How to Survive the Sale of Your First Home as a Mom

Selling your house is no walk in the park. It's even more difficult when it's your first time selling. Harder still when you have kids! Check out these tips and tricks to help you stay sane during this process.

I now know from personal experience that selling your home sucks. It’s absolutely no fun, it’s stressful, it’s annoying, it’s very inconvenient.

In January we made the decision to sell our home and move to a different state due to Hubby receiving a better job offer. We spent the next month and a half fixing our house up and getting it ready to sell.

We painted walls, remodeled a bathroom, purchased new window treatments, threw a ton of stuff into storage, and cleaned the house from top to bottom. Then the day came when we put the house on the market.

We chose to use the same realtor we used to purchase the home. He came to our house, paperwork in hand. We signed everything, he took pictures, the “For Sale” sign was put up and a key box thingy was placed on our front door.

And now we wait,” was my first thought.

And we did wait… for a couple hours. Within 30 minutes of our house being put online, we received our first phone call from a realtor wanting to show our house the next morning.

Things got a little crazy after that. The Boise area is apparently a hot market right now and, as my realtor said, “buyers are hungry”.

We had 5 showings the first day. 3 the second day. 2 the third day. 4 the fourth day. By the 4th day we’d received 3 offers, one of which was above asking price.

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After a little back and forth and some bartering, we accepted an offer. It was such an insane relief knowing we had a buyer and we were done with the house. I can’t say I was happy about it, I’d definitely be lying if I told you I’m excited about moving, but a weight was lifted off my shoulders that afternoon.

Not only was she our realtors client, she was a cash buyer. No bank involved. No need for a home inspector to come through or an appraisal to be done. All she asked was we let her walk around the property with a contractor friend of hers and that our septic tank be pumped and pass an inspection by the guy who pumped it.

Sadly, that last request didn’t go smoothly. What was originally going to be a $275 pumping turned into a $3,100 nightmare. Our baffles were toast and had to be replaced. When they dug down to the tank to reach them, they discovered the pipe coming from our house was collapsing due to excessive rust. The pipe heading to our drainage field had a hole in it and was leaking sewage. Oh the joys of owning a house built in the 1950’s!

Other than that hiccup, things went rather smoothly. The biggest headache during all of this?

Having a toddler.

We all know life becomes a lot more complicated when we have kids. This is no secret. We knew it before we had our little monsters and none of us were surprised when life became a lot less simple after their birth.

Selling a house, though… I really had no idea what I was getting into. I watched my parents sell two houses during my teen years, so I had a vague idea of what to expect. They had three kids during each sale.

Did I ask for their advice on the subject prior to beginning our home sale journey? Of course not! I’m more a “learn from my own mistakes” sorta gal. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re more of a “learn from the mistakes of others” kind of person. So, let’s get on with it.

  • Lay down the law
    You’ve got kids, but guess what? Realtors don’t care about that. Neither do prospective buyers. It’s a funny thing, they expect to walk into a clean, pet free, human free house, but none of them want you to have any time to prep for their visit! I had originally told our realtor I wanted a nights notice for showings. He talked me down a little and we agreed upon “a couple hours notice”. Then I learned from a realtor who contacted me that he only said I required 1 hour notice. That was really annoying, but it didn’t stop me from saying no! My kid takes naps. My kid eats lunch. My kid has a routine. I needed at least 2 hours to prep her for the change in routine and tidy up my house prior to showings.
    Think about how many kids you have to worry about, how many animals you have to load into the vehicle and how long it will take you to get your house cleaned up. Let your realtor know you want at least that much of a heads up prior to showings.

 

  • Turn your vehicle into a pantry
    Seriously, fill that thing with food! All your kid’s favorite snacks. You are going to be leaving your house a lot, why bother worrying about snack time when you’re gone? Bee’s favorite truck snacks are Teddy Grahams, pretzels, cereal and mini Chips Ahoy. I know, I know… none of these are healthy, but they work in a pinch and handle being in a Ziploc in my center concel well!
    Do yourself a favor. Keep 2 or 3 of your kid’s favorite munchies in your vehicle. You’ll thank me when Tommy says he starving 2 minutes after leaving your house!

 

  • Don’t forget the drinks!
    I kept a bottle of juice right in my refrigerator door, ready to grab at a moments notice. Bee loves drinking lemonade in the truck, so I knew this was a must. She drinks out of a sippy cup still, but that kid can down a cup in a minute flat, I swear. Then she’s begging for more! Having a refill (or 5) on hand was definitely handy.
    Always make sure you have the refreshments on hand! These drinks just may save the day!

 

  • Plan a fun filled day
    I wish I would have thought of this. It really would have been great. That first day, when we had 5 showings, I had no game plan. I was so caught off guard and shocked by all the interest! I really figured it would take a couple days before we received our first call.
    Bee, Goliath and I loaded into the truck and left at 9am with no real plan. We went and saw Dad at work, we went to the store, we went back and took Dad out to lunch, we got the oil changed in the truck. Then we ran home for a nap, where we received another phone call from someone wanting to show our house at dinner time. So, once Dad came home from work, it was out to a nearby diner for dinner.
    Looking back, I wish I would have created a better game plan and made a day out of it. Maybe visiting the zoo and aquarium, followed by an afternoon at the park.
    Plan a great day with your kid(s). Clean your house first thing in the morning and then leave! That way it really doesn’t matter how many showings you end up having, your house is clean and the munchkin is happy!

 

  • Expect headaches…
    … and roll with the punches.
    Hubby and I have been told countless times by countless people that we are both really good at handling stressful situations. Without a doubt, selling your home is stressful. Try not to get too worked up, though. Expect that crap is going to go wrong, and don’t get super worked up when it does. Life’s a bitch, expect some misery! Just remember that there’s a reward at the end of the tunnel. It’ll all be worth it.
    It’s gonna be stressful, but find a way to de-stress and relax! Truth time: Hubby and I became way too dependent on an evening nightcap or 3 and binge watching Netflix (or Stephen Crowder!). Maybe you need a drink, maybe you need a hot bath, maybe you need to hit the gym for an hour. Whatever it is, make it happen!

 

  • Advice from the Hubby:
    I thought a more logical, less mommy-ish voice was needed on this issue, so I asked my husband his opinion on the matter. I was like “Hey, husband person. If you could give someone one single piece of advice regarding selling their home, based on our experience, what would you tell them?
    Well, the husband person thought for a while and got back to me with two pieces of advice. He said:
    1. Find a realtor you can trust
    – Couldn’t agree with him more, either. There were some headaches we experienced that likely wouldn’t have been an issue if we felt our realtor was really, truly on our side. Which leads us to the next point…
    2. If an offer comes in from your realtor’s client, consider rejecting it – Although a cash buyer was GREAT, we knew our realtor was trying to appease both of us. Our buyer wanted to change things up a bit a couple times and submit an addendum. Our realtor would run them past us and when he found out we didn’t approve of something, he’d barter with us immediately rather than contacting the buyer with our concerns. He didn’t want to upset his buyer, but it seemed like a lot of the time he was okay with upsetting his sellers. I’d like to think that was because we are pretty laid back people and the buyer wasn’t, but there’s also the possibility that he favored our buyer because she invests in properties within his market regularly and we are moving away.

There’s a lot that goes into selling your house, but this is the best advice we can share with you. Hubby and I both feel that everything else is pretty easy to figure out. Just follow the lead of the professionals involved and you’ll be good to go!

Have you ever sold a house? What’s the best advice you can share?

4 thoughts on “How to Survive the Sale of Your First Home as a Mom

  • March 31 at 7:48 pm
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    I’m going through the same right now. Were moving about 1 hour away. We’re selling while my son is only three. I’m just thinking a huge nightmare with the physical aspect of moving.

    Reply
    • March 31 at 10:45 pm
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      Not to worry, Jalisa, I’m right there with you! My daughter is about 19 months and we’re moving 3.5 hours away tomorrow morning! It’s gonna be a looonnnggg weekend. I definitely plan to share the experience and all I learn once we get settled!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • April 5 at 11:29 am
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    I’m about to go through this whole home selling process this summer so this was a great read!

    Reply
  • April 6 at 9:21 pm
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    These are some GREAT tips!! We’re looking at selling our home in the near future, so this is super helpful. I honestly can’t even imagine how stressful it is, but it’s so nice to see others getting through it. Thanks for sharing! <3

    Reply

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