Selling Your House When You Have Kids

Selling your house when you have small kids. How to survive the home selling process with your sanity.

So we decided to take the plunge and sell our house. It hit the market a few days ago. We are staying in the same town, just looking to move to an area with a little more land. If you have sold a house with young children then I have lots of admiration for you. Moving anytime is a stressful experience, but when you add 3 little ones to the mix, it can be insane.

One of the more difficult things about selling is having the house ready for showings. This wouldn't be that big a deal if it was just my husband and I, but kids have a lot of stuff and no potential buyer wants to see all that stuff. I have figured out some strategies for making this whole process a little easier while retaining your sanity (mostly).

Scheduling Showings

I requested that I needed 3 hours notice before I can show the place. The house is already the cleanest it will ever be, so 3 hours is a good amount of time to put away clutter and get the kids out. If someone is a serious buyer they will want to see your house and make the time to see it. Are there rare exceptions where someone can only see the house right away? Of course, but most potential buyers will understand.

Have a Place to Store the Kid's Stuff

Any extra space in our garage is packed with boxes, bags of packing paper and any extra clutter that used to be in our house.

packed up garage

We are lucky enough to have a great deep closet off the family room. This is the closet where I kept all my crafting stuff and supplies. I cleaned it out and packed a lot of stuff away that I knew we wouldn't be using anytime soon. Now this is the closet where I store all the toys and things I want out of the way when we have a showing.  Here it is, packed to the gills.

closet clutter

Boxes, Bins and Containers, Oh My!

Where did all the stuff in our closet come from? Mostly our family room and kitchen area. Our family room is typically littered with toys. I purged a bunch and packed them away but there are still a number out that my kids play with regularly. I put them in bins and containers so that they would be easy to transport to the closet. The girls have some armchairs that they like to sit in as well as high chairs and booster seats. It takes me less than 10 minutes to load all the kids things into the closet. When the showing is done and we return, I only pull out a few bins of toys instead of everything and that keeps them pretty happy.

Places To Go

So you got a call that a realtor wants to show your place in a few hours. Great! But what do you do with the kids? Luckily showings are pretty short. Usually just 30 minutes. So it's pretty easy to find something to do with the kids. Honestly, the hard part is preparing the house and getting the kids out of there. Some suggestions for places to go: library, park, grocery store, friend's house, walk around the neighborhood, drive around the neighborhood... The key for me is going somewhere that is free or nearly free.

Involve the Kids

This is somewhat harder with little ones. My twins are three and a half and my youngest is two. They do try to help me bring things to the closet, but there isn't much they can do. Older kids can definitely help keep the place tidy. We are very open with the kids about how we will be moving. We have been going to open houses for a few months so they are used to that process. Now that we have the house on the market they have been very good in dealing with all the changes going on. I think the fact that we have kept them in the loop helps.

With any luck our place will be sold soon and we will find a new place we love. To see how to survive a move with kids check out Moving with Young Children.

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  1. Oh, Vicky, thank you for posting this! We are praying for a new job for my husband which will hopefully allow us to move. I think I will be in your place in the coming year and I need all the tips I can get with 4 little ones. And twins! You understand! :) Hope it sells quickly!!

  2. Good tips! Everyone should have a few of those deep closets. Aren't they helpful! Hope all goes well and that the sale occurs in a timely manner.

  3. Thank you for this! We're going to put our house on the market soon... I'm so nervous about doing this with 2 small kids! I'm definitely pinning this so I can refer back often!

  4. Your site is looking lovely. Thank you for the tips. I will pass them on. I remember how difficult this was with 2 small children!

  5. I hope the whole moving process goes well!

  6. Informative info!!! Thanks for it!!!!!Sharon Bush

  7. This'd is so realistic. Thanks!

  8. I wouldn't think it would be a good idea to pack the garage and closets with stuff since potential buyers will also be looking in those areas.

    1. I didn't think so either Jennifer, but the realtors we used and spoke to said people aren't that concerned with the garage and closets being packed as long as they know and can see it's a 3 car garage, or a big closet.

  9. This has made me feel a little more calm. We aren't positive that we are moving, yet, but the idea of it has made me nervous and frustrated. Frustrated since I can't seem to get 3 kids, 2 cats, and a ferret to cooperate with me. The other "helpful hint" sites I came across all made it clear just how easy it is to get organized and clean for a showing. Just a guess, but I am pretty sure none of those authors have more than one child, if they have children at all.