landscape-1438889269-cleaning-2If you’re selling your home or follow real estate blogs, you’ve probably heard of a lot of “tricks” to make your home more appealing to buyers–bake some cookies, burn a candle, invest in professional staging. The purpose of all these tips and tricks is to make potential buyers feel like your home could really be their home. That sentiment,however, will be quickly be undermined if they become overwhelmed by the scent of last night’s dinner or the sight of your messy family room. We know that a deep clean can be daunting, so here are a few tips for easing into the process while also making your house more buyer-friendly.

Start by De-Cluttering. While clutter becomes a part of daily life, it can seriously detract from your home’s features. Get rid of anything that doesn’t add to the appeal of your home. Kids toys, shoes in the entryway, calendars, to-do lists, mail, snacks, magazines, etc. should all be pitched, packed, or put away neatly.

Simplify Storage. Let the de-cluttering continue! Storage space is often a huge selling-point for buyers. Make your closets, drawers and pantries look as spacious as possible by cleaning and organizing them.

De-Decorate. At least a little bit. Everyone has different tastes, but the simpler your furnishing and decor, the more likely a buyer is to see themselves in your space. Consider getting packing away things that are extremely bold, kitschy, or collectible.

De-Personalize. It may be difficult to stop thinking of your home as just that, your home; but packing away family photos and keepsakes keeps things clean and impersonal, allowing the features of your home to shine through.

Let the Light Shine In: Make sure shades and blinds are open so that buyers can see how much natural light your space offers.

Don’t Forget the Bathroom! Too often realtors see cluttered tubs, open toilet lids and messy medicine cabinets. We know how easy it is for a bathroom to get messy when you’re rushing to work in the morning, but pay special attention to it when you know a showing is around the corner.

Stay Walk-Through Ready: Here’s where the real cleaning comes into place, but we promise it will impress potential buyers. A few tasks that need done on a regular basis are

  • Mopping and vacuuming floors.
  • Wash the walls and, if you have significant staining or fading, consider repainting them a neutral color.
  • Wash the interior and exterior of your windows.
  • Drapes and vents should be vacuumed and cleaned.
  • Furniture should be dusted and polished.
  • Fan blades should be dusted regularly
  • Wipe down counters and sinks everyday

Congratulations! You’ve sold your home! Now, how much more cleaning should you do before turning over the keys? To begin, work with your realtor to negotiate a contract that works for you, and then stick to it. Often times, buyers will request stipulations about cleanliness be put in your contract. If you agreed to steam clean the carpets before your move-out date, for example, you have a legal obligation to see it through. A simpler way to approach things, we feel, is to live by the golden rule–leave your old home as clean as you’d like to find your new one.