My realtor friend Marc Gup recently asked me if I would write about the importance of not only neat, but clean, when it comes to selling homes. And while cleaning is one of my favorite subjects, I understand it’s not for many people.
Calling it a necessary evil is the best most can muster. We all have full lives, jobs, paid or unpaid, people and pets to care for, which hardly leave time to do something we don’t enjoy, does it?
The way I look at it, cleaning falls into two basic categories. The routine cleaning every house needs 2-4 times a month: kitchens, baths, surfaces, and floors. These are the areas we get the most dirty, so they need the most regular attention. In the second category are things that only need cleaning a 2-4 times a year.
When it is time to put your house on the market, you want to be caught up with the regular tasks as well as the periodic cleaning. Kitchens and bathrooms are key. To make them as spotless as possible, I recommend the following 6 steps:
1. Detail clean. Every kitchen appliance from counter-top toaster oven to refrigerator. Prospective buyers don’t want to be concerned with replacing the big ticket items. Make sure the refrigerator is clean inside and out. Magic eraser sponges do wonders.
2. Look up. Make sure all the ceiling lights and fan fixtures are dust free and clean. Take down and wash the globes. Don’t skip this step.
3. Replace toilet seats. Not kidding. Unless they have no wear showing whatsoever. Just do it.
4. Make like new. Take a tooth brush to all wall switches and outlets.
5. Don’t cut corners. Move the furniture and clean underneath couches, chairs, and beds.
6. Wash windows. Clean windows and sills are like having clean eye glasses. You can see much better.
Nothing says Pride in Ownership like a clean house. Details matter. Pull out all the stops. If you are not going to do the cleaning yourself, hire a very thorough cleaning company. The house will feel great, and that will come through to prospective buyers.
If you don’t have plans to put your home on the market, clean it for yourself anyway. A detail clean once or twice a year is a great way to take care of your investment in your home. It makes a difference. Try it and you’ll see.