Spring Home Selling Tip #2 – Clean, Clean, Clean

Home Selling Cleaning Tips

I hope you had a chance to read Spring Home Selling Tip #1 – Curb Appeal.  Now that we have the outside of the house looking neat, clean and inviting to potential buyers, it’s time to move inside, roll up our sleeves and move on to the home selling cleaning tips.

When showing homes to buyers, one of the most common complaints that I hear is that sellers don’t seem to be serious about selling. If they were, they would at least clean up before their home is shown.  Don’t let your house be the one that the buyers are talking negatively about.  Nobody wants to be remembered for being the “dust balls the size of a cat” or “smells like last Friday’s fish fry” house!

Start At the Very Beginning

You should have already cleaned and polished or repainted that front door  during your curb appeal project.  Now, it’s time to take a look at what buyers will see when they first enter your home.

Whether you have a grand foyer with a soaring staircase or you walk right into the living room, first impressions are critical.  I recently was showing home to a “Mrs. Clean” buyer.  If we walked in and the first thing she saw was a dirty rug or banged up walls and baseboards, she was immediately turned off, assuming the rest of the house would look the same way.  Her assumption was that cleanliness equated to maintenance – and that is a belief held by many.

Make sure that the first impression a buyer has when entering your home is one of WOW, not Whoa!

Cleaning Tips:

  • Carpets should be steam cleaned if needed to remove all stains and spots
  • Floors should be swept and mopped as often as needed to keep them shining
  • Ceiling fans should be dusted and the light covers cleaned (this also makes a room look brighter)
  • Baseboards should be free of dust, dirt and scuff marks

Bedrooms Should Say RELAX!

The whole idea of marketing your home is to get someone to imagine themselves living there.  You are not just selling space, you are selling a lifestyle, and you want the buyers to fall in love and want to live it for themselves.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Carpets should be steam cleaned to remove any dirt or spots.  This also leaves the room smelling fresh!
  • While you are dusting, remove all of the clutter from nightstands and dressers, leaving only what you absolutely have to have to live in the room.  Family photos should be packed away and jewelry should be put in a secure location, not left out.
  • Beds should be made every day – a couple of new throw pillows can change the look of the room very quickly.
  • Ceiling fans, light fixtures and baseboards should be cleaned – no dust or dirt allowed!

Bathrooms are Important

Although the bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in a house, they hold a lot of nooks and crannies that get overlooked in daily cleaning.  Make that bathroom sparkle!

Cleaning Tips:

  • Check the corners around the tub and where the tub meets the floor – scrub any of that soap scum and gunk that can build
    up in these small places.
  • Make sure that the tub and shower walls are clean.  Buyers will definitely be pulling back the shower curtain to see.  After all of the soap scum has been removed, try this trick:  Apply Turtle Wax to the shower walls to make them shine and to keep the scum from building back up.  DO NOT use the wax in the tub…it will make it slippery and a fall hazard!
  • Clean the mirror and the light covers.  Consider adding higher wattage bulbs to make the space even brighter.
  • Fresh towels and fluffy new bath mat can finish the room.

Kitchens Can Seal the Deal

Kitchens and bathrooms are the spaces that receive the closest looks from buyers since they are the most expensive to change or update.  Even if your kitchen does not have top of the line appliances and granite counter tops, it should still put its best foot forward.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Clean the oven and cooktop thoroughly and keep them that way! I find that about 75% of my buyers will open the oven to see if it has been cleaned.  A dirty oven or stove gives the appearance of an item that may need to be replaced soon, lowering the value in the eyes of the buyer.
  • After cleaning the sink, dry it with a soft cloth or paper towel to eliminate water spots that can make it look dirty.
  • Clean the fronts of the refrigerator (pack away all of those magnets!) and the dishwasher
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap is a great product to clean your cabinet fronts with and will leave the kitchen smelling fresh as well.
  • Clean the shelves in your pantry.  When your house is on the market is not the time to make a big Sam’s run and stock up on items that can’t fit comfortably in the pantry or cabinets.  Half empty is a good rule of thumb.
  • Again, floors, lighting covers and baseboards should be cleaned.
  • There are companies now that can steam clean your ceramic tile to get all of the built up dirt out of the grout – check out Stanley Steamer for quotes and services.

Are you tired yet?  It is hard work to get a house in shape to sell, but is well  worth the effort and can pay off in higher offers.

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