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How to Sell a Home When You Have Kids or Pets

Tips for Home

Selling your home can often be a challenge even in the most ideal of circumstances. If you have children or pets, though, it can add to the challenge. There are likely toys strewn about — for both kids and your dog, if you have one. You also probably have a litter box if you have a cat, and those, of course, don’t always smell the most pleasant.

It can be overwhelming to ensure everything is in tip-top shape when you’re wanting to sell your home, as clutter and bad smells are less likely to lead to a sale. However, even the process of selling a house when you have kids or pets can be very manageable if you follow some simple tips.

We’ve broken down some ideal ways you can keep yourself sane during the following parts of the home-selling process:

  • Before your house is on the market
  • While it’s on the market
  • While you’re having open houses

Read on to learn how to do it!


Tips for Selling Your House With Kids Before You Place It on the Market

After you put your house on the market, give yourself some time to clean the clutter and get rid of the things you don’t need. You will be surprised at the amount of “junk” you have accumulated, and it will be significantly greater the longer you have lived in your house. Once you have spent a couple of weeks ridding yourself of your extra stuff, take the leftover items you don’t need or use on a regular basis and put them in storage.

Personal Photos

You’ll also want to carefully consider personal pictures. Too many can definitely detract from a room — making it a little too personal — but a few pictures can be attractive to a buyer because it could help them better envision their family in the home.


Tips for Selling Your House With Kids When It Is on the Market

Now that you have done some prep work immediately following putting your house on the market, you are considering the strategy of what to do for each showing of your house. Part of the strategy when selling a house is making it look appealing to any buyer. And you want that buyer to be able to picture themselves in the house. If your house is filled with children’s toys that are scattered everywhere, it may be difficult for a young couple who is just married and has not considered having children yet to picture themselves in your home.

When you are thinking about staging a house with kids, you might want to consider a strategy for picking up the toys. Toy boxes are great storage places, but if you are using clear boxes to store toys, you might want to think about where to put them when the house is being shown. And if you have your children’s artwork on the refrigerator, you may want to remove it until the showing is over.

Try to involve your children in the process of getting your home ready for a showing. If they are of an age where helping you out is still fun, you can enlist them to pick things up, maybe even help dust. Don’t try this with children who are too young as they may have more fun spraying furniture polish on the walls. Pre-teen children may be too old and could possibly just roll their eyes or pretend they don’t hear you if you ask them to help.

If you have a room you currently use as a playroom, consider making it look like a multi-purpose room as you are staging the room to appeal to a variety of home buyers. You may want to take toys out of the room and make sure any crayon marks or stains are removed from the walls.

Children’s bedrooms may require more planning when showing a house with kids. If you have wallpaper, murals or stenciling designs that truly make your children’s rooms look more like a child’s bedroom, think about repainting the rooms in more neutral colors. If you have decorated the room with child-themed decorations such as a princess lamp, you may need to move the princess lamp temporarily.

3hr Notice From Realtor

Though it may not always be possible, ask your real estate agent  for at least a three-hour notice before you show your home. This will give you an opportunity to clean up the house and get your children out to a place you have decided you will be able to go to spend some time while the real eastate agent shows the home. Go to the mall, library or if it is a nice day, take a long walk or go to the park. Try to show your kids that instead of this being an inconvenience, it is an opportunity for you to do things together you may not have been able to do otherwise.

While this transition period may be difficult for children, considering you are moving and there is a frequent need to pack things away, think about having them select their favorite items, such as books, stuffed animals and toys. Make those items easily accessible and store them in a place where they can get to them right away after a showing. This way your children might feel a little more secure about the change of moving and needing to pack up some of their things when showing the house.


Tips for Having an Open House When You Have Kids

Open houses generally last for four or five hours and happen often during weekend afternoons. If you are a single parent or the only parent at home during an open house, you may be at a loss as to what to do with your kids during the open house.

You may want to think about doing some of the same things you would do when showing the house such as going to a mall or park. One of the best ideas during an open house would be to plan to spend the weekend away at a friend or relative’s house. This way, neither you or your kids will experience much inconvenience — and if you have both pets and kids, you can all make your weekend getaway.

Take a mini-vacation during the weekend of an open house. If your children are particularly sensitive about the idea of moving, try making the experience a positive one by going someplace fun for the weekend. If your open house is during the winter months, think about going to an indoor water park. Kids generally love water parks, and this would be a wonderful treat for those cold months when it may be too cold to go outside for any long period of time.

Tips for Selling Your House With Pets Before You Place It on the Market

Though you may have a good understanding of how to sell a house if you have kids, what should you do if you have pets? Some people even consider their pets to be their children — especially if they don’t have any children of their own. You may also not think much of it, but moving can be stressful for your pet, too. While they may not understand exactly what’s happening, they definitely know something is up. However, just like with kids, it’s possible to make the process smoother for them — and you — if you are prepared ahead of time.

Start by talking to your vet about what method they might recommend you use with your pet to ease them into the idea of moving and showing your house. After you have determined the best method to get your animal ready for the moving process, think about how you can clean up your house and your yard so it doesn’t blatantly tell any prospective home buyers an animal resides in your home.

Ways to clean up your home include:

  • Getting rid of any pet stains from carpets, walls, etc.
  • Cleaning up animal waste in your yard.
  • Making sure your home is free from items your pet may have damaged, such as blankets, pillows, etc.
  • Making sure there are no unpleasant pet odors.


Effects in home from Pets

Though it is always important to let your prospective buyers know if you have a pet, it is also a good selling tactic if it is not completely obvious beforehand. Any buyer, whether they are an animal lover or not, will likely appreciate a homeowner who cares enough about their home to keep it free from the residual effects of pet ownership.

Tips on How to Sell a House Where Pets Live

After doing all the prep work, you are ready to start showing your home — but what should you be doing with your pets during the showings? Though some people think it is okay if they leave the pet at the house, that may not be the best idea. Despite the fact you think your pet is the friendliest in the world and would never hurt anyone, they are still animals and may react unpredictably when frightened. Having a strange person entering their domain may be just the kind of event that could trigger their protective nature. It’s best that if you have a showing, you take your pet off the property, whether they’re with you or you leave them with a neighbor.

If there is no way you can have your pet off the premises during a showing, consider leaving them in a crate or in a gated off area that’s off limits to visitors. It’s still safer than having your pet roaming throughout the house and risking them biting a potential buyer. Not only is that terrible for a potential sale, but liability can also be significant for you as the homeowner.

If you absolutely insist there is no other way but for your pet to be loose during the showing, be sure to check your homeowner’s policy for liability coverage in the event they do bite someone. Some homeowner’s policies will go so far as to include coverage for a pet biting someone, but they may exclude certain types of dogs that may be more aggressive.

Ideally, however, getting your pet off the property in one way or another will likely result in less stress for both of you.


How to Have an Open House When You Have Pets

Open house Walk Dog


Though showings often require you to pick up your home and leave quickly, open houses are planned ahead of time and give you more of a chance to plan. If you have pets, the problem can be that you may not know what to do with your pet during the four- or five-hour span of the open house.

Not to worry — you have a variety of options as far as what to do with your pet during an open house.

  • If it is a nice warm day, take your dog to the dog park or go on a nice long walk. Look at the open house as an opportunity for you and your pet to get some exercise.
  • If you have a cat or pet that cannot be taken outside for a walk, think about going over to a good friend’s house and visiting with them for a while.
  • Schedule your open house on a weekend when you will be out of town. Take the weekend to visit family or friends. Make sure your home is clean before you leave, and hop in the car for a weekend road trip for you and your pet.
  • Schedule your pet’s grooming appointment during an open house.


Selling a home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. There are lots of new possibilities, but there’s also a lot to do to get your current house ready to sell. But, hopefully these tips can help you, your children and your pets be less stressed during the process of selling your home.


When it is time to sell your house, be sure to contact CENTURY 21 Core Partners for more information. We have a team of dedicated professionals who will provide you with the expert services you need. Our agents will help you decide on right the price for your home and be there through the entire process to be sure everything runs smoothly and you are comfortable with what’s happening. In addition to you finding the right home, we understand the importance of also finding the perfect buyer for your current property, too.



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