Tips for Preparing for a Home Showing When You Have Kids in the House

Selling a house when you have children adds a layer of challenge to home showings. You will need to balance keeping the home show-ready with maintaining a happy family, and you need to have a plan in place for when a showing is scheduled. The following tips can help you navigate the process a little more skillfully.

Tip #1: Be firm about notification windows

Depending on the age of your children as well as how many kids you have, you will likely need more time than the average homeowner to schedule a showing. You can put in your listing that you need a certain amount of time to prepare for each showing. One hour is relatively common, but if you have toddlers or several kids, then a two-hour window may be necessary. Keep in mind, people will sometimes try to short-change this by saying they are already in the neighborhood and would like to stop by. Be firm and insist upon the window you have listed, otherwise the realtor will assume they can give you short notice every time.

Tip #2: Pack a showing kit

A ready-packed kit either in the car or by the front door will make getting out of the house much easier. This should include a change of clothes and diapers for babies or toddlers, plenty of snacks, water, and games or toys. The goal of this kit is to keep everyone happy and taken care of for the hour or so the showing will take. Also, have a plan for where to go, whether it's to a local park, the library, or a friend's house. This way you won't be stuck driving around for an hour with a cranky baby in the backseat.

Tip #3: Have a checklist ready

When you get the call that a showing is about to occur, you need to be ready to jump into action so you can get the house ready and get out of there in time. Having a checklist to go through will help. This should begin with the major things—wipe down counters, make beds, pick up clutter, and do a quick vacuum and sweep. The list should also include the small things, such as lighting a candle or setting out potpourri, opening the windows for natural light, and setting out information sheets on your home. If you have older kids, you may also want a checklist for them so they can help you prepare the home.

Tip #4: Get an extra laundry basket

You likely won't always have time to handle all of the messes when preparing for a showing. This is why it's helpful to keep a laundry basket empty at all times. All those toys, laundry piles, or stacks of papers you have sorted go straight into the basket and into the trunk of your car as you walk out the door. That way you can spend time on the essentials for making the house show-ready instead of trying to clean your child's room at the last minute.

For more help in selling your home, contact a real-estate agent in your area.