It’s time to showcase your home with an open house. Your to-do list may be long, but the most basic of all is to clean it until it shines. Nothing is more fundamental to selling your house than to have it sparkling clean. Here are the basics.
Consider hiring a professional. You may want to DIY it, but nothing beats having people who clean for a living come in and transform your home. To hire a maid service is not that expensive, especially considering the potential payoff from selling your home. They will not overlook things. They know the techniques and they use professional grade cleansers to do the job. Call three different services and get quotes. Make sure they are bonded and insured before you hire them, and read online reviews of their work.
The stove, oven and kitchen sink. Whether you decide to clean it yourself or hire someone, let’s cover the basics. A stove and oven with caked on, burned on foods is simply gross. Make sure you or the service take care of this focal point in the kitchen. The sink should be scrubbed, stain free and use a deodorizer for the garbage disposer to eliminate smells.
Bathrooms. Toilets should be cleaned till they shine and smell sanitized. Clean the floor around the base and behind the toilets. Use lime remover on all faucets and hardware. Mirrors spot free. You know a clean bathroom when you see one so see that yours sparkle.
Dust. Go over every shelf, picture frame, bed frame, and every baseboard. Give your house the white glove treatment. Also, be sure to change the air conditioning intake filter and sweep/wipe the grate free of dust.
Floors. A professional maid service will vacuum and mop, but you should also have a carpet cleaning company professionally steam clean the carpets, treat stains and pet odors and clean stained grout lines in tile. Speaking of pets, wash their bedding and scrub well any area that is their designated sleeping/housing/feeding area to remove pet odors. You don’t smell it any longer, but most assuredly your buyers will. During an open house, remove their bedding and bowls to the garage and even have Fido or Fluffy temporarily off premises, staying with friends or relatives.
Don’t forget the outside. Drive up appeal is crucial so have the landscape mowed and trimmed, clutter cleaned up and no trash cans in sight. If necessary on open house day have extra cars parked elsewhere temporarily. Have your windows sparkling clean. Again, it’s worth it to hire a professional who can make them crystal clear. When you are showing the house you want to have curtains and blinds open on the windows for maximum light, so it defeats that purpose if the window glass is grimy.
Declutter inside and out. Have both front and back yards clear of any clutter such as old yard tools, defunct barbeque grills, stacked bricks or landscape timbers and whatever else may be lying around the yard. Clean out the garage and stack what you keep as neatly as possible. Inside, declutter with ruthless intensity. If you haven’t used it in a year or there’s no legitimate reason to keep it…no matter what “it” is…then sell it, give it or toss it away. Besides helping your home sell, decluttering brings a liberating feeling that’s hard to beat. Plus a cluttered home gives the illusion that it’s smaller than it really is, especially cluttered closets.
After all these steps, walk through your house with your listing real estate agent pretending to be a buyer. See what they will see, think as they would think. You’ll spot things that you’ve grown accustomed to that a buyer will notice right off. Make sure your home looks just like the photos listed on the MLS. With close attention to detail, and a spirited effort to make your house shine, you’ll have accomplished the most important step toward showcasing your house.