Staging Your Home When You Have Children

When I meet with potential clients about marketing their home for sale, I show them a couple of examples of how I help my clients prepare their home for sale. So I show them the “before and after” photos. It is almost guaranteed they will tell me that because they have children, it will be unlikely to keep their home in the condition shown in the “after” photos. Here are three tips on how to approach the make-ready process when you have children.

click on image for “before” photos

Include your kids in the process. I don’t just show mom and dad the “before and after” photos. I show the kids as well. They love to see other kids’ rooms! I ask them if they recognize any toys in the “before” photos and they enthusiastically participate by identifying as many toys as possible. I then show them the “after” photos and ask them what they think of the room. They notice, first and foremost, that the room is clean and looks pretty. When asked where the toys are, they point out the few toys that still remain and the rest of the toys are put away somewhere. This is a great opportunity to talk about where their toys will be put away. In most cases, there are plenty of toys that can be put in storage along with all the other household items that will not be included in the staging of the home. By explaining what the family is trying to accomplish during the make-ready process, your child is given an opportunity to be a part of the family effort. Help guide your kids in choosing a few of their toys to decorate their room or ones that can be neatly put away in the closet when the home will be shown to potential buyers. Remind them that their other toys will be put away until they arrive at your next home. Get creative about the journey the toys will be on and show excitement about it. This will transfer to your children’s attitude about the process and they will feel as good as you do about it.

Call on your kids’ generous hearts. Kids love to share; on their terms. Sure, we’ve all seen our own children refuse to share with other kids, but overall children are very generous and loving. During the make-ready process, you will identify countless belongings that are no longer being used. As an alternative to a garage sale, donating your items to a local charity can help others who are in need. Ask your kids if there are any toys, and clothing they’ve outgrown, they would like to give to other children who are in need. They will ask you why the children don’t have toys and clothing. This will be an opportunity for you to talk about those who are less fortunate and how even kids can make a difference in the lives of others. You will find that your kids are ready and willing to give, and do it with a loving heart and a smile.

Click on image for “after” photos

Celebrate the effort. Moving is a big deal! When you have your home ready for the market you will undoubtedly feel proud of your accomplishment (and probably exhausted as well!). Let your children know that their hard work and effort is worth celebrating. Go to dinner and a movie and enjoy the moment. Your kids will look forward to the next project with a great attitude. And the next project? Well, of course that would be moving into the “new” home once yours is SOLD!

By including your children in the make-ready process, and taking advantage of teaching moments along the way, not only will your children feel a part of the end-goal of selling the family home, but you will also help instill some vital character attributes.

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