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Pragmatic tips to wrangle the little ones while keeping things extra clean.


Getting your home ready for sale is notably more difficult with little kids running afoot. It’s hard enough to keep the place tidy when you’re not trying to impress potential buyers!

But staging your home and keeping it spotless for showings is essential, especially if you want your home to sell quickly. Clutter, disorder, and uncleanliness will distract your buyers and prevent them from seeing all the great things your home has to offer. And let’s be honest, some of us really LIVE in our homes.

Fortunately, some strategic planning can help you stay on top of the mess, no matter how busy you are. Successfully staging and selling your home with kids can be done!

Invest in professional cleanings

kids room staged to sell“A messy home will turn buyers away,” says professional stager Shawn Varwig with Judson Roy Home. “They will wonder what is lurking behind the mess that they may not be able to see, or they might even believe that you didn’t care well for the home and they don’t want to buy your problems.”

If you can’t find the time to stay on top of cleaning, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. A weekly or bi-weekly cleaning will take a lot of the pressure off while your home is on the market so that you can focus on other important tasks like decluttering, depersonalizing, and making impactful upgrades. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a home cleaning service in Portland is around $116 to $256. Think of this as just another expense involved in the home-selling process!

Side note: You should also neutralize pet odors, says Varwig. “We become accustomed to our own smells, and often do not realize when our pets have left their scent behind. If you don’t smell any pet scents in your home, ask a friend or neighbor to come in and see if they can smell Fido.” The same is true for diaper pails and the like.

Store excess clutter

kids room staged to sell“One of the most helpful things we did was to start by packing away the unnecessary stuff,” recall Danny and Melissa Howell, clients who have moved twice with their children, ages four and two. Decluttering is one of the easiest ways to make your home appear bigger, brighter, and more inviting to your buyers. (Plus, wiping down counters, dusting shelves, and vacuuming floors will take much less time when there is nothing in your way.)

Clear out any clutter that is crowding your home, including tabletop décor and excess furniture. If you don’t have time to sort through stuff and get rid of unwanted items, just throw everything in a storage unit (it costs an average of $87 per month nationally to rent a unit).

An alternative? The Howells boxed up excess toys, clothes, and items from their linen closet and stored those boxes along a wall in the garage, stacked nicely. “I think people expect to see some boxes when someone is moving, so having some in the garage off to the side seems like a good option.”

Keep your closets organized—your buyers are bound to peek inside! Boston Globe suggests leaving your closets half empty to show that your home has plenty of storage space. You won’t believe how big of a difference this makes in photos. Keep in mind that pattern can read as clutter.

And don’t be afraid to call in the troops for extra manpower. “Whether that be family, babysitters…having people to help with the kids while you clean and declutter was a HUGE help,” says Danny Howell. “My mom helped pack extra items from the kitchen and linen closet while my dad helped watch the kids so we could focus on the task at hand. It takes an army sometimes.”

Paint the walls neutral

kids room staged to sell

As a busy parent, you may not have a lot of time to make home renovations before putting your house on the market. Painting, however, is a relatively quick and affordable way to add value to your home and impress potential buyers.

Opt for neutral paint colors that will appeal to everyone. Sharper Impressions Painting recommends gray, beige, or a mix of the two called greige. Neutral colors are especially important in children’s rooms, as bright pink or neon green walls can quickly scare away buyers!

Learn some staging tricks

Staging your home will help it sell faster, so you can move into your new place and get your life back to normal as soon as possible. If you’re pressed for time, focus on the most impactful staging tricks. 

For example, you can quickly turn your bathroom into a spa-like environment by removing clutter from the counter, filling clear jars with cotton balls and bath salts, and hanging fluffy, white towels.

When it comes to staging your children’s rooms, you may want to invest in some nice toy chests and lidded baskets to stow away clutter and keep the space looking organized. “We have lots of bins that look nice and help the toys disappear,” suggests Danny Howell. “Think fabric storage bins that are all consistent in size and color so they have a uniform look.” Tuck items like diaper pails and hampers away inside closets.

kids playroom staged to sell

Remove personal items

kids room staged to sell

Depersonalizing your home is an important staging element. Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in the house, which can be difficult if it’s decorated with family photos and children’s artwork.

Fortunately, it won’t take you long to remove all those personal items from your home. Remove family photos, degrees, certificates, hobby items, and personal memorabilia. Remember, this is only temporary! Box everything up and move it into storage until you can unpack it again in your new home.

Find ways to involve your kids in the process

Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, include your children in the conversations about the transition happening in your household. Getting them excited about a new house and a new room will help them be more invested in the effort. The Howells suggest making cleaning a game: “See who can clean the fastest or pick up the most toys in one minute.” 

kids room staged to sell

If you have young kids, the idea of selling your home may seem completely overwhelming. Keep things simple! Move your clutter into storage, give the walls a fresh coat of paint, and employ just a few easy staging tricks in each room. And remember, you can always hire the help of professional cleaners if you need some weight taken off your shoulders. You’ll be able to relax in your new home before you know it!


By our current count, members of The Drew Coleman Team represent twenty-one kids that we have plenty of experience cleaning up after. CLICK HERE for more of our insight on buying or selling a home.

Can you still sell a home during the coronavirus quarantine?

There is an understandable safety concern when it comes to the day-to-day process of selling or purchasing a home. This is a new era! Common real estate activities like open houses, buyer showings, and in-person meetings are now being brought into question. So how can you sell your home during quarantine?

Listings including 3D Matterport tours experience 31% fewer days on market and 9% higher sales price on average…

Have no fear! With the use of modern technology, we are capable of providing home buyers with more than enough resources to capture their attention. Here is how we can get creative and employ techniques that will get your home sold.

Using modern 3D tour technology to showcase your home – without contact. 

While buyers may be hesitant to spend time on physical home tours, they will turn to digital resources in order to find their next home. With the use of modern 3D tours, we can display your home online in a very accessible format. A Zillow-optimizing digital walkthrough offers prospective buyers a comprehensive and detailed look into the layout and features of your home. At The Drew Coleman Team, we include TWO separate 3D tours for our seller clients in addition to professional photos and cinematic video.


Matterport 3D Tour

Since their release in 2011, Matterport 3D cameras have been shown to bring extra value to homeowners looking to sell. Inman reports that listings including Matterport tours experience 31% fewer days on market and 9% higher sales price on average, compared with listings that do not. And that was BEFORE the shelter-in-place orders. Our team was the first in Oregon to offer this technology.

virtual 3D Matterport tour

Zillow 3D Tour

The Zillow 3D tour is made with a special 360-degree camera that captures each room of your home. This tool is specifically designed to be showcased on Zillow, one of the most popular websites that homebuyers turn to when browsing homes. Zillow algorithms view this technology favorably, causing your property to stand out among other competing properties.

zillow 3D tour is key to selling your home during quarantine

Cinematic Video

That’s not the only way we catch Zillow’s eye. The second strategy we employ is to include a short and sweet, yet incredibly powerful cinematic video of the property. By adding this video to each Zillow listing, along with targeted dispersal across the web and social media, we add yet another effective focal point for buyers to view (and obsess on) from the safety of their own home. View any one of our current listings for a complete look. It’s pretty eye-catching!

real estate cinematic property video    real estate tour videos are even more useful during quarantine


In each of these digital touchpoints, would-be buyers can navigate through a home on their mobile device or computer. This very closely simulates an in-person walk-through. It particularly helps the buyer to see the interior space in a broader context, as rooms and features can be seen relative to adjacent space. You can bet that capability will prove more and more valuable.


To view examples of these tours, visit the following links:

Matterport 3D Example

Zillow 3D Example

Cinematic Video Examples


High-End Photography and Video

You’ve got to reach buyers where they are. While professional imagery of your home was already a critical element of your property’s listing, it is now more important than ever to make sure your home shines online. Photos and video will be the primary point of focus for potential buyers when browsing for a home. With this in mind, you should regard best-in-class photographers a must to ensure your media package stands out in the market.


The bottom line? Home buyers and sellers can still experience a smooth transaction while also maintaining health and safety for the public. And the good news? Our real estate team was using these methods well before the current situation. That readiness has freed us to adapt quickly to the other changes compelled by the current pandemic. If you are looking to buy or sell, reach out to us. We’d love to chat about how we can help you to sell your home during quarantine – or in any market condition.

4 Expensive Mistakes to Avoid

After months of decluttering, organizing, and packing every inch of your home, you’re finally ready to put your house on the market and start your senior downsize. Before you make the move, you have to decide: Are you going to sell your old home or keep it in the family?

The decision to keep or sell a family home is a highly emotional one, especially when you’ve raised a family there. If you let your emotions guide your decision making, however, you could end up in serious financial trouble. Here are some of the most expensive mistakes seniors make when it comes to the family home.

1. Signing It Over to the Kids

You know you want your kids to get the house, so why wait? Unfortunately, this line of thinking could leave your kids with a giant tax bill — or worse. Since gifts don’t trigger a stepped-up tax basis, capital gains taxes will be assessed based on the home’s value when you purchased it, not when you transferred it to your children.

2. Selling to Family for Less Than Market Rate

Since a property’s tax basis is stepped up when it’s sold, some seniors try to skirt the rules by selling to family for less than the market rate. However, selling a property for less than 75 percent of its fair market value may cause the IRS to flag the transaction for capital gains tax avoidance. The difference between the sales price and fair market value is subject to gift taxes.

3. Overextending Your Budget

Transferring property upon death is the easiest way to avoid tax issues, but in order to do that, seniors have to maintain the second residence for the remainder of their lives. That means paying twice the property taxes, homeowners insurance, and possibly even twice the mortgage payments. Even if it looks like you can afford both homes on paper, consider how the added expenses will impact your quality of life in retirement, especially if you face medical bills or other unebxpected expenses in the future.

It’s not only the ongoing costs of homeownership that you need to consider. Holding onto your first home also makes it harder to purchase the second. In addition to increasing your debt-to- income ratio and making it harder to qualify for a second mortgage, keeping your first home means you have less money to use for a down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses. Don’t underestimate that last bill — while you may have moved all by yourself in the past, trying to pack and move an entire house in your 60s is simply too stressful and physically demanding.

4. Waiting Too Long to Sell

If you anticipate that you may need to sell someday, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. Not only are baby boomers’ homes expected to flood the market in a few years, driving down costs, but if you wait too long to sell, you’ll be responsible for the full capital gains tax bill when you do. While the capital gains tax exclusion allows single and married homeowners to exclude up to $250,000 and $500,000 in capital gains, respectively, sellers may only claim the exclusion if they have lived in the residence for at least two of the five years prior to selling.

If you’re worried about whether the market is too lukewarm, research listings in your area that are comparable to your home, this is something we do every day, and we’d be happy to put together a basic report for you. You’ll also want to find out the average days on market, average sale price, and the typical number of offers received. In Lake Oswego, for example, Redfin notes the average sale price last month was $596,000, most homes received an average of one offer and the average days on market was 37.5. Having this information and consulting with a real estate team like ours can help you make the best decision, potentially avoiding a missed sale opportunity.

The right choice for your home depends on your overall financial picture, but whatever you do, don’t wait to decide. For the best tax treatment, seniors should deal with their family home within a couple of years of downsizing. Whether that means selling to family at market rate, including it in your estate plan, or putting it on the market, you’ll be glad you moved quickly.

We are happy to field your questions or refer you to the proper expert! Email us at [email protected].

Sharyl Ashley of Creative Design Solutions

Sharyl Ashley, Design Consultant

Sharyl Ashley

Having your home designed effectively when it hits the market is a low-cost way to ensure a top dollar offer price.

Making your house the prettiest property in the neighborhood is also a huge help in beating out the competition when it comes to halting the attention of potential buyers taking their first glances at dozens of homes.

However, it should be noted that selling your home requires you to somehow be a magician/ninja hybrid to master everything that goes into this complicated transaction. Because of this, it can be difficult to find time to step back, analyze, and optimize the aesthetic composition of every detail in every room of your soon-to-be former home.

With that in mind, allow us to introduce Sharyl Ashley, interior designer, owner of Creative Design Solutions and our go-to designer for all home staging needs.

Sharyl offers a long track record of excellence in residential, commercial, and healthcare design. Over the years she has honed her skills on projects of all sizes, from completely designing the interior for a newly constructed $7.4 million dollar assisted living facility to simple two hour paint consultations for residential clients. If you would like a professional consultation for preparing your home for market, Sharyl offers an efficient and comprehensive analysis.

The process – getting your house ready for the market

2007 Fields Dr.

Listed Dec. 2017 | Sold in 13 days

Sharyl begins each residential project by meeting with the homeowners for an initial consultation. She goes through the home, discussing the changes that she feels will better showcase both the home and property. Sharyl’s strategy is to use what the homeowner already has in the home, composing each room to highlight architectural features and draw attention to the most desirable assets of the property.

If changes do need to be made, Sharyl assists clients by suggesting lighting, paint colors, flooring, counters and any other elements that might need updating or replacing.

Once the consultation phase is completed, Sharyl follows up with a detailed report listing recommended changes for each room. We love using her because she keeps the proper perspective; her goal is to effectively and efficiently stage the home both in terms of aesthetic and monetary value. We’ve included a sample below. You can download an example report here.

Design Report

Click image for sample report.

 A passion for design

portland luxury home

Listed Nov. 2017 | Sold in 14 days

Sharyl’s love for interior design began when she was a child, finding great joy by arranging and rearranging her room into ideal compositions. She received a degree in applied science in interior design in 2002 and never looked back.

Not only does Sharyl takes great pride in her work, maintaining a meticulous eye for detail – she helps people get their homes ready for market while ensuring they get the most value out of their project budget is one of her greatest joys. Her love for design shows in her work and in a long and growing list of happy past clients.

We highly recommend contacting Sharyl for a consultation in preparing your home for the real estate market. She will provide an honest and expert assessment that is certain to help increase the value of your home once listed.

Contact info:

Sharyl Ashley,

NWSID Professional Member

(503) 307 – 4474

Excellence from concept to completion”


Reviews from Sharyl’s past clients

“Sharyl is a hard working, dedicated and caring person who gives 110% to everything she does. She is driven by a passion for what she does and a unique commitment to the cause. I would welcome the opportunity to work with Sharyl again and would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a hard working, talented, humble and honest designer who works well with others.”


“Thank you so much for meeting with me today. I really appreciate how you use your expertise to provide helpful recommendations to assist me in preparing my home for sale and maximizing the potential sales price.”


“We so appreciated you making this appointment so easy for us. We had heard a few staging stories so we were just a little nervous about how this meeting would go. Thank you again for all your compliments and kind words about our home and decor.”

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