Home inspections with children

Whether you own or rent your home, chances are that if you’re moving you’ll have to open it up for inspection to potential owners or tenants.

Cleaning your home for a one-off open house is easy but maintaining it for those last minute calls from the real estate agent is hard work, especially if you have children.

Moving can be an unsettling experience for children and while you want your home to look immaculate at all times, you also want them to be able to play and feel comfortable in their own home. So how to you find a balance?

Rather than restricting children from playing with their toys, here are some ways you can prepare for a last minute tidy-up.

Clean as you go

Naomi Findlay of Silk Home Staging and Styling, recently gave this advice on realestate.com.au:

“Get a spare washing basket and each night walk around the home collecting all the clutter that has accumulated as part of everyday living with children such as school shoes, school notes, left out toys, etc.

“Before bedtime or before everyone leaves the house in the morning, work together to empty the basket. Doing this means you will always be ready for an impromptu home inspection. At worst you can throw the basket into the car with you when you leave before the inspection.”

Organise toys

The easiest way for children to keep their toys tidy is to spend some time organising them. Start by having a clean out of items they no longer use and then either donate them, sell them or bin them. Next invest in some stackable crates and label them accordingly, i.e. cars, hairclips, beads, Lego, etc. If children know where things go they can quickly help pack them away.

Now is also a good time to encourage children to put away their toys after they have finished playing with them before they get something new out.

Get everyone involved

Organise a box of cleaning products and, if your children are old enough, delegate chores for when the real estate agent calls. Children love to get involved and can easily dust, tidy their own rooms, vacuum, etc. Perhaps you can even make a game of it to see who can finish their chore the fastest.

Don’t forget the outside

No one likes a messy backyard. Make sure bikes and scooters are parked neatly and any balls or other outside toys are packed away. This includes the pool. Make sure you take all pool toys out of the pool prior to an inspection.

Cover up

If you’ve gone to the trouble of steam cleaning soft furnishings like lounges, it’s a good idea throw a blanket or sheet over them to protect them from sticky fingers or spills. When you get a last minute call, you can easily whip off the coverings and fold them away.

Plan activities during the inspection

Real estate agents recommend taking children out during home inspections. If this isn’t possible, think about other ways you might be able to occupy them like playing outside or playing a board game. Whatever the activity, aim for something quiet and mess-free.