me feel very anxious. The feelings of stress return, even two years after our last move.

 

You really need to talk to a realtor and go see some houses in your area to see what the market demands. We lived in the suburb of a big city, and our home had to look like a show home at all times.

 

My homes were large, and even with things kept clutter free, it took me a long time to get ready for each showing. I had a certain way that I set up each room, so I would pass through the house, making sure that everything was in place. I would wipe down the bathrooms and put up the new towels that we never used but just put out for showings. Vacuum and wet swiffer or mop as needed. Shine every surface in the kitchen. Hide the undone laundry in the dryer.

 

Ugh. It was horrible. I worked so hard. My kids would have to watch tv (they didn't mind), and I would forbid them from even stepping into rooms that I had already straightened, because they would mess it up.

 

My house was beautiful but I was a mess. I cried the day my realtor gave me feedback from a showing that there were fingerprints on my kitchen counter and that I should make sure to wipe it down better. I had wiped it down. Of course I had. Perhaps one of my kids smudged it as we walked out the door. Yet I had to try to do better.

 

It was absolutely horrible. And then I had to do it again four years later when we put our next house on the market (same town).

 

So talk to the realtor to see what is expected in your area. Our realtor gave us a free consultation with a stager who told us what we should do (the first time I had a huge list; the second time, I knew what to expect and had the home ready before the stager arrived and only had to do a couple of minor things).

 

Move first, if you can.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I visited relatives out of town for a couple of weeks during our "sale with small kids and dogs" time.  We also donated and boxed a lot of stuff before showing.  It all worked out okay, but

 

a piece of me died/went insane during those weeks/months.  I have never completely recovered.  I am not the same mother I was before.  It made me totally neurotic.  

 

No matter what I did, there was always more I *could* do, and running out of the house with a crockpot, two dogs, kids and a laundry basket to eat supper in the park, worrying that the prospective buyers might not like the smell of chicken... I think I'm having flashbacks and I'll have to stop now.  You can move first.  Please, save yourself and do it.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That constant disruption to your lives is the bigger challenge with moving, I think, than whether to stage your home or not.  It can take a real toll trying to keep your house always clean and being ready to drop everything to get ready for a last minute viewing and always having to find ways to get out of your house with your kids while people come to look.  It can be exhausting and horrendously stressful and sooo disruptive.  Your time is never truly your own.  It can be hard on the kids, too, especially if it disrupts night time routines and sleep schedules.

 

I would start with all the cleaning/decluttering immediately, and work hard to be ready to move as soon as the opportunity presents itself since you are not dependent on having your current house sold before you buy your new home.  Also, since it sounds like you really like your old home, it may be an adjustment to leave it behind.  Moving then showing makes even more sense in that situation.  It can take an emotional toll having to prep your loved home over and over for total strangers to come in and judge.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...