5 Tips for Stress-Free Moving with Kids

When you finally decide to take a big leap and move, it can be one of the most exciting and stressful periods of your life. And if you’re a parent, double that excitement and stress based on the number of children you have.

There are just so many things to consider, especially if you are both buying and selling a home. From the exciting parts like deciding where you want to live and the house hunting, to the more mundane parts like signing contracts and dealing with lawyers about land transfer taxes, it’s really a mixed bag of emotions.

Here are five tips on how you can make your move an easy and relatively carefree and –dare I say– even fun!–experience for your whole family.

  1. Declutter, declutter, declutter

Long before you ever decide to put your home on the market, it’s critical that you first declutter your entire home. When you are selling, it’s important that you showcase your home as beautifully as possible and typically, having minimal items on display will help do just that. When we live in our homes, especially if you have kids, “stuff” tends to pile up in every nook and cranny.

The thought of decluttering an entire house can feel daunting, so start small, with one room at a time

Tip: Take two garbage bags and one large box into the room. Label one bag “Donation” and the other bag “garbage.” In the box, place items you want to keep but don’t necessarily need out for everyday life (think stuffies or old school projects).

  1. Hire a cleaning company

I can remember one of my first stressors when we decided to move was the thought of having to clean our home. While I would never say that our home was grossly dirty, it has never had a good, deep cleaning in the four years we’ve lived here. And with five people living here, you can image how the dirt has piled up. I’m talking all the neglected areas like baseboards, light fixtures and blinds – the areas I just never have had time to clean but knew dirt had been accumulating.

Hiring in a professional cleaning service was one of the best decisions we made during this process. They came in with a crew of four people and spent almost five hours cleaning our 2,500-square-foot home. Every nook and cranny was wiped, dusted, shined and left squeaky clean!

Tip: If you have carpet in your home, it’s a good idea to have the carpets cleaned before listing your home, too. Especially if you have kids or pets, the carpets are bound to get dirty. In our case, we had some unfortunate makeup spills, including a dark red nail polish on our almost-white carpets! Having a professional come into the space and give the carpets the deepest clean not only freshened things up, it also brightened the overall look.

Bonus tip: Along with cleaning, if you can hire a painter to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, especially in high-traffic areas like the foyer, kitchen and kids’ rooms, it will help the space feel fresh and clean!

  1. Stage your home

One of the lessons I’ve learned through the process of selling our home is: not everyone will care for the décor I’ve chosen for each room.

Removing personal items such as family pictures and expensive pieces of artwork or collections is a good idea so the focus remains on the home and not the stuff you’ve put into it.

Tip: Working with a home stager could help breathe new life into the space before listing your home. Especially in hallways or transitional spaces, stagers can add in or suggest items that might help make the space flow a bit better.

Bonus tip: When you have showings booked for your home, make sure to turn on all the table and floor lamps. This helps give a warm and inviting touch to the space while allowing ample light to showcase the room.

  1. Hire a Realtor

One of the best decisions we made throughout this process of buying and selling was to hire a Realtor. As a busy, working mom of three young kids, I couldn’t imagine going through this process without a professional’s help. For many of the above tips I’ve given, like hiring a cleaning company or painter, our Realtor had all of those services lined up for us, so we didn’t have to worry about finding and vetting different companies.

  1. Get the kids involved

At the end of the day, the process of buying and selling a home with kids doesn’t have to be stressful. Keeping your kids involved from asking them what they’d like in a new home, to getting them to help with the decluttering of their room, to rewarding them for keeping their spaces clean every day, it’s fun to watch your kids work together to make your home the best it can be during this time.

Tip: Give your kids incentives to help keep the home clean. Make it all about teamwork and empower them to be vital part of the process. Getting them involved not only teaches them responsibility but also helps lessen the burden of cleaning the entire home yourself.

Moving can be a stressful time in your life, as it’s one of the biggest transitions you can go through. But implementing these tips can really help reduce the stress of a move – especially one with kids – and help strengthen your family dynamic.


Written By: Christine Martin, Real Estate 101, Relator.ca

How to Find a Great Neighbourhood When Looking for a Home

Finding the perfect home can be challenging, but deciding which neighbourhood to live in is perhaps even more important. After all, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your community, right? Your location affects everything from affordability to your quality of life. A great neighbourhood maintains or raises your home’s value, making it easier to sell down the line. Here are some of the features to look for during your search for the ideal place to move.

Check out the area schools, parks and community centres

If you have or are planning to have children, living in an area known for its sought-after schools and daycare centres increases your property value. Having lots of green space, playgrounds and sports complexes for extra-curricular activities also boosts a home’s cachet.

Figure out your commute

Whether you’ll be driving to the office, cycling or taking public transportation, you’ll want to be sure you’re not spending hours on the road twice a day or more if you and your family participate in sports or other activities. Do a trial run of your commute, or find out if you’ll be driving with or against traffic during peak hours. Choosing a house near a subway or bus stop or commuter train station is a smart move.

Use your senses

Many homeowners opt to live on a quiet street as a respite from urban noise and traffic. Walk through the neighbourhood you’re considering and pay attention: Can you hear birds chirping, or cars honking and planes flying overhead? Are the homes well maintained and the streets well lit? Do the local shops and eateries seem like places you want to hang out in? Take a deep breath: Do you smell any weird industrial odours? Be sure you can picture yourself living here.

Evaluate an area’s “walkability”

Want to be able to pick up some groceries on foot or hop on your bike to get your morning coffee? See if the home you’re looking at is located in a walkable neighbourhood. Having to get in the car and drive 15 minutes when you run out of milk works for some folks, but not everyone.

See if your potential ‘hood offers cultural and outdoor options

Whether you love going to plays, movies, art galleries or concerts, or staying active by hiking, biking or jogging, you’ll want these activities to be located close to your new home. If you have a dog, be sure there are plenty of dog runs or open areas nearby.

Talk to the neighbours

Sometimes the best way to get the lay of the land is by chatting with people who can guide you. Ask your Realtor and/or ring a few doorbells surrounding the house you’re interested in, and ask these potential neighbours what they love about where they live. Find out where they shop, eat and go out on the town.

Asking the right questions and evaluating all your options using the best resources will help you find your ideal community!


Written By: Wendy Helfenbaum, Real Estate 101, Relator.ca