We live in a highly visual culture in the era of Pinterest, Houzz, and HGTV. Most buyers are spoiled by the attractive images they see. The days of putting a sign in the yard without pre-listing preparation are gone. Putting in the extra effort will increase your home’s value.
After de-cluttering, de-personalizing, painting, and installing stone countertops, obsessively cleaning is the most important step sellers can take to appeal to buyers. Think about it. Would you go on a first date not looking your absolute best? Selling your house is like a first date. Making the extra effort lets buyers know you are motivated to sell. An added benefit is that sellers see a sparkling home as one that is obsessively maintained by the seller.
Believe me, I watch buyers faces and body language as they enter a house and it’s very predictable. Clutter, dirt, and bad odors make for a very quick first and only showing.
Ruthlessly cleaning your house is critical because it helps you eliminate clutter as you go. The process also emotionally detaches you from your house so that you actually begin to embrace the concept of packaging it as a product!
Your pre-listing action plan for cleaning:
- Clean windows, inside and out, clean sills and around the frame.
- Wash all window treatments, shutters and shades.
- Clean all door frames, walls, molding and baseboards, putting extra effort around switch plates and door hardware.
- Clean all art and picture frames and mirrors.
- Polish all furniture.
- Clean dusty vents and ceiling fan blades.
- Remove contents of all bookshelves, clean and re-style for a simple and “almost-empty” look. See my Pinterest board for examples.
- Remove all cushions and pillows from upholstery, vacuum and have professionally cleaned if it’s been a while, or if they don’t smell wonderful.
- Vacuum and professionally clean carpets and rugs
- Get in all cracks, corners and crevices, remove cob webs
- Clean all light fixtures and lamps. Replace grungy and dated shades.
- Bathrooms must be immaculate! If your house were a hotel and you were the guest, would you want to take a shower there? Make grout look like new and check the shower rod and curtain to ensure they don’t need replacing; wash or replace bath mat and towels. White is the best. Remove personal items from sight.
- Clean inside, outside and all around the toilet, replacing the seat if necessary. They are cheap at Home Depot!
- Remove contents of all closets, clean, re-fold and organize.
- Remove as many appliances from your kitchen countertop as possible.
- Clean behind refrigerator and vacuum the coils.
- Clean exterior and interior of all kitchen appliances, including under vent hood.
- Wash exterior and interior of kitchen cabinets and pantries.
- Wash the inside and outside of the trash can.
- De-clutter and thoroughly clean desks and computers. Contain paper in decorative boxes from Target, IKEA or Container Store.
- Clean basement in same manner.
- Clear out and clean garage, returning items on racks or shelving.
- Aim for fresh scents with your cleaning products. Never mask with grocery-store fragrance.
If you are interested in pleasing scents that are now overpowering, you may visit these posts:
You may also be interested in my previous post Packaging Your Home as a Product