How to Sell a House with a Baby
March 21, 2019 8:23 AM   Subscribe

We would like to sell our house, but we have a new baby who is cared for at home, we both work from home, and I have no idea how to make this work so anyone can see our house.

My husband and I live in a relatively hot real estate market in a desirable neighborhood and would like to sell our two-story house. But we live here, and we have a 16-week-old baby who naps throughout the day and goes to sleep for the night at about 6pm. We also both work from home, and I work with clients on a webcam all day in my office. I don't really have a place to go to do these calls other than my local very busy Starbucks which is terrible for client calls. I can try to schedule around showings, but I'll need lead time; I can't do same-day pretty much ever unless I have a day with zero client-facing work. My mom comes over every weekday from 8:30-5:00pm to care for the baby downstairs, and we work upstairs. (We can't afford daycare.) We also have a geriatric dog who doesn't go on walks, but we can probably bundle him up in the car and my husband can drive him around.

We already put a bunch of our stuff into storage to clear out some space. I know the tricks about gathering up loose things in laundry baskets and putting them in closets/in the car and wiping down surfaces, etc.

How do we do this? Can a person really sell a house if showings are only on weekends or with lots of notice? We don't see how to effectively market our house and do all the things recommended by our agent while we are still living here. The baby needs to go to bed at 6pm. I have to earn a living.

If you've done this or have some advice, I'm really all ears. Consider this an open ended question, seeking both practical and morale-related answers.
posted by juniperesque to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you live in a hot market in a desirable area, I would put the house on the market on Friday, make some arrangements to be away over the weekend and hold open houses on Saturday & Sunday, and see what happens. We did this and the house was sold by Monday morning. You're seeing it as a long-term issue but it might very well sell right away.
posted by something something at 8:30 AM on March 21, 2019 [29 favorites]

Best answer: If you are in a hot market and price the house right, you may get several offers in the first day or first weekend of showing. That's how it worked for us - put the listing up on Friday, had back to back to back showings all day Saturday, got two offers above asking and took the house off the market that same day. We didn't see the point of waiting for a better offer when we had two large dogs we had to schelp out of the house for every showing.
posted by muddgirl at 8:35 AM on March 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

We sold our house last year and struggled with this a TON as we have a toddler and a preschooler and my wife and I both work. Honestly the house wasn't ready to show until my wife and kids moved to the new place that we rented, and we carried the mortgage AND rent for a couple of months.

That's not the answer you are looking for, of course, but perhaps you can benefit from my experience. If I had to do it again, which I hope I never have to do, I'd do what something something suggests and set up a handful of long weekends away in a row.

I'd also pay for a cleaning service to come in and deep clean right before you list, and to come in again the morning before your long weekend (so if, say, you are out of the house from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon, have them come on Thursday morning and you can show the house Thursday through mid-day Sunday.)

Packing a lot of the kids' toys was also helpful in cutting down on the recurring mess that they were creating, although meals were really the largest source of mess and it is hard to cut those down, whence the cleaning service.
posted by gauche at 8:39 AM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing that in a hot market, the house will have offers in under two days. The Friday plan is the best plan.
posted by corb at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't know what market you live in but here in the Bay Area there's not a necessity for work-week visits outside of one realtor day (usually the Tuesday before the first weekend showing) Then its just up to you to be out for the weekend open houses. In this market the routine is list, two weekend showings and offers in on the second week.

What has your realtor said about it?
posted by bitdamaged at 8:56 AM on March 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I too support the Friday plan. If you have a neighborhood newsletter/forum, you may also be able to advertise there ("Listing soon!") in advance to catch the eye of local people who'd like to upgrade or who have friends who love the area, or others who are lurking hopefully.
posted by teremala at 9:19 AM on March 21, 2019

I agree this is a good question for your agent — and on review I see you already have one, but maybe you need a different one. I bought in the Bay Area and what I recall is that listings could become active any day but the open house was almost always preset to be held over the weekend (the first weekend after the listing). While last minute viewings are a thing, your agent can be the gatekeeper and set reasonable expectations and timings. However if your agent is expecting the house to be staged and empty on demand I think you should explore whether that’s necessary to sell in your area, and whether a weekend or two away would do the trick.
posted by sm1tten at 9:26 AM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Agree with the advice to not be home for at least the first two weekends of showings. Since you work from home, you might investigate drop-in/day fees at a co-working space for the work days you would be out of the house so you have a quiet place to do meetings.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:50 AM on March 21, 2019

There are definitely places in the Chicagoland area that are hot and some that are cold (My parents sold their house in the suburbs and it took them well over a year; my own condo in the city sold after one weekend of showing) Your realtor should know how much interest you're going to get. If it's only one or two showings a month over a long period of time your coping strategy will be much different than the open house weekend answers above.

You also do have some level of control in this, even if they all involve tradeoffs. List the place at a slightly lower price and you'll attract more attention and hopefully be done quicker. Avoid staging the house and it will save you a lot of stress (again at the possible cost of some money). Do only weekend showings and advance notice showings and it will also save you stress at the possible cost of some time and/or money.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

If it were me, I would move to an airbnb for 10 days or so, make your home look as much like an empty blank slate as humanly possible, price it to attract bidders. I think the investment will be worth it.
posted by vunder at 2:01 PM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

We sold our "hot" apartment when we had a baby. We tried to reduce clutter and otherwise just was like "it is what it is". It didn't seem to faze anyone as we got multiple offers pretty much straight away.

As long as the place isn't a pig sty, you may be surprised.
posted by smoke at 2:27 PM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Final update from the OP:
We took the advice of posters who suggested that we get out of town and have two back-to-back open houses on Saturday and Sunday. We put the house up for sale on Wednesday, left town Friday night, let our real estate agent run things at our place for the weekend and take care of the cat, and by Monday we had several offers from which to choose. It happened exactly as folks said it would.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:24 PM on July 8, 2020

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