Staging and selling your home with kids

Private Property South Africa
Martin Hatchuel

You love your kids (of course!) but they’ve made the house look, well, kiddie, and now you want to sell it. Will their finger-painted wall decorations affect the salability of your property?

According to Angela Clack - an agent with the Chas Everitt International Property Group’s Knysna office - you do have to ‘stage’ your show days so that your house looks its best. But you shouldn’t hide the fact that yours is a child-friendly home.

“It is critical that the house is presented in the best possible way, and yes, it’s not ideal to leave your children’s clutter strewn all over the place - because this could put some people off. But when you’re selling a family home to another family, they want to know that the place has soul,” she said.

Children, she said, lend great character to a house.

“Their belongings reflect the different personalities and interests, and their presence confirms the authenticity of it being a family home.”

STAGING

Staging, said Angela, needs to be done with a certain amount of sensitivity to your children’s needs.

“Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful things an adult can do - but imagine how much more stressful it must be for children, and especially small children who might not understand why their lives are being disrupted.

“I’ve often been into ‘picture perfect’ family homes - where it’s evident that some of the rooms are children's bedrooms, but they’re so perfectly sterile that I have to wonder how the children could possibly enjoy their rooms, or express themselves in them.

“So I would never advise that, for example, you convert your daughter’s fluffy-fairy-castle-pink bedroom into something bland and ordinary that she’ll hardly recognise before you put the house on the market.

“But it does make sense to tidy things up, and to make the place look as good as possible on show day,” she said.

Angela suggested that you arrange viewing strictly by appointment only. “That way you’ll have advance warning, and hopefully, time to square things away, and to make the house as welcoming as possible,” she said.

MAINTENANCE

“More important than the presence of personal belongings, as a seller you should make sure that your house and all the improvements on the property - including your garden - are generally well maintained, and that they’re clean and neat when prospective buyers come around.

“As they’re the people who might be living there in the near future, they’re not likely to be put off by the fact that you have children living in the house: they’re much more likely to be impressed by the knowledge that they won’t have to worry about maintenance issues, and that they’ll be able to settle in to their new environment almost right away,” said Angela.

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