As a real estate agent, I view Windsor properties day in and day out. Looking around at many of them, I am surprised what a little cleaning can do to make the house show better. It’s a missed opportunity when a seller doesn’t prepare their home for buyers.
When a buyer sees a dirty or unkempt home, they see trouble. It shows a lack of pride by the homeowners and it conveys the message that other problems or repairs are probably needed as well. And as I mentioned in a previous blog post, a home that is not clean gets a bad reputation among real estate agents. We don’t want to waste our client’s time by going into a home that we know they won’t be interested in. There are simply too many other homes on the market and buyers like to walk through homes where they can imagine living. They don’t want to live in a house where the first impression is a lousy one.
Making your surroundings spic and span is much easier than you think. It really doesn’t take long and the benefits are huge. I suggest that if you are getting your home ready to sell, you follow these suggestions do get the cleaning done effortlessly. We always say that the most important feature of selling a home is pricing it right. Making sure your home is clean falls right behind that rule.
1. Clean Spills Immediately
No doubt that stains are easier to clean if you do it the second it happens. Stains on carpeting respond when they are fresh. More than likely it will set if it sits too long. The one exception: mud. Let it dry and then vacuum it up. Buyers like to see a carpet that is in good shape. If it’s too stained, then their first thought is they will need to buy new carpeting. Have your carpets professionally cleaned if necessary.
2. Start At The Top
Start cleaning on the top floor and work your way down to avoid tracking dirt into rooms you have already completed. Start at the ceiling and work your way down. Remove the cobwebs from the moldings and ceiling, dust the ceiling fan and light fixtures, then continue on to the window frames and wall hangings. Finally, move downward and polish furniture, baseboards and floors. Any dust that falls from the ceiling will be settled when you attack the floor. And who wants to clean twice?
3. Start Dry, Finish Wet
When cleaning a room, start with the dry cleaning first. In other words, dust, sweep and vacuum then proceed with wet cleaning like mopping, window cleaning, etc. The reason? Less dirt floating that will stick to the wet surfaces.
4. Use Time Wisely
One trick I learned from a professional cleaning service is to spray on your cleaning product first, then walk away and do a small chore while it does its magic. It makes it much easier to clean if it has time to soak in and work. For example, in the bathroom, spray your cleaner in the tub and sink. Let it sit and when you come back, wipe clean.
5. Keep Supplies Close
Another shortcut I learned is to keep your supplies with you. Have a bucket with all of your cleaning products. Include rags, paper towels, and trash bags. It makes it so much easier than walking around and trying to remember where you left the window cleaner.
6. Follow Instructions!
Believe it or not, but there are correct ways to clean certain household items and ways to really mess it up. For example, if you have wood blinds, look online for proper cleaning tips. Don’t use water as it can discolour and warp the blinds. But many people spray a solution on them and let it sit. Also, with stainless steel appliances, not every cleaner works. In fact, don’t use anything but a product designed specifically for stainless steel. Otherwise it takes the whole professional look away from your kitchen when you see messy streaks all over your stove and refrigerator.
Other tips when showing a house:
- Keep counter tops cleared
- Replace all burned out light bulbs
- No dirty dishes in sink
- Make beds
- No laundry in the washer or dryer
- No filled laundry baskets sitting around
- If summer, have fireplace clean. If winter, have wood stacked in fireplace
- Open all drapes and blinds
As difficult as it is to maintain a clean home while selling, it is necessary. Clean as you go is the best advice I can give home sellers. You never know when you are going to get a last minute showing and often it’s those appointments where an offer is ultimately made. If necessary, and to take some of the burden off your shoulders, hire a cleaning service every couple of weeks while your home is on the market. It may be the best money you ever spend.