How To Sell Your Home While Living In It With Children. And A Dog.


Today I woke up and, for the first time in ten years, was not a homeowner.  We managed to successfully sell our home quickly while living in it with two kids and a dog.

Let me tell you, it was quite the feat to keep our home magazine-worthy and show-ready 24/7.

So for those of you thinking of doing the same – selling your home while living in it – have I got some fabulous tips for you.  Read on for guaranteed home-selling success!  {Maintaining your sanity, however, is unfortunately not guaranteed.}

1.  Pack up half your things.  YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF.  You need to trick potential buyers into believing that your home easily holds a normal person’s stuff, so it needs to look big.  And your STUFF is making it look small.  This includes all your closets.  Make sure they are tidy, organized, and free of half your stuff so it looks like you have oodles of space and storage.

2.  Put all your excess belongings in your travel trailer so the potential buyers won’t know how much stuff you’re hiding.  Pull your travel trailer to your in-laws’ house and park it in their driveway.  Prepare for them to be ecstatic that you are classing up their neighborhood with your RV.

3.  Once your house is actually on the market, get up ridiculously early every morning.  Like, 2 hours early.  You’ve got work to do before you can leave the house, my friend.

4.  After showering, you will need to wash, dry, fold, and put away the towels so it does not appear anyone ever uses such things in your home.

5.  Wipe out the bathtub, shower, and sinks each morning.  THERE SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT ANY OF THESE FEATURES HAVE EVER HAD WATER IN THEM, EVER.  Water = evil in the home selling process.

6.  Tell your children that they can not, under any circumstances, play with their toys.  Tell them to just watch TV.  It’s much less messy.

7.  When your daughter wakes with a dirty diaper, open every window in the house to air it out as quickly as possible so potential buyers don’t catch a whiff.

8.  Completely strip and re-make your bed every morning as the dog sheds on the ugly bedding you actually sleep on.  Put on the beautiful, clean, dog-hair-free show-worthy bedding.  Hide your ugly bedding in the back of your car so potential buyers don’t stumble across it.  Remember, you will reverse this process tonight at bedtime.

9.  DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PUT TRASH IN THE TRASH CAN.  Trash cans are not for trash when you are selling your house.  They are for displaying empty garbage bags only.

10.  Bump up the thermostat, close all windows, open all blinds, and turn on all lights before you leave the house.  In the event of a mid-day showing, you want your home warm & cozy and light & bright the moment they walk in.  Try not to think about your next electric bill.

11.  Pack up the kids and the dog.  Congratulations, you’re finally ready to head to work!  But first, run through the house one last time to make sure all beds are made, counters are clear, sinks are clean, and windows and mirrors are smudge-free.  Make sure there is absolutely no evidence that anybody actually lives in the home.

12.  Finally, drop the dog off at your in-laws’ house for the day in case you have a mid-day showing while you’re at work.  They will be as delighted about this as they were about the travel trailer.

{Bear in mind that this is just the morning routine.  The evening routine involves copious amounts of cleaning, sweeping, and wine.  Always wine.}

Now, let me acknowledge that we are fortunate to live in a crazy hot real estate market right now characterized by lighting-fast sales, multiple offers, waived inspection contingencies, and contracts above asking price.  The length of time we were actually inconvenienced was incredibly short, and totally worth it.

But it was still ridiculous and exhausting.  God bless anyone who has to do this for an extended period.

Have you sold a house while living in it with children, or do you plan to in the future?  How did you pull it off?  How long did you have to keep your house in perfect shape?!?

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5 thoughts on “How To Sell Your Home While Living In It With Children. And A Dog.

  1. We had an offer on our house 24 hours after being put on the market. I had to keep it show ready for 72 hours. It was stressful.

    1. So stressful! We intentionally did an offer review period so had to keep ours picture perfect from Thursday through Tuesday. By Sunday I was regretting it because of all the effort, but it paid off so it was worth it! How do people do it for weeks or months on end?!?

    1. Slow! We moved our stuff, cleaned the old house, and then my grandpa passed so I left town…house in shambles. When I returned I got super sick and then my husband left for two weeks for work. So I’m not feeling totally settled but I keep reminding myself I have lots of years in front of me to settle in. Trying to stay patient.

      1. My condolences on the death of your grandfather. I also hope you are feeling better. My husband travels three to four days per week so I can sympathize with the difficulty of getting settled when you are also playing the role of a single parent. I felt so out of sorts for the first few months and felt like I was continuously living out of suitcases!

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