How we managed house showings with 3 kids under 4 (and pets!)

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Today I wanted to share a little bit about a conundrum that we had while going through the selling process.

Our home listing went live on a Thursday morning, and within 5 minutes of listing we had our first request for a showing through the online scheduling platform. As the weekend went on, we ended up entertaining over 10 families as they came to see the house. With three kids under 4, two large dogs, a cat and a snake, there was no way we were going to be able to maintain a tidy house and get everyone in and out all day long, so we were prepared with a few different options.

Our first thought was what we needed to do with the animals. Animals generate smells that are not always easy to remove quickly (think: litterboxes). Because of this, you will want to have your animals out of the house a few days prior to showings so that you can not only clean, but also give your home time to air out.

It is also recommended to remove evidence of children, although obviously this is not always possible (in our case we have two cribs and a child’s bed in three rooms). The best we could do here was to tidy up and remove the bulk of the kids’ stuff, including cleaning out closets and removing smelly diaper pails.

A few options we considered to manage both of these situations were:

  • Renting an AirBNB for a few weeks
  • Staying at a hotel
  • Boarding the pets
  • Staying with family
  • Staying on the new property

Unfortunately the last option was not feasible, due to the work still remaining on our new property.

We seriously looked into renting an AirBNB for a few weeks, but when the time came to book it the prices had shot up and we were looking at several thousand dollars for the rental. Most options were also not very child or pet friendly, and we had concerns about safety and possibly damaging the rental and being on the hook for repairs. We ended up deciding to go with the third option, of moving into my parents’ guest house. This option allowed us to keep the pets with us and was obviously cheaper than the AirBNB and boarding, but also required a much longer drive as they live about 1.5 hours from our house.

The week before the listing went live we cleaned and packed up most of the stuff in our house. Tuesday morning when the kids went off to school, we moved all of our necessities and pets down to my parents’ guest house, where we lived for the next week and a half. The next few days were a madhouse of cleaning and removing all evidence of children and pets from the home.

One of the things we did since we weren’t going to be living in the house during showings was to buy a few Pura smart air fresheners. These let us safely improve the way the house smelled remotely, without having to do something unsafe like leaving a lit candle.


As a side note, I will admit we are very lucky that we had the option to stay with my parents, and that they have enough space that it was reasonably comfortable. However, had we not had this option we absolutely would have taken on the expense of an Airbnb or a hotel.

The kids also loved getting to spend time on the ranch, swimming in the pool and visiting cows on the four-wheelers.

We also had the opportunity to explore the small town my parents live near, including hitting up the farmer’s market one day, and one of their local parks another. The park had a gorgeous walking trail, with a book to read along the way. The kids really enjoyed it.

Jordan also loved getting to use the local HEB grocery store, we definitely miss it from our college days! Plus it seems a lot cheaper than our regular store.

We stayed with my parents until our house was out of the option period, just in case any hiccups came up, and then we moved back home. Everyone is still getting settled back in, but for as much hassle as moving a family of 5 was, it was totally worth it to have successful showings!

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