Top 5 Things to Know When Selling a Home with Kids

by Heather Stoffle on August 27, 2015

Girl with balls on floor
When it’s time to sell your home, there is a laundry list of things that you need to do in order to get your home ready. This list gets even longer when you have kids, especially little ones which can make any mom or dad’s head spin. Piles of laundry, art projects covering the kitchen table, Barbies and Lego pieces hiding in every nook and cranny is enough to make any parent reconsider the whole idea of selling but there is hope. You can do this and keep your sanity at the same time.

Here is a list of the top five things that you should know when selling your home with kids that will help it sell and help to reduce your stress while its on the market.

First and foremost, have a talk with your kids (if they are old enough) and explain that you are moving to a new home and set the expectations of what is going to happen. Most kids do better when they know what’s going to happen ahead of time. You can tailor the talk to the age of your kids but it’s a good idea to let them know that you will be packing up your belongings and people who are interested in buying your home will come look at it. Explain that there will be times when you may need to leave quickly even if they don’t want to. Even the most sensitive of children will respond better if you’ve already explained what might happen and what your plan is.

Tip # 1  Remove all personalized items from the home

Take down all your personal photos from the walls and shelves, remove the kids artwork and anything that is very personal. This does two things. It protects the privacy of your children and it allows potential buyers to not get caught up looking at your personal photos and memorabilia instead of the house. This goes not just for the kid stuff, but also for anything political or religious based. You don’t want a potential buyer to be turned off and not consider buying your home because of a personal bias or opinion on something totally unrelated to the house. It’s a great opportunity to help your children start to deal with saying goodbye to your house. Have them help you de-clutter and find things to put away. Let them pack their own things and/or help you.

Tip # 2 Paint the bedrooms neutral colors

If you have wall murals, stickers or other decorations for your kids rooms, start slowly and remove a little at a time over a few days to help your kids adjust to getting ready to move. You can have them help you and pick out a new paint color for the next owners. Even though you might think you have the coolest kids bedrooms ever designed, a potential buyer who doesn’t have kids or has a different style may not agree with you and it could be seen as something that de-values your home. I remember showing a very nice home once that had three kids rooms, all painted in a different neon paint scheme including the ceiling. Needless to say, my buyers wanted to take money off of the price of the home to have professional painters come in and re-paint all the bedrooms and they wanted to take off way more money than it would have cost the sellers if they had done it before putting it on the market.

Tip #3 Stage your house

From the time you decide to sell your house until it’s sold and you move, your house should not look like the house you have live in. If your house looks like the home you live in, regardless of how picked up you keep it with kids then it’s not going to look like a showcase home and you won’t get top dollar for it. You can either have a company come in and re-stage it using all your furniture and cut out the clutter or you can work with your agent to do it yourself. Either way, since you are moving it’s time to put at least 50% of all of your things in boxes and store them until you move. By “staging” your home you will appeal to the widest number of potential buyers out there and ultimately increase in the value of your home and shorten the time it takes to sell it. The bonus of staging your home is that there will be a place for everything that is left unpacked and it will be much easier to clean up quickly.

Tip # 4 Develop a plan for showings

It will never fail, you will have just sat down with snacks and an art project with the kiddos and you’ll receive the phone call from an agent who is just around the corner and wants to show your home. Making your home available to show is what is going to sell it, but easing the inconvenience of showings is going to keep you sane. Develop a plan on where you’ll go for short notice showings. Maybe it’s a coffee shop, or the library or a nearby park. Have a portable snack bag ready with snacks and a few toys already packed so you are able to grab it and go. Do not stay home with your children for showings. It makes potential buyers very uncomfortable to have the sellers home as they feel like they can’t really look at the house or envision themselves living there. *Make sure that you establish clear showing times and instructions with your agent and that the agent puts them in the “agent only” remarks. If you have naptime every day between 10AM and Noon and don’t want to be bothered, then make sure your agent knows that ahead of time.

Here are a few more tips for making showings easier:

  1. Plan on having at the most 30 minutes to get out of your house. Even if you say you want an hour notice, inevitably you will get an agent that gets there early.
  2. Keep the vacuum easily accessible and ready to go at a moments notice so you can quickly run over the main rooms.
  3. Buy some air fresheners that you can leave out or use Scentsy air freshener when you leave – never leave open flame candles burning for a showing. A fresh scent helps set the mood particularly if you’ve just cooked a strong smelling meal.
  4. Invest in oversized plastic totes and put them in the kids play areas and/or bedrooms. If the room is a mess and you get the call to show, you can easily throw everything into a plastic tote temporarily and close the lid.
  5. Have a change of clothes, diapers etc. ready to go by the door so you don’t have to run around packing everything at the last minute.

Tip # 5 Clean the bathrooms and kitchen daily.

I know, this is a huge hassle especially if you have small children but if you do it daily it will only take 15 minutes verses having to do major deep cleaning. Let’s face it, kitchens sell houses and a dirty kitchen or a dirty bathroom with toys all over it is bound to turn off even the most interested of buyers. When you put your house on the market it’s not the time to start canning all your jams for the year or pull out every bath toy nightly.

It is possible to minimize your stress and sell your home successfully with children. Most importantly take a deep breath and remember that having a plan for selling your home will make it easier on you and your whole family.

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Heather Williams Stoffle started Urban Living Seattle in 2001 as one of the first real estate blogs in the Seattle area.  Urban Living Seattle’s following grew quickly and with a team of agents supporting the best representation in urban living real estate, Urban Living Seattle became recognized as one of the top teams in the Seattle area. 

Consistently ranked amongst the top agents and teams in the Seattle area, Urban Living Seattle has completed hundreds of transactions representing happy buyers and sellers throughout King and Pierce counties.  Urban Living Seattle Associates was founded by Heather Williams in 2001 and originally was affiliated with Coldwell Banker Bain.  In 2011 Heather Williams became Heather Williams Stoffle and she started her own modern independent real estate brokerage, Williams Stoffle Real Estate in 2012.

logo_rev7Williams Stoffle Real Estate is a modern, independent boutique brokerage with a focus on cutting-edge technology that we leverage as benefits to our clients. Real estate has changed over the past 15 years and we believe that real estate agents and brokerages should change too in order to provide the very best representation and guidance.

We are committed to providing accurate, trusted information and advice in all areas of real estate to our clients. We hold integrity, trust and professionalism in everything we do in the highest regard. We follow trends and economic news, regularly hone our negotiation skills and work tirelessly to get our clients successful outcomes that they are pleased with now and for many years to come.

Williams Stoffle Real Estate has brokers who specialize in all areas of downtown lofts & condos, view and waterfront homes, first time homebuyers, acreage and estates in counties throughout western Washington including King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Kitsap, and Grays Harbor counties.

We welcome you to contact Heather directly or connect with one of our amazing residential specialists to get started buying or selling your next property. 

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Financial News for the Week of January 28th, 2012

by Erin Brumett on January 28, 2013

 

“Happy days are here again.” Milton Ager and Jack Yellen. There was more evidence last week that the housing market is improving. But not everything that happened last week was cause for song. Read on to learn more.

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that home prices rose by 0.6% in November from October, and that they are up 5.6% from the year ended in November. These numbers are based on data received from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages. In addition, both Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales for December, though below estimates, were strong numbers for 2012.

But the housing market wasn’t the only area where we saw positive economic data last week. There was good economic news out of Germany, plus several companies here reported strong earnings, including Procter & Gamble and Honeywell. In addition, weekly Initial Jobless Claims dropped by 5,000 to 330,000 in the latest survey: this is the lowest level since January of 2008. It is important to note that estimates were used for three states, including Virginia and California, so the numbers could be distorted.

How were home loan rates impacted? The mix of good economic news last week caused investors to move their money out of Bonds, which are considered safer investments, and into Stocks in the hopes of taking advantage of gains. And since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, as Bonds worsened last week, so did home loan rates. But rates remain close to historic lows, and now is still a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week 
A full slate of economic reports is ahead, with several key data points that could move the markets.

  • Monday’s Durable Goods Orders and Wednesday’s Gross Domestic Product Report will give us signs as to how our economy is doing.
  • Monday also brings more news on the housing market with Pending Home Sales, which will be followed by Tuesday’sCase Shiller 20-city Home Price Index.
  • We’ll get a sense of how the consumer is feeling with Consumer Confidence on Tuesday and the Consumer Sentiment Index on Friday.
  • Thursday brings several key economic reports, including Initial Jobless ClaimsChicago PMI, Personal Income and Spending, and the inflation-reading Core Personal Consumption Expenditure, the Fed’s favorite measure of inflation.
  • Rounding out the week, the all-important Non-Farm Payrolls will be reported along with the Unemployment Rate.Also on Friday, the ISM Index will be delivered.

In addition, the Federal Reserve will meet for its two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, with the monetary policy statement released at 2:15pm ET on Wednesday. The statement will be dissected for any hints on the current purchase programs of Mortgage Backed and Treasury Securities. If there is any talk of halting the programs this year, it could lead to lower Bond prices and a push higher in home loan rates.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond that home loan rates are based on.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving — and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further — a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates worsened after positive economic data was released last week. I’ll continue to watch all the news and market action closely.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jan 25, 2013)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Mortgage Market Guide View… 
FTC Warns of New E-mail Scam
Small-business owners are the target of this phishing scheme.
By Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger.com

The Federal Trade Commission is warning small-business owners not to open e-mails with the subject line “Notification of Consumer Complaint.” The e-mail falsely claims to be from the FTC and states that a complaint has been filed with the government agency against their company.

E-mails of this sort often prompt recipients to click on a link or open an attachment. However, these links and attachments usually install malware or a virus on your computer if you click on them. Then you’re at risk of having personal information stored on your computer stolen.

The FTC says that you should delete such e-mails. It also offers tips on how to reduce your risk of downloading malicious software onto your computer.

  • Keep your security software updated by setting it to update automatically.
  • Don’t buy software in response to pop-up messages on your computer or e-mails. Scammers use ads that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware to get people to install malicious software.
  • Make sure your Internet browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads. For example, Internet Explorer users should have their security setting at medium, at a minimum.
  • Use a pop-up blocker on your browser (look for the security tab in your brower’s options). Links in pop-ups can contain malware.

If you notice that your computer is running slower, crashes often or repeatedly displays error messages, it may have a virus. Other warnings signs include new toolbars or icons on your desktop, a barrage of pop-ups, Web sites that you didn’t intend to visit displaying on your screen and a laptop battery that drains quickly.

See Protect Yourself From New Phishing Schemes for more advice on avoiding fraudulent e-mails.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents 2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com.

Economic Calendar for the Week of January 28 – February 01

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Mon. January 28
08:30
Durable Goods Orders
Dec
2.5%
0.8%
Moderate
Mon. January 28
10:00
Pending Home Sales
Dec
0.8%
1.7%
Moderate
Tue. January 29
09:00
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index
Nov
NA
4.3%
Moderate
Tue. January 29
10:00
Consumer Confidence
Jan
64.6
65.1
Moderate
Wed. January 30
01:00
GDP Chain Deflator
Q4
NA
2.7%
Moderate
Wed. January 30
08:15
ADP National Employment Report
Jan
165K
215K
Moderate
Wed. January 30
08:30
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Q4
1.0%
3.1%
Moderate
Wed. January 30
02:15
FOMC Meeting
Jan
NA
0.25%
HIGH
Thu. January 31
08:30
Employment Cost Index (ECI)
Q4
0.5%
0.4%
Moderate
Thu. January 31
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Dec
NA
0.0%
HIGH
Thu. January 31
08:30
Personal Spending
Dec
0.3%
0.4%
Moderate
Thu. January 31
08:30
Personal Income
Dec
0.8%
0.6%
Moderate
Thu. January 31
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
YOY
NA
1.5%
HIGH
Thu. January 31
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
01/26
350K
330K
Moderate
Thu. January 31
09:45
Chicago PMI
Jan
50.3
48.9
Moderate
Fri. February 01
08:30
Non-farm Payrolls
Jan
158K
155K
HIGH
Fri. February 01
08:30
Unemployment Rate
Jan
7.8%
7.8%
HIGH
Fri. February 01
08:30
Average Work Week
Jan
NA
34.5
HIGH
Fri. February 01
08:30
Hourly Earnings
Jan
NA
0.3%
HIGH
Fri. February 01
10:00
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
Jan
71.3
71.3
Moderate
Fri. February 01
10:00
ISM Services Index
Jan
50.5
50.7
Moderate

 

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SOLD! 2BR in the Watermark Tower

by Erin Brumett on October 6, 2012

SOLD!  $499,500

The Watermark Condo is one of the most centrally placed buildings in downtown. Endless Southern views over Pioneer Square to Mt. Rainier are savored from two decks or through deliciously unusual wood framed windows. Bamboo flooring, SS appliances, tile floors, radiant heat. 2BR & 2BA flank the living/kitchen/dining area – a perfect layout. Close to everything – Art Museum, Ferries, Light Rail, Stadiums, Pike Place market. Amenities include tennis court, fitness room/club house and more…

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