You Missed a Spot: Is Your Home Spring-Clean Enough to Sell?
Springtime is for selling — and for cleaning. If you want to sell your property during this strong real estate season, you need to roll up your sleeves and slide on some gloves.
But after vacuuming, dusting and getting that toilet bowl sparkling, don’t be fooled into thinking your home is ready for the market. You probably missed a spot – or a dozen.
Sure, you de-cluttered your counters, mopped floors and chipped burnt gunk off your stove. But, trust us, the place still isn’t ready to sell your property.
“Our philosophy is you have one chance when you hit the market, so you need to be as clean and pristine as possible,” says longtime Realtor Mary Anne LaHaye, Abio’s Lafayette office team leader in Contra Costa County.
Consult this checklist from Abio agents before you plant the “For Sale” sign. Happy wiping, dusting, washing and polishing!
Clean windows, screens and sills. Mary Anne says windows are the first thing she looks at when assessing cleanliness. “It makes all the difference in the world to look out a sparkling window into the front yard or backyard. It’s also an indication of how well you took care of the house.” Hire a pro to save time and avoid bent screens and ladder mishaps.
Wipe walls and floorboards. If you aren’t repainting, then wipe away fingerprints and scuffs. Use a wet cloth with mild soap. We also like Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but they are best for white walls. (The product might fade paint colors if you rub too hard.)
“Repair” scuffed woodwork. Short of refinishing, you can reduce the look of superficial scratches. Use Restor-A-Finish on affected spots. Or try this DIY remedy and let us know how it works: Mix one part white vinegar and three parts canola oil and rub it into the scuff.
De-Stink Do’s. Pets, cigarettes, moisture and last week’s pot roast are scents you might be nose numb to, but they linger and are a big turnoff. Open the windows, take out the trash regularly, remove bathroom mold with bleach and water and give your dog regular baths.
De-Stink Don’ts. Don’t skimp on the carpet cleaning — hire a pro. “You will gain dollars by doing it right,” Mary Anne says. Also, don’t go crazy with the air fresheners. Some barely mask smells, and others mingle with them (ew, tuna casserole and pine fresh?). When Mary Anne catches a whiff of those deodorizers, she wonders, “What are you hiding?”
Dust light fixtures, shades and bulbs. Yes, even the bulbs.
Wipe light switches and switch plate covers. Bring on the Q-Tips.
Wipe doorknobs and the area around them.
De-cobweb corners and ceilings.
Wipe towel racks and toilet paper holders.Vacuum behind and under furniture, where dust bunnies multiply. Some buyers look everywhere.
Detail the laundry room. Wipe the top and inside the washer and dryer. Wipe away or vacuum stray lint that is stuck to the surrounding walls and floor.
Draperies and blinds should be dusted or vacuumed.
Grind a citrus peel in your garbage disposal to help clean and deodorize.
Wipe cabinets inside, outside and top.
Exterior light fixtures and door hardware might need de-cobwebbing and polishing.