Selling for the 34–50 crowd

By Stacee Sledge, for The Bellingham Herald

Moving has historically ranked high on the list of life’s stressful events. Add kids to that equation and you have prime potential for a parental meltdown.

Close to outgrowing the current home she shares with two daughters, Taya Turner has begun the arduous task of searching for a house to buy in today’s blazing Bellingham real estate market.

Although the single mother currently shares a charming three-bedroom home with 15-year-old Alexa and 11-year-old Emily, the rooms are tiny and there isn’t much room for privacy — much needed when a house holds three women but only one bathroom.

Taya needs to think about her girls’ needs — social, academic and geographic — while also focusing on what’s best for her current and future financial health.

“I, like everyone I suppose, want to get the most house for my money,” said Taya. “But not at the expense of our other activities. I don’t want to get caught up in a crazy market where I would have to make a split-second decision, because it’s not just me I need to think about.”

Taya’s situation is far from unique. Growing families of every stripe often find themselves in need of more space. But where to start in the quest for bigger digs, especially in a market as hot as our current one?

Some suggestions for dealing with a family move:

Kids have a tendency to wreak havoc on a home’s décor, but once you’ve made the decision to sell, get in the habit of keeping the house tidy – and that includes kid spaces.

Control clutter by keeping decorative storage handy and instituting rules banning left-behind detritus. Do a once or twice daily sweep to keep your house looking its best, so you’re always prepared, no matter how little warning a Realtor gives when he or she is on the way with prospective buyers.

Once you’ve purchased a new home, it’s important to keep family lines of communication static-free. Talk to your children and let them voice their opinions about the move. What are they most anxious about? What might be exciting about a move? Help them look for positives, while assuring them you understand their worries.

Do something special to mark the occasion before you leave your current home. Plant a tree or let your child write their initials or a short message in a hidden space. These symbolic gestures can help with closure for your children.

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