How to reduce drama, encourage adventure and attract buyers for kids rooms
Let’s face it. Kids are messy and their rooms can be chaotic. When itcomes time to stage children’s rooms, the goal is to create a kind of idyllic space that’s not real life – it’s a dream, a fantasy of how people imagine a child’s room should be.
The space also has to appeal to buyers with no kids or kids of different ages. Oh, and your kids are going to live in it at the same time. Is that even possible? Follow these tips for a kids space you can live with that attracts all kinds of buyers.
Talk to your kids
A child’s room is special and they should have a chance to understand and be involved in the process. Change is hard so it’s wise to reassure them that they’re not losing here – they’re actually gaining a new play space in their new home. Try looking at houses online with them to build some excitement. You may encounter some negativity, but being upbeat and positive throughout the selling and moving process could create a sense of adventure rather than doom.
Consider reading books about moving to your younger kids, like The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day and Big Ernie’s New Home. Older kids can become project managers in charge of finding parks and other fun amenities in your new community; they can also document what’s in their room that’s going to the new house.
Kid spaces get messy and cramped pretty quickly. It’s hard to maintain a staged look with too much stuff. Let your children know that people will be coming to look at the space, so you’re packing up to keep visitors from playing with their toys.
Reduce. Since the goal of selling your home is to move out of it, start by getting rid of anything you don’t want to take with you. We’re not psychologists, but we can agree that it’s probably a bad idea for kids to come home from school and find their stuff gone. Some kids really have a hard time decluttering, so get them involved early for less drama (there’s no such thing as no drama!). Set up three containers to separate toys.
- Category 1: Favorites (these are usually toys in plain sight). These are staying in their room, but you will find a way to keep them safe (hidden) from house hunters. A covered basket or underbed box may do the trick. Let them know that when the box is full, there’s no more room. Everything else moves to Category 2.
- Category 2: OK stuff (probably in the closet, under the bed, gathering dust). This may need to start with discussion about helping others who have less or sick kids in the hospital. This box could end up separated into two boxes – pack for the new house, or give to someone who needs it more. Let them take charge of the delivery to Goodwill or other donation site.
- Category 3: Broken stuff. Again, a discussion about whether or not it can be fixed may need to bring some reality to the situation. If they go all Drama Queen, just pack it in the box and put it in the garage. You can toss it later because chances are they will forget about it quickly.
Remove. Pack away as much other stuff possible. Dial down 30 stuffed animals to a few favorites. Pack all but a few nice hardback books. Put away big playsets like mini kitchens. Art supplies and messy stuff like Play-Doh need to be packed so your walls and carpet don’t become unexpected canvases.
Scale down furniture
Creating space is key to making a kids room salable. For a baby’s room, consider just the crib, one dresser and a single chair (no ottoman). For older children, stick with beds, one night stand and one dresser (if there’s ample space). If the room is pretty big, consider one comfy reading chair so parents can envision their kids reading Great Expectations instead of playing video games in the basement. Desks, bookshelves and other clutter gatherers say “work” and not “sleep”, which is what most parents hope will happen in a room.
This is one point that is hard to accept for some sellers. After working hard on that jungle mural or pink-striped motif, it’s tough to let go. Themes, overly-bold patterns or gender-specific colors can turn off buyers if they think they’ll have to spend time remodeling the room for their own kids.
As hard as it may be, take the time to cover with a more neutral color that creates a blank canvas for the next family’s kids. You’ll also appeal to buyers who don’t have kids and may want the space for an office, etc. If your kids have a hard time with it, let them know that special décor was just for them and they can help decorate their new room.
Not everyone loves princesses or frogs or Transformers. Just take down all that personalized décor and pack it for your next home. If you don’t have anything to put out, that’s ok. Keep it plain. You might not have the money to replace bedding, so if you have a Minnie Mouse comforter just flip it over to the neutral side. You also want to remove anything with your kids’ names or pictures for their safety.
Kids can be very attached to bedding and blankies, so keep their original stuff on the bed and put the “show” pieces on the top. Blankies can be safely tucked behind pillows. When you move, don’t’ be tempted to redecorate right away; keep that old bedding until they’re acclimated to their new home (you’ll thank us later).
In most states, curtains attached to the wall stay with the house. Replace the cute stuff that goes with your kids’ bedding with neutral, light panels. If your kids need a darkened room to sleep, get inexpensive light-colored panels with a room-darkening backing; use curtain clips on the rod to make it easy to open for showings.
Storage is always an important feature, so make the kids’ closets look roomy. Pack all but a few weeks’ clothing. This will actually make laundry easier while you’re showing the house. If the season is about to turn, keep that next level of clothing in a suitcase. The floor space should be clean and the top shelf limited to a few attractive boxes.
Ready. Set. Show!
Prep your house for a showing in just 10 minutes
Before you have showings, practice getting ready. Kids enjoy stopwatches, so make it fun to beat the clock.
Staging for kids bedrooms is not about how we live day to day, but perception is everything to the buyer. Getting your kids involved early can reduce their anxiety and make living in a staged room so much easier.
BY SUSHA ROBERTS
Redefy Real Estate is a full service brokerage for buyers and sellers. We can save you thousands with flat fee listings because you have more important things to spend your equity on!