Tips for Showing a Home (Despite Kids & Pets!)

Child reading a book on his bed with a dog

You’re ready to buy a new home. But first, you have to sell your existing one, which can be a bit of challenge if you have young children and/or pets. You love your kids, but prospective buyers may not appreciate your human and fur babies quite as much as you do—especially if it looks and feels like they have hijacked your home.

The key to staging a home for sale is neutralizing it so house hunters can picture themselves and their belongings in the space. Following are some helpful hints for showing your home when you have these potentially uncooperative housemates.

  • Conceal the clutter. Children and pets tend to come with a lot of stuff. We’re talking toys, books, craft supplies, crates, dishes, leashes, litter boxes and more. A good rule of thumb is to stash whatever items you can out of sight during showings (you may even want to get a jump start on packing for your big move!). As for the rest of the belongings, try to keep them neat, organized and out of the path of foot traffic.
  • Repair and replace. Did your taxing toddler draw on the wall with crayons or dent it with a ride-on toy? Perhaps your chowhound chowed down on the baseboards or scratched up the kitchen flooring. Make any necessary repairs or replacements before showing your home so prospective buyers can focus on what’s really important—the positive features of the space.
  • Eliminate stains and odors. Nothing can send prospective buyers packing quite like a mysterious stain or unpleasant stench. If your child, calico or Chihuahua wreaked havoc on your carpeting or left behind a less-than-lovely scent, now is the time to shampoo rugs, wash bedding and fabrics, open windows for ventilation and invest in neutralizing air freshener. Also remember to empty litter boxes and diaper pails and rid the lawn of dog waste regularly!
  • Send them packing. Remember, the goal here is for prospective buyers to visualize themselves living in your home. This may be difficult (or downright impossible) to achieve if they are staring at your beloved basset hound. Plus, some house hunters may have pet allergies or phobias. Therefore, it’s best to grab your four-legged friends and clear out during showings. 

Keep following our blog for advice and information on selling your home and be sure to visit to find a community, floor plan and new home near you!

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