As a stager I end up in a lot of homes. On any given day I can find myself in a cute cottage or a multi-million dollar mansion. One thing that is common among every single home I walk into, no matter the size, location, or price is the need to be clean when your house is on the market.
You would never go buy a nice dress, find the perfect shoes and jewelry, have your hair and nails done and forget to take a shower, would you? Then why hire a Realtor, pay for a stager, rent furniture when necessary, leave the lights on for showings and not clean the house?
Putting your house on the market without giving it a good deep cleaning is like going to the prom without taking a shower.
So, let's talk about some of the common areas home owners miss when they put their home up for sale:
1.Windows - Good clean windows let the sunshine in and open up a house. Dirty fingerprints, smudges from dog noses and kids stickers can block the outdoors from coming in and also make the house feel small. Give those windows a good cleaning inside and out and don't forget to clean the sills.
2. Cabinet Doors - Years of cooking in the kitchen can leave cabinet doors with layers of dirt and grime. Wipe them down with a good cleaning agent, including the handles. Bathroom cabinets can accumulate the dirt too. Years of opening and closing along with toothpaste spills can be hard on the doors.
3. Baseboards - It's amazing the kind of impression good clean baseboards can leave with a buyer. It's one of those things a buyer won't notice if it is done, but they will notice it if it is not done.
4. Return Air Vents - This is an area that collects a ton of dirt (especially in the Middle Tennessee area). Wipe down the vent and go ahead and change the filter while you are at it - unless you are one of those homeowners who changes their filters every month. ;) When a buyer sees a dirty return air vent they wonder if the hvac system is in good shape. Don't plant a negative seed in the back of their mind!
5. Light Fixtures - Yep, get up on that ladder and clean out that dead bug collection you've had for years. While you are up there you can change the light bulbs too. Buyers like light and bright not dark and dirty.
6. Door Handles - Especially if you have little ones, door handles and the area around them can mysteriously collect the sticky from jelly, candy, and who knows what else the little hands get into. Cute when it is your kid - not so cute when it is someone else's.
7. Showers/Tubs - Keep the science experiment at school and remove all the mold and grime that is growing in the shower and tub. Bathrooms are considered money rooms and can make or break a sale. Don't lose a buyer because your bathroom can be mistaken for a science lab.
8. Tile Grout - Here is another opportunity to dazzle a potential buyer. When tile grout looks old and dingy it makes the bathroom seem dirty and cheap. To clean grout mix 1 part baking soda to 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Grab an old toothbrush and scrub away. In no time your grout will sparkle like a new set of pearly whites.
9. Kitchen Appliances - Yes, buyers will look inside your refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher. Toss out old food, wipe down the doors, and don't forget the top of the fridge. Years of melted cheese pizza on the bottom of the oven can send shivers down a buyer's back. You may not have the most updated appliances, but super clean will go a long way.
10. Exterior - Many times houses with siding can grow fungus in areas that don't get much sun throughout the day. Rent a power washer and remove all signs of it. Mold is a dirty word in real estate and will run buyers off faster than a speeding bullet no matter what type or if it is harmless.
Taking care of the little things (like taking a shower) can make all the difference in the world. If you want to have a good time at the prom or entice the buyer to write an offer on your home a good, deep cleaning is a must.