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
“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
“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
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.
Remove personal items
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.”
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.
Three reasons to take a load off
You’ve probably heard people say – or even experienced firsthand – that moving can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. Managed well, however, it can also be an exciting adventure! If you’re moving to our neck of the woods, maybe you’ve even snagged a spot in one of Portland’s best neighborhoods. You may also be happily ready to explore our city’s beautiful arboretum or fill up at one of Portland’s famous food carts.
To cut down on the stressors involved with the moving process, consider saving yourself some time and effort. Below, we dive into three reasons why you should hire a professional moving company instead of trying to haul it all yourself.
1. Professional movers won’t break the bank.
Most of us don’t realize just how expensive it is to move on our own. Consider the costs of a moving truck and gas and extra charges for equipment like dollies and moving blankets. Don’t forget food and drinks for any friends that helped. Additionally, there’s the potential of breaking and replacing an item when trying to tackle a job that the professionals are trained to do well. The costs add up quickly! Hiring a company like All My Sons, Two Men and a Truck, or Bellhops may not be as expensive as you might think, so shop around for one who works for your budget.
From a realtor’s perspective, keep in mind that buyer possession time is also an issue. If you have to be out at 5 p.m., you have to be out at 5 p.m. Should your plans fall through, you will find yourself paying for the resulting chaos in one way or another. Leave things undone for the buyers, and they may very well insist on reimbursement for the additional cleaning or possession time. Trying to save a buck can backfire in unanticipated ways.
2. Hiring an experienced specialist can minimize your stress.
Moving involves a lot of mental and physical work. There’s lots of budgeting, scheduling, managing, packing, and logistics to be handled. After all this work, you might be thinking that following the Portland trend of living a relaxed lifestyle in an upgraded camper sounds pretty appealing.
On a more realistic note, calling in the pros allows you to streamline one of the biggest stressors: moving day. Ever tried to “tetris” the back of a moving van? These guys are pros at it.
Master movers are trained, experienced, and equipped so that none of your things – or bones – get broken in the process. (At least one eponymous member of our team has sustained scars from an ill-advised solo moving effort!) So, instead of hauling those couches, loveseats, and treadmills out narrow doorways, sit back and let the experts do it for you.
3. A professional will be there when friends can’t (or won’t).
Often friends and family are too far away or too busy to help out on the weekend of a move. Or worse, they bag out at the last minute and you’re left dangerously low on manpower. If you’re moving long-distance, the logistics can make it near impossible to find others who can help out.
In these instances, enlisting professional help can take a huge load off – literally (the average home contains over 300,000 items)! And while helping move all your earthly belongings from point A to point B can be too huge of a hassle to impose on friends and family, that’s something hired help will happily tackle. Take it from us: save the friend ask for helping you pack…or simply for the housewarming party instead.
There you have it: three reasons why you’d be wise to hire professional movers. Of course, this relies on finding a reputable company that is licensed and insured, so let us know if we can make recommendations of quality local professionals.
And if you still need any assistance in finding the perfect home for you, give us a shout. We’d love to help.
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].
There’s something to be said for a change of scenery…
Especially after more than 20 years living between Kansas and Missouri. Moving to a new city gives you months’ worth of opportunities to answer the question, “What brought you here?” For the dozens of times I’ve answered, I’m certain it could be distilled down to “I like it here” and “It’s extremely chill, and good.”
It’s not substantive or satisfying to the person who asked, but it’s true. And after months of living here, it’s clear what makes Portland a perfect place to call home.
There are perks, like seeing the fog roll into the city on the drive to work, but the best parts of Portland make you feel as though you’ve lived here forever––or at least you should have.
Moving to Portland in the hottest months of the year, when it’s arguably too hot to think thoughts, much less say them out loud, won’t make you appreciate the climate until the leaves change. Settling into the crisp, gorgeous fall months, you’re reminded of why so many people call this home. This city evokes a sense of comfort that’s somehow familiar and refreshingly new at the same time.
Fall in the Northwest is a dream come true, and if you love cloud cover and rain, cool temperatures and so many pretty trees, it’s hard to do better. The vibrant colors of the leaves against the overcast skies, the misty mornings and fog rolling down the hills and into the city––it all culminates in an atmosphere not easily replicated.
Settled on the Willamette River with a view of rolling hills and valleys covered in trees, probably the most striking difference in Portland vs. Kansas and Missouri is the stunning nature near and throughout the city––including, as you know, the Pacific ocean. A drive in literally any direction offers some breathtaking sights, and a short drive west brings you to the coast. Drive east, and you’re at the base of Mount Hood. The beauty of the surrounding woods, mountains, rivers and lakes, and the convenience of being within a drive of it all can’t be overstated. It’s awe inspiring on a daily basis.
As tempting as it is though, you can’t just go live in the woods.
Fortunately Portland is a diverse and good-sized city that invites both exploration and recreation. There’s a general buzz and excitement around the city; people have an overwhelming spirit of community and civic pride. It’s rich in culture and encourages creativity. People are excited to live here and even more excited to tell you why. There’s an overwhelming sense of belonging and inclusion, as well as an abundance of opportunities.
Portland and its surroundings create a beautiful melding of lush nature and a bustling city. It’s not only an ideal place for a home; it’s a uniquely serene and growing city steeped in culture and art. You may move to Portland because you fall in love after visiting, but before too long you’ll wonder why you weren’t here sooner.