A clean house is a more attractive house. This fact is never truer than when you are trying to sell your home. In today's buyers market, homeowners must do all they can to make their house look appealing in order to stand out favorably to potential buyers and close on a sale. If you are looking to put your house up for sale, or already have but have been having trouble getting offers, consider these three important housecleaning tips. I successfully sold a home recently in under 30 days on the market without having to make expensive renovations, but instead through simple cleaning and organizing techniques.
3 House Cleaning Tips when Your Home is for Sale
In today's difficult housing market, sellers must do what they can to make their home look as attractive as possible. These house cleaning tips will help.
All photos on this page are by the author, sockii, unless otherwise provided by Amazon.
Once you've stripped down your home to minimal decor, it's a lot easier to keep it clean for showings.
1. Simplify Your Home Environment
You might not have the luxury of being able to move out of your home while it is on the market, but you can do much to lessen personal clutter. This will not only make your home look more attractive, but easier to keep clean as well while it is up for sale.
- Go room by room and determine what items you can throw out, donate, or at least put in storage until you are ready to move into your new home. If you don't absolutely need it over the next 3 months, for instance, consider getting rid of it or at least getting it out of sight.
- Pack up any non-essential decorative items, books, magazines and collectibles which not only gather dust, but can distract a potential buyer from focusing on the house itself. (That includes personal photos: buyers don't care about pictures of your kids everywhere; they want to imagine their own family in your place!)
- Store out of season clothing so that closets look more roomy and spacious. Clutter and chaos can make a person feel anxious, and make rooms appear small and unwelcoming.
- Consider calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK? or another bulk-removal service to finally get rid of that clutter in your basement, old broken furniture, and other items you couldn't sell off at that last yard sale you held. A less cluttered house looks more spacious, and gives buyers more opportunity to envision themselves in the home.
This process can also make your move-out simpler once you've sold your home, as you've already done much of the packing (and trashing) work already!
Keep rooms clean, minimalist and inviting when your home is on the market for sale.
2. Tackle Chronic Odors
Pet, smoke and even strong incense or candle odors can be a major turnoff to potential home buyers from the moment they walk in your front door. Don't let the smell be the first thing buyers focus on.
If there's an old sofa, pillow or blanket that your cat or dog has had a few accidents on, get rid of it now. Wash bed linens, slip covers and pillow cases thoroughly after first soaking in a baking soda/water solution to neutralize odors - or consider buying fresh linens to put on the beds before showings and open houses.
If you can't afford to rip up carpets that have settled-in pet or smoke odors, do your best to neutralize them. First get the rugs treated by a professional carpet cleaning service, or rent/buy a carpet cleaning machine to do it yourself. This will do much to freshen up the house overall, and also reveal where you might have stubborn trouble areas, such as odors caused by cat urine.
To deal with cat urine and other severe odor problems, there are natural, inexpensive methods which actually work better than many commercial products. As per the instructions in this free recipe, a simple combination of vinegar, water, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap can often get rid of persistent cat urine smells for good. For less severe odors, baking soda alone may do the trick, especially when sprinkled over carpets for 15-30 minutes before every vacuuming.
Before a scheduled showing or open house, do your best to freshen up the house as well. Open the windows for a while to get in some outdoor air (provided the weather is agreeable, of course!). Burn a nicely-scented candle, or use an air freshener like Febreze Air Effects.
Don't overdo it on the scents, however - that can hint to a buyer that you are trying to cover up something, or be irritating to someone who has a sensitivity to smells and perfumes. If you are going to use an air freshener, spray rooms an hour before the showing so the most intense scents have time to dissipate.
And of course, if there are litter boxes in the house, make sure the boxes are cleaned and scooped daily, and preferably right before a showing as well! I have seen people immediately respond to just the sight of a litter box as a sign that the house will/does smell of cats. So out of sight, out of mind...?
Cleaning Products for Your Home - And for Tackling Tough Odors
|Simple Solution Extreme Stain and Odor Remover, 32-Ounce Spray Bottle|
With 3 times the power this fast-acting formula permanently and completely removes even the toughest pet stains & odors. Simple Solution combines advanced cleansers with benefic...
|Urine Odor Remover Works Great On Carpet, Hardwood, Floor, Concrete, Mattress, Furniture, Laundry...|
Urine Odor Remover Works Immediately And Permanently, Leaving a Pleasant Fragrance & No Trace of a Foul Urine Smell! Our powerful yet gentle on carpet and other flooring urine o...
|BISSELL SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner, 3624|
BISSELL Spot Clean Pro Portable Deep Cleaner, 3624Bissell Spot Clean Pro is Bissell's most powerful portable spot cleaner. It comes ready to use with no assembly required. Simpl...
|Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer, FH50150|
Powerful, Easy to Use, Lightweight (all-in one cleaning for carpets, upholstery, car interiors & more)
3. Hire a Professional Cleaning Service
Once you've simplified your home and made it easier to keep clean, consider calling in professionals on a regular basis to keep it that way.
Many of us lead busy lives and can't afford to dedicate the time to keep a house in the pristine shape you'd want it to be in to impress potential buyers. Hiring a cleaning service to come in once a week, or once every two weeks, can pay off tremendously. They can tackle all the areas of regular housecleaning that many of us typically skip or skimp on, like dusting and window washing, washing all floors, and just keeping things neat and organized.
Having your house on the market can be a stressful enough time in many ways, so a little help can be well worth the cost for keeping your house looking its best. If you don't know any good cleaning services, ask around among your friends and neighbors. You might get a better price on the service if there are cleaners who can visit hit multiple homes in an area, or housing development on the same day.
For more tips on staging and cleaning your house for sale...
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