Clean Your Home Before AND After Selling

The importance of Cleaning Your Home Before AND After Selling 

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the important of decluttering a house before listing it, and also about what the term “broom clean” means as you’re getting ready to close, but what about the importance of having a clean home before and during listing, and then again right before you close?

Getting your home as clean as possible not only creates a great first impression for potential Buyers, it can also guarantee a successful closing. If you slack off and leave a house a mess for the new Buyers you run the risk of not closing at all.

Potential Buyers have a certain expectation of a listing before they walk in the door, but if they’re met with a dirty house they may either just walk out again or, if they’re truly interested in the location and neighborhood, they’ll offer way less than a full priced offer.

Having a dirty and cluttered listing can distract Buyers, so here are some great tips on ways to make a great first and last impression:

cleanFirst impression – the entryway

First on your list should be washing the windows, cleaning the floors, polishing the furniture and vacuuming the rugs throughout your home – make sure you pay special attention to the entry hall/way/foyer, kitchen and bathroom(s).

The entryway should be clean and simple. Don’t just mop and vacuum; make sure you put away shoes, coats and bags – anything that can take away from the very first impression.

They say a fabulous kitchen can easily sell a house so make sure it’s immaculate –  dishes should be in the dishwasher, and done, and the counters must be clean. Make sure the air is clean and fresh and doesn’t carry a whiff of last night’s dinner or this morning’s breakfast.

Next, the bathrooms need special attention. Put yourself in a Buyer’s shoes – would you want to take a shower in a moldy stall or bathtub?

Make sure the tile grout is spotless – scrubbed and bleached, and made to look a lot better by either regrouting to resealing it. Buying a new shower curtain and towels are also great investments.

Clean all visible horizontal surfaces: windowsills, picture frames, baseboards, even the inside shelves of kitchen and medicine cabinets. Clean the walls around light-switch plates, where there are a lot of fingerprints, and around doorknobs.

It’s possible to skip areas that people wouldn’t normally see, as Buyers don’t often climb on ladders or furniture to look on upper shelves and on top of cabinets, but, if you can clean those areas, do.

Put away personal items before each showing. No Buyer wants to walk into a bathroom and see toiletries and 11 bottles of anything lying on the toilet cover or in the shower.

Make the bed with clean linens – add flowers or pretty pillows to spruce up the bedroom.

Getting ready for closing

Now that you have a Buyer and are about to close start going through your house room by room, from the top on down, and clean everything. This will also help you as you organize your move so you can toss out anything you don’t want to take along to your next place.

Dust the ceiling fans, wipe down the walls, and then sweep, vacuum, or mop. Clean the refrigerator (if it’s staying behind), and give a once-over to the oven and stove — including the drip pans. Check the air vents for filth or mold — and if you spot any, call in a professional. This won’t be a standard broom cleaning.

Once you’re done with one space, move on to the next. And don’t forget the details – like light fixtures and wiping down cabinets and drawers, inside and out.

Pay attention to how your house smells – ask a friend if you need help. Any strange odors — even if temporary — will make the Buyers think the home is dirty. (And they may be right.)

Even if you’ve already moved out, go back into the home for a quick sniff before the walk-through. Air fresheners can minimize lingering odors. When all else fails, call in a deodorization pro.

Take everything with you

Many Sellers leave behind personal items, because either they think the new owner may get use out of them or they just don’t want to deal with them.

Unless the Buyer specifically asked for something, take everything with you. Double-check attics, basements, storage closets, and the garage for anything you might have missed.

Check your contract: Some Buyers may stipulate that the place be spotless by the time they move in. If you agree to this (verbally or in writing) and don’t live up to your end of the bargain, you could be at risk for a lawsuit.

So if you leave a mess, the new owner could delay closing — or even bail on the sale altogether. While Buyers may forgive you if you forget to sweep under the stove, more serious offenses can also have serious consequences – so it’s better to clean than be sorry.

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Charles McDonaldBy Charles McDonald - Charles, and his firm, Charlottesville Solutions, are known locally and around the world for helping people relocate to the Charlottesville area. His background (running his own engineering firm for 20+ years in the Silicon Valley) has given him the skills to not only develop this site but also to manage a stellar group of agents!
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