This is our second sale in two years and although the homes are hundreds of miles apart, a few things are exactly the same…mainly this: Selling a home in the current market is hard. Add a newborn baby to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for hair-loss. Throw in your wife (who has to heal from the delivery) and we’re looking up at Everest with a mostly bald head…despite solid genetics from your mother’s father. Stress is an understatement, but we just sold our home and in less than 15 days. Yes you read that correctly. Read more for tips on how to sell your pad with a newborn and without losing your grip on reality.
We found out about our move thirteen days before the baby was born. Due to the real estate market’s tendency to decline during the holiday season, we knew we had to act fast. Rather than waiting to list it, we prepared to do so while (an extremely pregnant) Rachel still had the energy to help. The official listing went live the day after maddy was born. Here’s a few tips on how to list your home quickly:
– Use your time efficiently because it’s about to run out! Once baby is born it’s always baby o’clock. Tie together any lose ends and unfinished projects (ahem…coffee table). Start cleaning now and organizing your things. Schedule appraisers, moving inventory appointments, etc. on the same day to maximize your time. Grab a planner to keep track of the endless influx of appointments or keep track of things with iCal or a similar program.
– Interview potential realtors. We interviewed two different agents from two different brokers. They’ll put together a package and sales pitch to get your business. Go with your gut!
– Communicate to the agent exactly what you’re looking for. Just flat out say it! Here’s what we wanted: An agent who will work and hustle for us. Time is a luxury we didn’t have, so getting things done right away was key. We also wanted an agent who would work with our needs. For example: Open houses are 90% for the agent…we didn’t need it. We couldn’t leave the house for more than about an hour at a time with a newborn and all of our family on the east coast. Our agent actually told us it wasn’t necessary (Major points there). Our realtor also worked with us on the showing duration. Some days the showing window was just way too long with a fussy baby. We brought it down from an hour to 30-40 minutes, which was much more manageable. Little things like this helped in a big way. Find an agent who will work with your needs and adapt.
– Pick an agent who will give it to you straight. The market sucks right now and many agents will tell you otherwise. Pricing accurately and aggressively was the single most important factor in selling our home so quickly. If the agent tells you what you want to hear despite logic, conventional wisdom and comparative analysis…you may have trouble selling.
– Ask the agent directly, “Can you sell my home in 30 days?” Our lovely agent said she would do her best and that’s just what we wanted to hear.
So you’ve selected a solid agent and you’ve got your home on the market…
Assuming normal adult living conditions (no hoarding buried alive scenarios), showings without a newborn are fairly straight forward. The home is clean and tidy. Manageable clean-up. Under an hour and you’ve got a handsome house ready to be shown off.
But with a newborn EXPLOSION, showing your place gets exponentially more difficult. Because newborns are so dependent, any room can explode with dirty baby clothes, bottles, burp rags, dirty diapers and wipes in a matter of minutes. To contain the babiation leak from the baby reactor, we did three things:
– Use one to two rooms for baby stuff. We designated our loft-space and master bedroom for all hazardous (and non-hazardous) baby materials. The living room, kitchen (save for cooking and preparing bottles), dining room, spare bedroom and guest bathroom were all clean and off limits. When a showing came in with little notice (as most do) we cleaned the baby-zone rooms, got the baby situated and were on our way. It sounds straight forward, but under pressure, it’s exhausting.
– The second thing we did was prepare our diaper bag and bottles ahead of time. We literally had them waiting at the door and in the refrigerator. One day we had THREE showings. By third we were out of our bottle-stock. It slowed us down about ten minutes, which may not seem like much, but with one person on baby-watch and the other cleaning…things got pretty crazy.
– The third and most important thing during a high-stress situation is to keep clear communication with your SO. When Rach and I were on the same page, we moved like a well-oiled machine. When lack of sleep or stress penetrated the lines of communication, it was an unpleasant hour in the car.