The Definitive Cleaning Guide For Every Home Seller
Every seller wants a swift sale at top dollar. Sometimes even the smallest imperfection can put off a prospective buyer. The easiest and most cost-effective way to make your home “buyer ready” is simple: a good deep clean.
Cleaning your house for viewing goes well beyond the usual dusting, mopping and vacuuming. To make the right impression, you need to present your home at its finest. Here’s one way to go about it.
Clean the dustiest areas of your home
Prospective buyers may notice things that you haven’t glanced at for ages. Cast a critical eye over every room–high, low, above and under furniture and appliances, walls and ceilings. Then get to work cleaning the dustiest and dirtiest areas of your home.
- Bookshelves and the books and knick-knacks on them.
- Cabinets (kitchen, family/living room, etc.). Buyers will open cabinet doors, so clean the inside as well as the outside.
- Furniture. Using the upholstery brush of your vacuum, vacuum all cushions and pillows as well as the upholstered frame and underside.
- Light fixtures/Ceiling fans. Make sure to clean the enclosed insides or globes of hanging fixtures; it’s a place insects go to die.
- Air vents.
- Window sills.
- Refrigerator coils (coils on refrigerators 10 years or older are probably along the back of the fridge; newer models often have coils at the bottom of the refrigerator)
- Windows, inside and out.
Remove stains from everything
- Furniture: Ideally, you haven’t removed the tags with cleaning instructions. But even if you have, you can try these useful tips.
- Carpets & Rugs: You can steam clean mystery stains out of your carpets using an iron. If that doesn’t work you probably have an oil stain. Try a commercial carpet cleaning product or make your own, using a vinegar solution: 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid,1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
- Floors: Wax your floors for a professional/pristine appearance.
- Caulk & Grout (kitchen and bathrooms): Although bleach and vinegar are caustic and can erode grout, you’re doing a one-time deep clean here and the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Use a commercial grout cleaner or make your own, using a paste of two parts baking soda to one part hydrogen peroxide. If the grout is moldy, spray with a mixture of one part bleach to four parts water. Regardless, some scrubbing will be involved.
Odors are a no-no
Follow a few “do’s and don’ts” to make a good olfactory impression.
Don’t: use air fresheners. People with allergies may have an adverse reaction.
Do: make a natural odor neutralizing/fabric spray! This spray has no scent but will neutralize odors. Place 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle (preferably fine mist). After the foaming action stops, add 2 cups water, then shake well. Spritz the air. Also spritz any water safe fabric/carpet.
Do: Wash all of your linens, blankets and cushion covers in a mix of laundry detergent and a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to remove pet odor.
Do: Sprinkle baking soda liberally on carpets, bed, and furniture using a cleaning brush to spread it around and into the fabric. Do this as far in advance as possible to give the baking soda a chance to absorb odors. Let it sit for several hours to work (or an entire day), then vacuum.
Do: Keep any kitty litter boxes and dog-potty pads out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a well-used litter box.
Do: Hire professionals for any carpet and floor pet stains that you are unable to remove. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can’t be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it.
To attract discerning buyers you cannot cut corners, you must clean them! Check out a complete checklist of a thorough deep clean here.
We realize this is a hefty list and you may need a little help. Consider hiring a cleaning service, if the budget allows. Whether you choose to hire a professional or do the job yourself, a deep clean is a smart investment that will make your home an irresistible opportunity for potential buyers.
The result? High offers and a quick sale. And, a really clean house.