Sheron Cardin's Input...: Money Talks...even to children!

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

Money Talks...even to children!

The two most difficult obstacles to overcome when staging an occupied home are... 

messy room 1: The kids: Why isn't it as fun to put something back as it is to take it out...does it get heavier? What's the big deal about picking up after yourself? We all get sick of saying "Clean your room right now!" and we would drop dead in the doorway if the room was actually clean when we go check on them. 

Most of us are parents and we know how hard it is to get kids to do something they don't want to do. But the bottom line  is... there is no reward in putting something back. So how can we suggest to home sellers to keep their homes spotless for sometimes months if we cannot even get our kids to put their clean and folded laundry away in the right drawer? Children are not the big supporters for a move anyway, so the resistance to cooperate is even stronger than before, but as in all training techniques there has to be something in it for them.

money treesHere is the trick...bribe them with real profit sharing from the sale of the house! (I received a killer back massage last night from my granddaughter for $5) Do the math for them and show them how much money can actually be made when the house is kept clean, tidy, and staged.

Money talks! Let's say the house is staged for $1,500 and the asking price for the house is $300,000. The first price reduction could be as much as 5% so lets say that adds up to $15,000. The chances of a house selling in the first 30 days are slim and none these days without staging. Keeping the house up with children is next to impossible unless there is something in it for them.  


do the mathBack to the math:  Assuming the selling family has 3 children all school age were to get 10% of the potential profit of $15,000, that would be a whopping $1,500. That is a lot of money and it is just being thrown away because they are not willing to keep up the look of the house while it is on the market! (obviously these are guesstimates) 

"But what if?" With today's statistics on staged homes selling faster than their non-staged counterparts and for more money that their is well worth the try. If the house closes in 75 days from the listing date, that comes out to $20 earned every day, per child. That is a lot of money! It can be used or saved for a college fund or down payment on a car, or a clothes shopping spree, or however that child wants to spend it. Anything over the price of the home after the first price reduction can be called profit and that matter how large or small...10% is earned by each child.

childs room clean2: Where is it supposed to go? Once the seller has the kids on board the money train...then what? An essential element of merchandising a property is to clear it out so once this is done, the cluttering slows to a minimum because that stuff is gone. This helps tremendously. 

Setting up a simple system for clothes, laundry, everyday essentials, toys, personal items, etc., is critical to the success of a successful sale. Putting a basket in each closet for laundry is easy to do. Install some hooks in the closet for quick hangups. Baskets with lids for toys, games, clickers, etc., keeps each room tidy and organized.

If you would like a complimentary Family To Do List, the same one I give to my clients, just enter your email address in the newsletter sign up window under my profile. I will be happy to send it to you. It is a tool that will make family life easier to deal with while the home is on the market and increase the chances of a profitable sale for even the kids.


Comment balloon 20 commentsSheron Cardin • October 10 2007 04:13PM


Thanks Sheron ... great idea for getting the selling family working together to present their house to buyers.
Posted by Larry Wright (nwRealty.Com) about 12 years ago

Sheron - Well, since the media has created such a bad image for "water boarding", I am glad you have given parents another option. I think it is important that children realize that they are part of the selling team. This sort of "out of the box" thinking should help many when dealing with the black hole young ones create in homes.

Posted by John MacArthur, Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes (Century 21 Redwood) about 12 years ago
Hey Larry and John - It is without a doubt, the most important aspect of selling a family home...getting the kids involved and dangling a big reward too really helps the process.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

very cool! this is a fantastic blog and i love your graphics.



ps. i signed up on your newsletter ;) 

Posted by Cindy Lin, Host, The Home Staging Show podcast (Staged4more School of Home Staging) about 12 years ago
Sheron, Only YOU would think of this, I love it!  I'd sign on for a backrub too.
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 12 years ago
Sheron, I like your thinking.  Money does talk with most children, however in this day and age when younger parents are not giving their kids an allowance, but buying them everything they want, there isn't any amount of money in the world that would bribe those children.  I say, put them up for adoption, and when the house is free of children, then hire a stager! :-)  Or, the parents could hire Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker to have a little chat with the darlings :-)  Oh wait, he lives in a van down by the river doesn't he?
Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) about 12 years ago

Sheron, as usual you write good points important to staging a home.  I am one that believes in 'bribes' and this one could actually work out pretty well for all parties involved.  If you were the child, what would you spend your $500 on?  I would save for a trip to Disneyland. :)  Betty

Terry - who the heck is Matt Foley?  Should I know the name?  Betty

Posted by Betty Haney (Haney Consulting) about 12 years ago

Terry - you are scary!

Betty - I would want the full $1500 and of course I would redecorate my fort.  

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

Cindy - thank you. Did you get your newsletter today?

Carole - I come from a big family and allowances were small but steady...any chance for a large sum of money was impossible to imagine. I can only think that as a child I would have been picking up pieces of lint to make sure I got my cut. :) And the back rub wasn't worth more than $5 so you didn't miss anything. What made is special was she was doing it for the!

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

Betty I'll post a Matt Foley video in the Group About Absolutely Nothing.  He's awesome.  Can get kids to really straighten out!

Sheron - well it is almost Halloween isn't it?

Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) about 12 years ago
Sheron, I love, love, love this post. This is kind of like V-8. Why didn't I think of this just a few months ago? I knew that the young person who lived in the home was sabotaging the entire process. I truly don't know if it was on purpose or not, but I bet this type of advice to the parent may have been of some help. I'm going to use your idea with a REA with whom I'm dealing. She told me yesterday that one of the homes she listed is in desperate need of being staged but it wouldn't do any good because of the 6 kids. After my recent trip into that sad story I mentioned above I simply smiled and shook my head up and down. Bad marketing, I know. Now I will give her this info and see if she agrees with You and Me. Thanks for the excellent advice and 5 rated post!  
Posted by Yvonne Root, Home Stager - Northern Arizona (rooms b.y. root) about 12 years ago
Yvonne - I really hope it works for them so we can put away our magic wands!!! Keep me posted.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

loving this post, Sheron!  If I ever decide to sell I am going to have to bribe my son.  His quarters in our house is often in a disastrous state!  Wonder how much I'll have to bribe him with, considering he's 26 years old and pays us rent to live here?  Any recommendations?  And yes, as your post states, he would  not be a big supporter for a move and there would be resistance to cooperate! :) 

Posted by Karen Dembsky, Atlanta Home Staging (Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA) about 12 years ago

What a great idea!  The kids are always such an issue for parents--they don't want to disrupt their children's lives as much as possible--but they can be such a distraction to potential buyers.  I think a lot of times it's easier to leave the kids "as is" than to dive deep into their "mess" and straighten it out.  Great suggestions--I'm signing up for your email!  Thank you for sharing your ideas!


Posted by Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC (Rediscovered Interiors, LLC) about 12 years ago

Karen - sounds like you son might be an exception to the rule but it wouldn't hurt to make an offer :)

Julie - kids need every little itsy bitsy step laid out for them and they learn how to follow lists at school. (Just keep telling yourself that :))

Thank you for letting me know that you are signing up for the helps to know who wants the list and who doesn't know a thing about it. 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

Excellant idea.  My daughter is an awesome kid - she helps me a lot for nothing, but I try and get her things when she wants them, so we're pretty even.  When she goes over and above, I offer her cash, but she tell me to keep it.  I know she's not the norm.  My son would have done just about anything for extra cash, so this would be a great idea for him.

Its a good idea to pitch to the homeowners -thank you!


Posted by Dawn Taylor, SE Minnesota Home Stager~ (Taylor'd To Sell) about 12 years ago
It is incredibly nice to hear a parent brag about their rare these days. I am so happy for you Dawn!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

Thank you - I really am lucky to have such great kids. They aren't perfect, but they're pretty darn good!

I get your newsletter - love it! I'm very new, and I soak in all the advice from the pros that I can!

Posted by Dawn Taylor, SE Minnesota Home Stager~ (Taylor'd To Sell) about 12 years ago
Great post Sheron, My children earn every dime they recieve from me through hard labor. :)
Posted by Robert McArtor, Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County (RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland) about 12 years ago

Dawn - thank you!

Robert -  your children will make good citizens then!

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago