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The Parents’ Guide to Maintaining a Show-Ready Home That Sells Fast

The Parents’ Guide to Maintaining a Show-Ready house that sells quick and for top dollar


If you have a family and you're looking to sell your home fast and for top dollar then this tip is for you!

Keeping your house clean for showings is hard enough. When there are kids creating messes faster than you can clean them, it can feel downright impossible. But you know how important a clean home is when selling a house, so what can you do? We’re here to tell you that maintaining a show-ready house isn’t just possible for parents, it’s simple when you have a plan and the right tools.

Your Clean Home Strategy

Your goal when selling a house isn’t to find more time for cleaning — it’s to stop messes from growing in the first place. Here’s how to do it.

  • Declutter the entire house. Box up anything that’s not needed and rent a storage facility to stash it in until the move.
  • Downsize your kids’ toys. Save a few favorites and store the remainder. Do this discreetly if you want to avoid upsetting your kids. They will likely protest if they see you hauling off boxes of toys, but if you shrink their collection gradually, they’ll hardly notice.
  • Create a daily cleaning schedule. Daily tasks should include making beds, doing the dishes, clearing and wiping down tables and counters, picking up toys, and vacuuming the floors. Speed Cleaning lists a few more chores to tackle daily. Your goal is to never let a mess get so big that it can’t be cleaned in 5-10 minutes.
  • Create a weekly cleaning schedule. Your weekly clean should address bigger chores, like deep cleaning bathrooms and the kitchen, and organizing.
  • Designate spaces for your most common sources of clutter. If mail, toys, and throw blankets tend to pile up, it’s probably because you don’t have a good place to put them. Storage bins are an easy way to keep everyday clutter out of sight.

Managing Last-Minute Showings

As a seller, you dread the last-second call from your real estate agent letting you know an agent is on their way with an interested buyer. You also know that accommodating these showings is critical to selling your home quickly.


Following your clean-house strategy makes surprise showings less stressful because your house is already mostly clean. However, you’ll still have last-minute tidying to do before your house is ready to show.


When the realtor is on the way, spend 20-30 minutes collecting clutter into storage bins, clearing and wiping down surfaces, taking out the trash, and giving the floors a quick sweep with a vacuum. If your vacuum is a pain to lug around or takes several passes to clean, this is the time to upgrade. Whether you go bagged or bagless, corded or cordless, a vacuum that’s easy to use makes last-minute clean-ups so much easier.

Getting the Family Out of the House

The last thing you have to do before a showing might be the hardest if you have young kids. Once the house is clean, you need to get everyone loaded into the car so you’re not home for the showing.


Make this process as painless as possible by keeping car seats installed in your car and stocking the backseat with simple, fun activities for the kids. Your kids will be much more willing to go for a drive if they know there’s an activity book and a snack waiting for them in the car!


If you own a dog, bring your pet with you whenever possible. Not all buyers are comfortable around dogs, so removing yours from the house is the safest bet for showings. If it’s not possible to take your pet, Realtor.com recommends kenneling your dog and informing your agent it’s there. Cats should also be kenneled during showings to prevent an escape.


As a parent, you’ve grown comfortable with a lived-in look at home, but when it’s time to sell, a clean and organized home is key. Make sure you have a plan for keeping your house tidy throughout the selling process, and if your kids are old enough to help, recruit them to lend a hand!


If you're thinking about selling your home in 2018/19 checkout our guide on The Top 6 Home improvement Remodeling Projects With The Biggest Payoff

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Buying or selling a home is among the largest financial decisions a person makes in their lifetime. We are here to ensure that you are confident in your decision. Reach out, and let us show you how we can help!

John and Melissa Steele, San Diego Real Estate Agents

John and Melissa Steele