When you make the decision to sell your home there are two real estate golden rules to follow – the first rule is to price it right, and the second is to make it look amazing, even if you have kids.
In today’s competitive real estate market one of the costliest mistakes a seller can make is to ignore the visual psychology of attracting a buyer’s immediate attention. Potential buyers become interested in a property when they walk in and feel, “I could live here” – when they imagine your home as theirs.
One of the best proven methods to achieve this reaction is the process known as staging. A well-staged house can result in a faster sale at more than the asking price. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes which are staged before going on the market sell 73% faster, on average, than their non-staged counterparts.
According to St. Petersburg realtor Estelia Mesimer, the demand for homes remains high. Pending sales in St. Petersburg increased by 32.1% from May 2020 to May 2021, while new listings increased by 19% over the same period.
A Zillow article (https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/staging-a-house-with-kids/) discloses that just as you need to declutter other rooms in your house, you’ll need to take additional steps to depersonalize the rooms where your kids live. Here is what their experts recommend.
Remove baby gear. Eliminate highchairs, bathtub toys, and diaper changing stations, which can be large and distracting.
Take toys out of rooms that are not the playroom or a child’s bedroom – no toys in the living room, office, or dining room.
Remove items that are personalized with your children’s names. Remember, there will be strangers in your home.
Stage your playroom according to potential buyers. Live in a kid-friendly neighborhood with great schools? Stage your playroom in a way that appeals to kids of all ages. Not sure about your potential buyers? Stage the playroom in a generic way that suggests it’s a great space even if you don’t have kids, such as an entertainment room, game room or home theater.
Staging kids’ rooms to sell
Buyers search for houses based on the number of bedrooms on a listing, with the average single-family home in the U.S. having three bedrooms. It’s important that every room that’s technically a bedroom in your listing is staged as a bedroom.
In smaller rooms, a twin-sized bed will do the trick, and can make even small bedrooms seem spacious. Avoid bunk beds if at all possible as they can make even larger bedrooms seem cramped, or draw attention to low ceiling height. Here are a few recommendations for successful bedroom staging.
- Keep the essentials. Keep a bed, dresser, and bedside table are all you need. If a room is clearly a nursery, it’s fine to keep a changing table and rocking chair.
- Remove unnecessary items that may be cluttering up the floor space. That includes things like play tables, dollhouses, bean bags, tents, play kitchens, and baby gear.
- Keep the decor simple. Opt for neutral paint, no wallpaper, and no playful touches like decorative light switches. Of course, some kid-friendly flourishes like throw pillows are fine. You just don’t want to give buyers the impression that there will be a lot of updating required to make the space usable as anything other than a kid’s bedroom.
- Don’t decorate for one gender. Gender-neutral paint colors and decor are a plus for buyers with kids.
- Avoid kid-themed rooms. Your child might love their pirate, rainbow, or dinosaur-themed room, but buyers may not. Paint over murals, take down wallpaper, and swap in basic bedding.
- Add lighting. Include several different types of light in bedrooms — think an overhead light, desk lamp, and bedside lamp. Also, always remember to open the blinds or curtains.
- Pare down toys throughout the house. Any parent will tell you that keeping control of their kids’ toys is a challenge, even when their house isn’t for sale. When your home is on the market, it’s even more important to keep a handle on all their toys.
Staging a house to sell: Which toys to keep, which to pack
Invest in a single lidded basket — lidded being the most important word — for each child’s bedroom. Have your kids put their favorite toys in that basket, then pack all of the others in boxes in the garage or in a storage unit while your home is listed. Beyond that basket, use these guidelines to know what to keep and what to store:
- Tuck a few toys into their travel or diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment.
- Keep a few nice-looking books in kids’ rooms for display on a floating bookshelf, nightstand, or bookcase.
- Pack up all arts-and-crafts supplies. Glitter, markers, and paint can be a nightmare for last-minute showing prep.
- You should also say goodbye to things like modeling clay and slime, which leave colorful crumbs and sticky marks all over.
- Just say no to stickers, which can end up stuck to the carpets, walls or windows.
- Avoid keeping toy sets with many small pieces (like train sets or building block systems), which can be hard to clean up in a hurry.
- Put bikes, scooters, and sports equipment in a storage unit, so the outside of your home looks as neat and tidy as the inside.
Staging tips for keeping your home ready for an open house with kids
These simple tips can help you return your listed home to staged condition in just 30 minutes, while still ensuring your house is livable for your family in between showings.
1. Create hiding places. Buyers can be nosy, but it’s possible to find hidden, yet convenient hiding places for important items. For your kids’ must-haves, assign logical places where they can be tucked away quickly. Here are a few examples: backpacks and jackets in the coat closet; extra diapers and wipes in a drawer; or bedtime books and blanket hidden in a storage ottoman.
2. Keep bathroom items in a shower caddy. Keep your kids’ shampoo, soap, lotion, and bath toys in a container that can be quickly stashed under the bathroom sink.
3. Keep a kitchen caddy, too. A kitchen sink surrounded by soaps, sponges, and brushes doesn’t show well. Get another caddy for kitchen items so you can neatly keep everything under the sink during showings.
4. Hide the remotes. Tuck all your TV remotes in a drawer, dish, or even under a couch cushion.
5. Deep clean a couple of items each day. You’ve already done the deep clean, so while you’re in the middle of showings and open houses, it’s all about maintenance. Tackle a couple of rooms a day so your house will always be ready for the next short-notice tour.
Bottom Line: Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, taking the time to stage your home for potential buyers can be an effective way to make your house stand out against other listings in your area.
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one and are thinking of selling, talk to The Mesimer Team.
St. Petersburg Communities
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol