Cleaning With Kids:
A Huge Hurdle for Parents When Selling a Home with Kids
Your home’s cleanliness rivals location and price in importance when it’s time to sell. But when you are selling with kids, keeping the house in pristine condition is a full-time job. However, there are ways to make it happen, even if you have multiple children at home and very little time to devote to your cleaning routine. Here are just a few suggestions:
Admittedly, this seems like the easy way out. And it can get expensive. And you’ll still have to do a quick cleaning session before viewings. And your cleaning service may not handle everything. But it can be a truly convenient way to keep your home tidy when you’ve got work and family responsibilities. A single cleaning session can cost you $100-$150 on average. Invite a friend or family member to help that first time.
If you can’t bring in a service, you’ll have to get really good at cleaning yourself. A “ready for showing” clean is very different from your everyday type of cleaning. Plan to have your spouse, partner, or friend take the children for a few hours once each week as you slowly give your house a deep cleaning. This will also offer you a chance to declutter without starting World War III and to do things you normally can’t when the kids around, such as scrubbing tile grout or waxing hardwood floors.
Master the Last-Minute Essentials
You can ask your Realtor to only schedule showings for certain days and times. However, this can result in a slower sale, and, when time is of the essence, you’ll have to be open to showings with little notice, sometimes within the hour. When you only have a few minutes to prepare, start by opening the curtains. Lighting is key; you can close the blinds if the windows display an unattractive view outside, but definitely make sure all the lights are on.
Spend your time doing only what will have the most impact. Load and start the dishwasher. Take out the trash in the kitchen and bathrooms and make sure there is a clear pathway between rooms. If you have lots of small rugs throughout the home, toss them in the garage. Remodelista notes that having fewer rugs can even give the illusion of a larger room, which can make it appear cleaner.
If you haven’t already, invest in a few key pieces of storage furniture. This does not have to be anything expensive, and you can find great looking furniture at discount stores like Big Lots. A storage ottoman or cabinet with a solid door is a great place to hide wayward toys, blankets, and stray shoes in a hurry. If you’d rather send items to a storage unit, try looking for one that has the best deal. For example, if you live in Portland and go with Extra Space Storage – Portland on 82nd Avenue, you’ll find discounted prices for all their units, and the first month is free.
Get Rid of Odors
Before your potential buyers register what their eyes see, their sense of smell will sound an alert if your home is anything but odor-free. You may not notice unpleasant scents but other people will, explains CheatSheet contributor Amanda Harding. The fastest way to minimize unpleasant aromas is to open the windows. If you have time, consider adding a few spoonfuls of vanilla to an oven-safe dish and popping it in the oven.
Most Importantly, Teach the Kids to Help
If your children are old enough to walk and talk, they’re plenty big enough to help around the house. Make your daily cleaning routine an enjoyable experience by offering rewards for completed chores. Younger children may think cleaning is a game if you give them their own tools, such as a toddler-sized broom or water-filled spray bottle and washcloth.
It takes lots of hard work, but having a clean house can make all the difference. So master the basics, get the entire family involved, and don’t be afraid to cheat a little here and there. Home selling with kids is possible, just a bit more work!
Guest Article by Kristin Louis, www.ParentingWithKris.com