Tips for Selling with Young Children in the Home

homeselling tipsHomeowners with young children face a common challenge when their house is on the market: How do you keep the home clean and ready for prospective buyers? Keeping that “staged look” as the kids create instant messes can be overwhelming. Children’s bedrooms are the worst when getting a home ready to sell—toys, clothes and activities.

  • Limit the number of toys and activities that children play with each week and adding and subtracting as the kids get bored.
  • Pack away extra toys, stuffed animals and books.
  • Organize remaining toys neatly in baskets, boxes and bins and display only a few items on shelves.
  • For those with infants, keep your nursery tidy by storing all extra diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bottles and clothes in a dresser or nearby closet.
  • Emptying the diaper pail frequently will help ensure that the room smells fresh and clean.
  • Removing furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose can help the room appear larger.
  • Having kids share rooms allows you to set up the unoccupied room as a guest room or home office, adding extra value to your home.

Once your current home sells, the new home will provide your kids with exciting new adventures. If that doesn’t make them more cooperative in helping keep the place, then there’s always plan B: bribe them with ice cream, outside!

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Is it worth the cost?

A stressful part of putting your home on the market is trying to figure out what to fix and upgrade to get the very best price. An experienced agent will recommend projects to consider and ones to avoid. After all, just because you put money into a renovation project doesn’t mean you will recoup the money in a sale.

Male Contractor in Hard Hat Discussing Plans with Woman in Room.

You may also want to consult Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. ValueReport for a breakdown of typical returns on renovation projects large and small. The  24th annual edition published earlier this year contains input from some of the country’s top remodeling professionals and ranked 35 remodeling projects for highest returns.

In many cases, smaller-scale renovation projects recoup more of their initial cost than larger, pricier ones, according to the report. For example, a minor $20,000 kitchen upgrade returns 72.8% of renovation costs, but a more expensive $58,000 kitchen remodel only retains 68.7% of its value on resale.

Surprisingly, the report noted that exterior upgrades recoup more of their costs than interior renovations — a trend that’s been building for the past five years. What’s the hottest exterior upgrade according to this year’s report? Replacing the front door with a steel entry door, which typically returns more than 100% of its cost.

The report also lists garage doors as a wise investment, returning up to 83% of their original cost when the home sells.  Other prudent outdoor renovations include siding and window replacement, returning 80% and 72.4 %, respectively.

Interior improvements retaining the most value include attic renovations and basement remodels, recouping 72.2% and 70%.

“Just like an addition to the home, an unfinished space—such as the attic or basement—will instantly add value and livability to your home, as it increases the square footage and changes the way your family lives in it,” said Will Tomlinson, owner of North Carolina-based greyHouse Inc. Renovation and Remodeling. “You will be transforming a space that likely gets very little use into a fully functional area for your family to enjoy.”

The report also notes that non-essential features have less resale value. Sunroom additions recoup only 48.6% of renovation costs; home office remodels, 45.8%; and backup power generators, 48.5%.

Of course, homeowners’ needs and budgets dictate their choice of home-improvement projects. Still, it helps to know projects’ cost vs. return ratio when making the final decisions.

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