Cleaning Checklist for Selling Your Home
Potential buyers view a clean house as a sign of a well-maintained property, while a house that has not been deep cleaned often presents red flags to buyers. If your house is not sparkling clean, a buyer is likely to assume they will find disrepair lurking beneath the surface. Some experts estimate that a clean house is likely to receive offers of about $2,000 more than a comparable property that is dirty.
Because cleaning your house can add that much resale value, it makes sense to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Of course this is one task that can easily be delegated to the professionals, who typically charge between $30 and $50 per hour. This can add up quickly when the entire house needs to be cleaned, so doing it yourself may be more appealing. We have a cleaning check list to get you started.
1. Get rid of clutter
Not only does clutter make cleaning more time consuming, but it makes the home appear unkempt. As you prepare to list your home and move, all that clutter is going to either be packed up, donated, or thrown away. Get a head start on this process by decluttering the home before listing it.
Decluttering includes items that feel precious to you; what is a treasured belonging to you might just look like clutter to your buyers. Go through your home collecting clutter, such as:
- Personal collections
- Off season shoes and outerwear
- Junk drawer contents such as hardware, buttons, rubber bands, and other miscellaneous items
- Seldom used linens and towels crowding your closets
Additional: 10 Things to Do Before Selling
2. The Kitchen
Start with the counters. Remove everything from the kitchen counter and wipe it down. Replace only minimal items to avoid a cluttered look and make the kitchen appear as functional and spacious as possible.
Clean and polish appliances, inside and out. Your refrigerator can harbor smells you have become nose blind to, so take everything out, clean the interior, and replace only fresh foods with zero odor.
Clean your stovetop, removing every piece that can be removed, vacuuming crumbs and debris, wiping down every surface, and then reassembling it.
Deodorize your dishwasher by washing the filter and running a cycle with a natural deodorizer, such as a cup of baking soda, a cup of vinegar or several lemon peels.
3. The Bathroom(s)
A less-than-sparkling bathroom will make a last impression, and not in a good way. Make sure your bathrooms look and smell fresh.
Clean the toilet thoroughly, inside and out, top to bottom. If there are stain on the bowl from hard water, try a pumice stone to buff them out. Scrub sinks, counters, and showers or tubs with a disinfecting product.
Hard water spots and stains on faucets, glass shower doors, and tubs can make them appear dirty and poorly maintained. Focus on polishing them to look good as new; some fixtures are relatively inexpensive to replace if they really look worse for wear.
Using a glass cleaner, get the mirrors and any other surfaces spotless. Don't neglect often forgotten areas like baseboards, cabinet doors, doorknobs, towel racks, and light fixtures. This should be the most thorough cleaning job your bathroom has ever had.
4. The rest of the house
The rest of the house should be cleaned in order of the type of cleaning, rather than room by room, to work most efficiently. There is a proper order for cleaning that will help you do the best job in the shortest amount of time. For example, if you dust after vacuuming floors, you will end up vacuuming twice.
Start with a vacuum for surfaces other than floors. vacuum baseboards, shelves, light fixtures, and anywhere else that dust is hiding. This is a great way to minimize the resettling of dust, rather than wiping it and scattering bits to land again after you walk away.
Don't forget to wipe down and/or vacuum blinds or other window coverings during this process.
Next, wash your walls, doors, and baseboards. A microfiber cloth with warm water is usually enough, but other products can be used for stubborn spots.
Sweep hard floors first, and then vacuum the whole house. Sweeping tends to loosen debris and kick some up into the carpet, so make sure to do this in the right order.
5. Final touches
The last touches really are the cherry on top. Fluff throw pillows, make beds, add a floral arrangement, or set out a bowl of fresh fruit to give that final touch that makes the home beautiful.
This extra effort will pay off when closing day comes! For more ideas about selling your home, or to get a market report in your area, contact us any time.