Kid-Friendly Living: Playroom, extra space worth lengthy sale process

Selling a home when you have little ones can be a challenge, from keeping the house orderly to leaving on the spur of the moment when a potential buyer wants to stop by.

When Jason and Bailey Koch’s Marietta home was on the market for a couple of years, they found real estate agents also would schedule showings but wouldn’t show up or even call to say they weren’t coming.

“We always kept the house up. It was always very clean, freshly vacuumed. The kitchen sink wasn’t full,” said Jason, 33, a practice management consultant. “When you talk [about] … a kid and dogs, that’s a lot of work.”

The priority

The couple bought their first home — a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house — seven years ago. “We have one kiddo and another on the way. We had outgrown it,” said Bailey, 31, a pediatric dietitian who is expecting a girl in November.

The sale

“We wanted to sell our house before we bought something else,” Bailey said.

That process started when Bailey was pregnant with Watson, who is now 2. Pricing was the biggest battle — the asking price dropped by about $15,000 from the top end of market value (for their first listing) to the bottom end. Offers they received were for 70 percent of the asking price, and they were surprised to find some buyers asking for furniture, too.

“Originally, when we put the house on the market, we didn’t realize how bad the market was. We also didn’t realize the market was going to get worse,” Bailey said.

A new agent, Julie Porter with Solid Source Realty, brought in a stager, added a virtual tour online and aggressively followed up with agents. “Somebody would be in our house on Tuesday morning, and later that same morning, she was emailing and calling the other Realtors to say, what do you think, how did you like it?” Jason said.

They finally got two offers within a week and accepted the offer from the buyer who wasn’t asking for extra repairs or furniture.

The search

Originally the couple wanted to stay in Cobb County. They set up location and price parameters on real estate websites to see when homes came on the market. When they viewed homes, some looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. As they weeded through the listings in their price range (up to $450,000), they found dated and overpriced options.

A friend suggested they consider Cherokee County, and they found a new Woodstock neighborhood, Estates of Fernwood Creek, that was only a half mile from the Roswell city limits. The neighborhood, by Traton Homes, had homes from the $350,000s to the $475,000s and amenities included a pool, tennis courts and sidewalks. They liked that the location was still 15 minutes from east Cobb, the Roswell square and shopping such as North Point Mall in Alpharetta.

They sold their home in June, but problems with the appraisal paperwork caused the closing on their new home to be delayed two and a half weeks. They stayed with family and moved in during July.

The home

They bought a new five-bedroom, four-bath home with an unfinished basement, back porch and a flat backyard. The floor plan also has a guest bedroom on the main level, which is perfect for when their parents visit, and kid-friendly space upstairs, with a media room in the middle of the bedrooms. “That’s the playroom for us, which is great because in our old house we had to turn the dining room into the playroom,” Bailey said.

Early on, they noticed an abundance of kids in Estates of Fernwood Creek.

“Watson has kids his age he can play with,” Bailey said. “Before we even signed the contract, there were people out with their kids playing baseball and we would see kids in the yard. I think that’s important.”