Preparing for Market
Have you ever walked into someones house and thought “I would love to live in a house like this”? Chances are, you’ve stepped inside a well-maintained home. It’s not necessarily new, but judging by its overall appearance, it might as well have been.
You’ve probably pulled up a mental image of that house by now: spotless floors, walls and windows, a clutter-free living room, an immaculate kitchen. The list goes on and on.
Now, as a home owner trying to sell your house, ask yourself: If someone walked into my home right now, would they have the same impression? Would they want to buy my home? Having a clean home is one of the least expensive improvements that increase a homes value. Getting your property in ultra clean condition is an absolute must especially when you don’t have the financial ability to do other needed improvements.
Most of the time, home owners fail to consider cleanliness as a factor in determining the market value of their home, when tidying up is one of the most inexpensive ways to increase it. Perhaps this is because they have lived in the same place for a considerable amount of time that they overlook certain things, such as the wear and tear of certain fixtures, old, forgotten stains on the carpet, or a lingering bad smell that’s not supposed to be there.
Imagine going on a first date and realizing how the other person hadn’t washed their hair. It looks filthy and smells like it too. Sure, their personality may eventually win you over, but before you even got past introductions, you’ve probably considered not going on a second date.
For potential romantic connections, first impressions count. It’s the same with home buyers who are looking to fall in love with their possible new home. Property size, build, amenities, and location are undoubtedly important factors to their decision-making, but it doesn’t end there. It will also matter how well the previous home owners have maintained the place, and they will have no problem shelling out more money for something that has clearly been treasured.
Now ask yourself: Is my home market ready?
Clean Conscience came up with a handy pre-listing cleaning checklist you could use as a guide while you go around your property for an initial look-see:
TOP THREE PRIORITIES
The entry way/living room is the first point of reference for a buyer as they walk into your humble abode. It is important to keep it simple and clutter-free. Meanwhile, the kitchen and the bathroom are places that are very susceptible to collecting dirt and grime, which eventually cause foul odors or molds.
Entry Way/Living Room
☐ WALLS. Dirt and stain-free walls make your home more welcoming from the get-go. Wipe them clean, including baseboards and trim work. Pay attention to the spaces around light switch plates as they tend to gather dirt and fingerprints.
☐ FIXTURES. Lamp shades and other light fixtures, ceiling fans, shelves and other visible horizontal surfaces must not have a film of dust covering them. Meanwhile, polish wood and/or metal furnishings to give them a “brand new” glow.
☐ WINDOWS. Spotless windows are attractive whichever way you look at them, but you mustn’t forget about the window sills as well.
☐ FLOORS. Vacuum and shampoo rugs and/or carpets to remove dust, odors and stubborn stains. Clear traces of clutter—toys, pet beds, litter boxes, etc.—from the floor. It’s easier to appreciate the beauty of a space when it is free of all the mess, and reducing the likelihood of a buyer tripping over something is a bonus.
☐ DIRT COLLECTORS. Scrub and wash trash cans inside out to get rid of accumulated deep-seated dirt and foul odors. Don’t forget to clear your dusty vents too!
☐ SINK & DRAIN. While it’s important to get your sink to sparkle and shine, it’s equally important to scrub the drain area, because this is where foul smells usually come from.
☐ STOVE & COUNTER TOPS. Frequent cooking often results to a messy, grease-laden stove top. Scrubbing the stove top and burners will not only contribute to your kitchen’s overall cleanliness, it also makes your stove more efficient. Counter tops should be clutter free. Keep dishwashers and racks clean. You don’t want buyers to see last night’s dishes still undone.
☐ FIXTURES. Wipe appliances as well as cabinet faces clean. Organize the contents of your cabinets in such a way that the buyers see its storage capacity. Do the same for the contents of your refrigerator, and remember to check its vacuum vents too.
☐ SHOWER. Would you like to shower in a moldy bathroom? Didn’t think so. Keep your bathroom hygienic by removing molds and stains from the tiles, floors, tub (if applicable), and sink. It’s also highly recommended to re-grout and reseal bathroom tiles.
☐ TOILET. Sanitize and deodorize the toilet by scrubbing the whole bowl, including the underside of the rim. Use a disinfectant when swabbing the seat and lid, or you may choose to replace the seat if necessary.
☐ STORAGE SPACES. Clear shelves and cabinets of personal items like toothbrushes, soaps or shampoos. Make sure towels are clean, folded and neatly arranged. Lastly, empty all wastebaskets.
MORE CLEAN UP POINTS
The room inside the house that’s specifically meant to provide comfort after a long day also needs to be kept nice and tidy, don’t you think? To keep your bedroom smelling pleasant, avoid keeping laundry in the room for long periods of time and make sure to put them away when a buyer is set to visit. Remember to rotate clean bedding and sheets often. Regularly maintaining a clean bed also helps you minimize the possibility of having bedbugs and other bacteria.
Organized chaos may help boost personal productivity from time to time, but it might not be of much help if you’re trying to sell your house. Keep your computers, monitors, desks and shelves clean at all times, and make sure your documents and files are not just messily piled on your work area. Have a book collection? Remember to keep them dust-free too.
Walk-in closets are an attractive feature to a home, especially for buyers who need a bigger-than-usual storage space for clothes, shoes, and other items. As much as possible, clear or minimize items on the floor and organize your items neatly. Keep your closets organized to make buyers find your home more appealing.
Your home exterior could well may be considered its face, so make sure it is attractive by cleaning the way to the entrance, the front door, and the walls around it. Sweep your deck and patio, and hose down or wipe any outdoor furniture. You don’t want your buyer to be sitting there and getting dirt on their clothes, do you? Finally, be a responsible pet owner and don’t forget to pick up after your pets.
When in doubt about the decisions you are making over maintaining your home, always remember to put yourself in a home buyer’s shoes. Look around your property and ask yourself, “Would I buy a house that looks like this?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably time to reassess the condition of your home.
In any case, it’s always advisable to keep your home clean. After all, it could be the biggest investment you have, and what better way to protect that investment than to make sure everything that comes with it is organized and functional.
It’s a win-win situation, so feel free to use the provided checklist for your reference the next time you plan a general cleaning. Make it so that the next time someone steps inside your home, they’d think, “I would love to live in a house like this.” When selling a home you can also follow these additional ways to clear the clutter before selling a home. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you a clean house is far easier to show and sell than one that is not.
By keeping your home clean when it is for sale increases your odds you will sell it for a good price.