This super-helpful post is brought to you by Northwood Realty Services and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own as always!
Moving. Does that word give you anxiety, fill you with excitement, or a little bit of both?
Whether you are a novice mover, a seasoned mover or somewhere in between this post is filled with great information and tips for minimizing the stress of moving.
This info was gathered from a recent event sponsored by Northwood Realty Services who brought together Moms who know firsthand what it’s like to move especially with young children (and older ones), Moms who are also Real Estate Agents who have been on both sides of the moving experience, and Moms like me who love to organize and plan.
Moving Tips for Timing Your Move
Think of your real estate agent as a coach who will walk you through the moving process any time of the year but if you’re flexible below are some great timing tips that have worked well for others.
- Before the beginning of the school year. This is a great time to move since your children will be in sync with the other kids in their school and can start with everyone else.
- Enroll your children in sports or other activities before the school year begins.
- Halloween – having a for sale sign in your yard can be a great way to expose your home to potential buyers or people who may know someone who’s looking for a new home while they’re in your neighborhood Trick or Treating. That sneak peak can be enough to whet their appetite.
- Winter holidays – Buyers and sellers tend to be more motivated this time of year. Buyers want to be in their new home before the holidays. This time of year also tends to be a slow time for movers, contractors, and other service providers and it will be easy to find and book the services you need.
- Don’t be discouraged if you miss the holiday window, January is historically a busy time for relocations.
- If your home is clean, clutter-free, and staged properly, any time of the year is a good time to list it. *see additional tips below for keeping your home clean and clutter-free.
Preparing Your Home to Sell
Tips for keeping your home neat and appealing even when you have kids!
- Declutter! Use this time to purge and get rid of anything you don’t want to take with you to your new home. I do that now. I ask myself if what I’m dealing with while tidying up is something I really want to take to a new home. If the answer is no I either throw it away or donate it if it is in good condition and usable. A few years ago I did a massive decluttering of my garage. I put a huge box at the end of my driveway with a sign that said FREE. Within three days everything in the box, as well as everything outside of the box, was gone. It felt good to get rid of so much including strollers, a chain saw, a new tub of driveway blacktop, and several faux Christmas Trees.
- Include personal items in your decluttering. In this case, you aren’t going to get rid of your personal items, you’re just going to put them elsewhere while your home is listed. My favorite option for this is to place these items out of your home and into storage. Remember to include knick knacks in this clean sweep.
- If taking your items to a storage unit won’t work consider the option of renting a portable container. The container will be dropped off at your home and picked up after you have sufficiently filled it.
- Sell large items that you don’t want to move on Craig’s list or contact a local charity that will pick up large donated items.
- Give each room ONE and only one focus. Examples of what to avoid: don’t combine a guest bedroom with a home office, or a craft room with a bedroom. This sends the subconscious signal that your home is smaller than it actually is.
- Declutter by season. If it’s winter, place any summer clothing, accessories, home decor, etc., into storage. Alternately, if you’re listing your house for sale in the summer, put all winter coats, clothing, and decor into storage.
- Arrange to have the house shown when you know it will be empty. Have your real estate agent schedule an open house when you’re on vacation. The house will be clean and empty.
- Keep a large laundry basket handy. If you agent calls to let you know they’re on their way over with a potential buyer place anything that’s on the floor or out of place into the laundry basket, place the basket in your car, and leave!
- If you have pets, consider having them stay with family or friends. Animals can be more of a distraction than an asset. Potential home buyers may have allergies or may not be comfortable around dogs, cats, or other pets.
- Put away any personal paperwork, credit cards, and medications. Maintain your privacy.
- Be flexible! Accommodate last minute showings. Remember, your goal and your agent’s goal is the same – to sell your home.
- Create a homey atmosphere. Try baking a fresh apple pie before potential buyers arrive.
Finding Your New Home
- Have a “wish list” ready to share with your agent but remember that your agent needs to consider your timeline and budget so be realistic.
- When viewing homes consider what you CAN’T change first. You need to like the location of the property, the size of the lot, the neighborhood, the slope of the yard, and the school district.
- Research the school district. Take into consideration any special classes that your child may need or that you may want them to be a part of.
- Take a walk outside each home to get the full picture. Check out sidewalks, driveways, fences, and the view. Are your potential neighbors on the same page as you? Are their lawns mowed? Is there clutter in the yard? Do they keep their pets contained appropriately?
- Keep a measuring tape on hand along with measurements of any furniture you’ll be bringing with you. Now is the time to make sure everything will fit or to get prepared in case it won’t.
- Be open minded. There are lots of features that don’t need to be deal-breakers. Paint can make a world of difference!
Tips for Home Searching with Children
- Bring your children on home tours so that they feel they are a part of the process.
- Keep snacks, drinks, and toys handy when traveling between homes.
- Consider hiring a helper to stay in the car with the children if just the adults will be doing the primary tour of houses. Once you find a house that could “be it” bring the kids in to see how they interact with the home.
- Give your child a special job such as taking photos or each home or notes of what the family liked and didn’t like.
- Step back and observe! Children can naturally identify safety issues. My sons can always find the least obvious things and things I would never have thought of to get in trouble with. *If you have a special needs child this may be particularly helpful.
Mastering the Move
Let’s make this as smooth a transition as possible.
- Take photos or videos of how “things” were set up including your computer, entertainment center, gallery walls, etc. Anything that you want to be duplicated in your new home, snap a picture of it! This will be invaluable later and will save you time.
- Take photos or videos of your children as well in each room of the house you’re leaving and in special spots in the yard. Take a picture of them in front of any notches on door posts or walls that have followed their growth (do this before painting over it if you’ll be covering this as part of prepping your house before putting it up for sale).
- Once the move is complete, make an Old House Book to hold these special memories.
- Videotape a virtual tour of the old house.
- Color coding! I am a huge fan of color-coding to keep things organized. Purchase packing tape/duck tape in different colors assigning everyone their own color. All boxes that contain that person’s items will be taped with their color. Do this for rooms as well such as one color devoted to kitchen items, another to the laundry room, etc.
- Label each room of your new home to match the boxes. You can place a plain piece of paper on each door indicating what it is – bedroom #2, guest bedroom, home office, etc. so that movers will know exactly where each box goes. Even if friends and family are helping you this simple step helps to avoid any confusion.
- If you’re super organized, number each box and keep a master list either written or photographically, of the contents of each box.
- Use small or medium boxes when possible so that they can be moved easily by one person.
- Prepare your child’s room first so that they are comfortable and comforted in their new surroundings.
- Celebrate! Order pizza or take out and celebrate your new home. Take photos to commemorate your first night and new beginnings.
Download your FREE Moving with Northwood Guide here.
Do you have any moving tips that aren’t on this list? I would LOVE to hear them so please share. ♥