Selling your house is a big project, and selling when you have kids adds even more to think about. Children can influence when you decide to sell, as well as what you have to do while you’re in the process. Any essential guide to selling a home with kids will help you be an aware, thoughtful parent as well as a successful seller.
There are many factors to consider when deciding when to sell your house, such as whether it’s a seller’s market, and if you’ve found the right realtor. But often the decision is based on children and what they need.
Families sell when planning for another child who needs a bedroom, when a toddler becomes an on-the-go kid who needs a yard, or when teenagers require more bathrooms and personal space. Kids also have “community” needs: some families sell and move for a good school district, a neighborhood with other young families, or the great amenities for growing kids.
Timing problems can arise. For example, selling can depend on your having the budget for a bigger move than you’d have without kids, and possibly a slower one. You also need to investigate any Cost of Living increases in the new location. A bigger house may have higher property taxes, maintenance costs, and utility bills. Kids’ expenses, everything from clothing to education, may increase as they grow, and you have to plan ahead.
If you do decide the time is right, there’s the problem of coordinating a sale with the school year. Parents are divided on whether moving during the summer vacation or during the school year has less negative impact. Some feel the summer move allows kids to start fresh, while others think plunging them right into a new school helps the transition and helps them make social connections quickly. In the end, you know your own children best, and it’s worth thinking through and even discussing with older kids.
Kids and Change
Some parents who know they want to sell eventually might consider what children experience during a move at different ages. Babies obviously don’t have emotional stress, but a new visual environment and the disruption of routines can lead to sleep problems. Coping with that may not be doable for some working parents, who would find older children easier to support during a move.
Older children can share feelings, listen to advice, and even help with the move. But they are dealing changing schools and leaving close friends behind. Parents will need to pay attention to their moods and to hide their own stress. Modelling a positive, excited attitude can set younger kids an example. Depending on their personality and social life, it can be a flexible time for them to adapt.
Teenagers can be easier logistically but their personal attachments are stronger and their sense of identity more shaken up. The emotional challenges of adolescence may exacerbate the stress of so much change, and parents have to be ready to everything from listen to anger to transport a kid back for the prom at their old school.
In the end, taking time to research and think about all factors, weighing the pros and cons for your particular situation, will lead to the best decision for your family.