selling a house

A parent’s guide to selling your house

Selling a home can be stressful at the best of times, but when you have children, the stress can go to the next level. First of all, there’s the challenge of keeping a home tidy without turning your children into frustrated balls of pent-up energy.

Then there’s the issue of managing viewings. Then there’s persuading them to see the sale and move as fun rather than frightening. The good news is, this can be done and here are some tips.

Getting the house ready for sale

This generally involves a heavy-duty clean-up of the garden and house and then regular maintenance sessions to keep both in “show” condition.

How you go about this depends on your need for speed and your budget. In an ideal world, the children would be taken out somewhere, while the work is done. If that’s not possible, then you could either have someone keep an eye on them in one designated area while you clean the rest of the house or work the cleaning around times when they’re going to be out/busy/sleeping.

You need to make sure that children’s items are kept out of public areas (or hidden away) and their rooms should look at least reasonably tidy and clutter-free.

This may involve streamlining their toys and books, which is probably a good idea anyway, given that you’ll be moving. Depending on your children, you might want to go through this process with them or just try sneaking away a few items at a time and seeing if they’re missed.

Managing children and viewings

Your plan A should usually be to work with your estate agent so that as many viewings as possible are scheduled for times when your children are going to be out anyway.

This, however, may not always be possible, for example, your children may have a day off school (or just be ill). In this scenario, your plan B should be to have an estate agent handle the viewing while you handle the children.

Remember that if you’re selling a family home, then the chances are that your prospective buyers are either parents or planning to be parents, so don’t stress too much about achieving parenting perfection (whatever that is).

Just make your children aware that they’re to be on their best behaviour while the visitors are around and reassure them if they’re nervous about strangers coming into their room.

Making the move fun

As a minimum, avoid stress by keeping to an established routine as much as possible. Where changes are unavoidable, try to provide children with like substitutes.

For example, if there’s an activity they love and they can no longer go to their regular club, find them an alternative club. When dealing with younger children, make sure that you always communicate positive messages about the move and perhaps find some appropriate children’s books to reinforce it.

With older children, try linking the move to growing independence. For example, allow them to design their room themselves or at least have a substantial say in its design.

You might also want to offer them some new tech to help them stay in touch with the friends they are leaving behind and to connect with new ones where they are going, ideally before they actually get there.


About the Author

Indlu are estate agents in Manchester offering a no sale, no fee estate agency service in the North West as well as a free online property valuation to find out how much your house is worth.