On Friday we officially listed our house on the market, and the process of getting it in tip-top shape with a toddler and dog was quite daunting! Actually, it was freakin’ stressful and exhausting if we’re really being honest! When we first met with our realtor, he basically gave us a week to get it completely ready for the photographer before going live. Well technically, 6 days. And holy smokes, I didn’t think it was possible but we got it done! Since we don’t have family in town, and most of our friends are busy with kids themselves, it was up to me and Adam to knock it out and make sure it happened. Turns out, we are quite the team when under pressure and I am so proud of us for pulling it off. I thought I’d share how we got our house ready to be listed all on our own, with a toddler, and without any help.
Basically, it all comes down to working together, hiring professionals, and killing it at bed time!
Here’s how it all went down.
- Reserve a storage unit, and pick up boxes and/or tubs. We used a local Uhaul storage unit less than a mile from our house, and bought maybe a dozen cardboard boxes from Walmart.
- Take everything off the walls, especially anything personal or identifiable, remove nails, patch holes, and locate/pick up paint to fix said holes. Thankfully we had the correct old gallons of paint in the garage so we double checked the dates then picked up a pint of each color we needed.
- Take HUGE advantage of daycare, nap time, and bed time. The second that Adeline went to school or fell asleep, it was game on like donkey kong. It’s nearly impossible to do anything while she’s awake, so we really had to be productive when she wasn’t around. (And I was still working full time. Thankfully though, Adam was able to be home since he’d accepted his new job/finished up at his old job.)
- Let them help. When Adeline was around, I tried to let her feel important by helping me put things in boxes, or help me “carry” things up to the front door for Daddy to take out.
- Divide and conquer. Adam took charge of the garage and then we split up the rooms inside as best we could. But it mostly came down to forming an assembly line: I would box things up inside, and he would run things out to the truck and over to the storage unit.
- Clean out your closets as much as you can! I took care of this task, because I’m the more relentless one when it comes to getting rid of stuff. People will look in your closets, so if you’re not using it, take it to the storage unit! Don’t forget your toddler’s closet – any clothes they’re no longer wearing, shoes that don’t fit, now is the time to get it all out of the way.
- Pack up any winter clothes, or bulky clothing that take up extra space.
- Minimize the toys. We took all of our big baby gear/equipment to the storage unit, and then put any of A’s “big” toys away in her closet so she couldn’t dig them out. Then we really limited the toys in the living room, and only left out what would fit in the boxes under the TV.
- Furminate/brush the dog as much as humanly possible. The days leading up to listing the house, I tried to furminate her as much as I could so every time she came in inside maybe she’d shed a little less.
- Make any major repairs that might immediately turn off a buyer NOW. The glass in our sliding back door was completely fogged up, and had been for the past couple years but we just kept putting it off. We were able to get an estimate, and get a company out to completely replace the glass for us before our photographer came. It certainly wasn’t a small expense, but it made a huge difference and would be one less thing for a buyer to argue.
- Hire a lawn care company ASAP. I knew we would be needing this, so I had already done my homework and picked out a guy that I really liked, and let him know a tentative timeline. Then, when I contacted him again it was quick and easy to get him in a pinch! I was also sure to get multiple estimates on what we wanted done. This is obviously something you could do yourself, but be honest with yourself – if you don’t have time to do it well, then hire someone that can!
- Hire a professional house cleaner. Suck up your pride, and do it. I had NEVER hired any sort of cleaner before so I had no idea what to expect, but after she was finished it left me wondering why on earth I hadn’t been hiring her every few months the past few years! Seriously, amazing. Give yourself some grace, admit that you can’t do everything, and hire someone else who can! Our lady was able to swoop in behind us after we had decluttered the majority of the house and really give it a deep clean!
- Make sure your realtor has arranged for a professional real estate photographer to do your listing photos. Make sure you’ve seen their work, and know what kind of photos they’ll take of your house. The last thing you want is to go live with your house on the market and be disappointed with the photos. The photos of your house are SO important, and I will be forever thankful our real estate agent had a great guy!
- Do anything you can to odor-neutralize! Candles, Febreze, windows open, anything and everything to get any sort of smell out of your house!
- Board your dog if possible! We strategically listed our house right before a weekend where we would be out of town so we were boarding Truckee anyways, but we ended up keeping her boarded through the first several days we were home so she’d be out of the way for showings. And because our house was completely spotless and odor free!
- Meal plan non-messy meals. After you’ve spent days cleaning your kitchen, you need to make sure the next few meals you cook don’t make a huge mess!
- Stick together, be patient with each other, you’re on the same team. Remember that you only have each other to get this done, so don’t waste time getting frustrated!
- Try to keep things as normal as possible for the toddler in your home. While we touched every square inch of the house, and greatly decluttered every room, we really didn’t change anything about Adeline’s room. I wanted to make sure her space still felt normal to her, and didn’t feel chaotic like the rest of the house. We cleaned out her closet, and took down any pictures of her, but other than, we left it mostly unchanged.
Our house has only been on the market for a few days, and I’m already learning the importance of patience, and positivity. I’m anxious to get this show on the road, but I know that the perfect buyer will come along at the perfect time. God has orchestrated everything so far, I know he won’t leave us hanging now!