Posted on August 27th, 2018
Every homebuyer has one thing in common: They want to purchase a house that looks and feels brand new. If you’re thinking of selling your home, you should therefore prepare for a lot of hard work. While some deep cleaning tasks can (and should) be handled by professional cleaners, you’ll still have to play an active role in preparing your home for sale. Before you list your home on the market, take some time to review the guide below:
6 Steps to Take When Preparing Your House for Sale
Get rid of clutter—aggressively.
Clutter tends to be a much bigger problem for homeowners than renters, for a few reasons: One, most homeowners stay in the same residence for years or even decades. This allows them to accumulate a lot of “stuff.” Two, because houses contain more storage space than apartments or condos, it’s easy to turn into something of a pack-rat. Three, homeowners are more likely to have children. The natural urge parents have to save their children’s old clothes, toys, blankets, etc., can create an alarming amount of clutter.
Regardless of where your clutter comes from, you’ll need to make sure it’s gone before you start preparing your home for sale. Clutter creates obstacles that make cleaning effectively and carrying out renovations all but impossible, so it has to go.
To declutter your home, start by setting aside those items you use on a weekly basis. They will form the core of your “keep” pile. Next, isolate any items that would be very difficult to replace (e.g., family heirlooms and expensive keepsakes) and add them to your “keep” pile. Everything else should be considered up for review. Unless you truly believe you’ll use an item within the next few months, consider donating it to a friend, family member, or charity of your choice.
If you have young children, don’t make them get rid of their old toys—doing so creates needless stress and hurt feelings. Instead, offer to pay your child a dollar for every toy he or she agrees to donate to charity. When presented with this incentive, most kids voluntarily choose to hang onto only their favorite toys.
Before you start showing your home, move your valuables to a secure storage unit. While theft during showings is rare, it can happen, so don’t take the risk of leaving any heirlooms lying around.
Ask a local real estate agent to visit your house and offer feedback.
Because we spend so much time in our homes, we lose the ability to see them objectively. You might not notice that your carpets have gradually faded in places, for example. Subtle odors are also usually impossible to detect; to you, your house just smells like home. This is why it’s strongly recommended that you have a real estate professional assess your home before you start cleaning and repairing it: He or she will be able to pick out any flaws a buyer might notice. Keep a list of these issues on hand so that you don’t miss anything while cleaning.
Clean all of the surfaces in your home thoroughly.
The condition of the surfaces in your house (the walls, ceilings, floors, carpets, counter tops, etc.) determine how new your home looks to potential buyers. As such, these surfaces need to be gleaming clean and unblemished before you start showing your home. Make sure you complete all of the following tasks:
-Have your carpets professionally cleaned. Even if you vacuum religiously, your carpets will need the attention of a professional. Dirt particles, dust mites, allergens, and bacteria tend to accumulate at the base of carpets, where vacuums can’t reach them. Professional hot water extraction cleaning, on the other hand, can remove ground-in dirt, allergens, and stains. It also instantly kills bacteria, eliminating odors. (Note that if you have pets, you should have your upholstery professionally cleaned, too.)
-Clean your windows, or have a professional window cleaner do the job for you. If you want to attempt window cleaning on your own, consult our detailed
window cleaning guide.
-Scrub your walls, counter tops, floors, cupboards, and cabinets. Don’t forget the details, like cleaning the ceiling, the tops of cupboards, the baseboards, air vents, ceiling fans, door knobs, and light fixtures.
-Pay special attention to tiled areas. Scrub grout tracks until they’re pure white, using a soft nylon brush and baking soda (or another grout-safe abrasive). The presence of mold or mildew anywhere in a home absolutely scares away most potential buyers.
-Clean your appliances thoroughly, both inside and out.
-Dust your drapes and wash your curtains.
-Thoroughly scrub your bathtub and shower stall and replace the shower curtain.
-Clean the spaces underneath and behind your furniture and appliances. (Don’t forget to check the area behind your toilet for dust and grime, too.)
Don’t use harsh abrasives or bleach when cleaning surfaces in your home. Both can do considerable damage, and bleach tends to leave a lingering odor that many people find unpleasant.
Identify what needs to be repaired or replaced.
After you’ve cleaned all of the surfaces in your home, inspect them thoroughly. If the paint, flooring, or carpeting in your home still doesn’t look bright and “fresh,” you should consider having it replaced. Repainting walls and cabinets is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make your home look newer. Replacing old fixtures (like faucets and light fixtures) with new ones is another excellent low-cost way to update your home.
If you decide to leave your walls, floors, and carpets “as is,” you’ll probably have a few minor touch-ups to make: Remove any nails from the walls and fill the holes with putty, then paint over the putty after it’s dry. Apply the same treatment to any scratches or dents you find.
Air out your home.
Leave all of the windows open for 24 hours. Place fans near the windows (pointing inwards) to help draw in fresh air.
Tidy up the exterior of your home, too.
Make sure your eaves and gutters are free of debris, rake or mow your lawn (as needed), sweep your steps, and remove clutter from your yard and patio.
Get Help With House Cleaning
Do you need help preparing your home for sale? Feel free to contact us: We’ll be happy to give you advice and arrange professional cleaning services for you. The more help you have while selling your home, the less stressful the whole process will be.