Would you rather walk into a clean home or a dirty home? This is not a loaded question. It is an important one! When it comes to selling a home, many people forget how important the answer to that question really is. Sellers get busy looking for their new home, preparing kids for a move, packing up their belongings, getting organized for their new life and relocation so much that sometimes their home that is for sale doesn't get the attention that is needed to push it to the top of the buyers' must-have lists.
After the home sits on the market for a long period of time, the sellers realize something has to change. Sometimes it is the price, but sometimes it's the fact that the home that is being shown isn't clean enough. Yes, clean homes show better. Here are five suggestions to help make yours sparkle:
Hard to Reach Windows, Skylights and Ceiling Fans. These often get overlooked either because they are difficult to access to clean or because they aren't at eye level. Whichever the case, cleaning windows in high ceilings or skylights provides a brighter light to shine in your home. Sometimes just getting out the could of dust and dirt that accumulates can make the difference between a murky-looking room and one that is eye catching. Clean the windows on a cloudy day if you can, but not a rainy one. If you clean the windows in the direct light of sun, traces can appear on the window, as the cleaning solution gets dry before being cleaned. Don't forget those paddles on the ceiling fan as well-both the tops and the bottoms. And, if your ceiling fan has an attached light fixture, make sure the globes and the bulbs are as shiny as can be for maximum effect!
Toilets. It may seem like this goes without saying but I am sure any real estate agent you ask will have a horror story about toilets. Whether they are leaking, continuously running, stained or simply stinky, they pose a major deterrant if ignored. If you have an older toilet, give it a good inspection and be sure to check under the lid, down the front of the bain and around the seal to the floor. Buyers sometimes use your toilet when they are looking at your home and nothing is worse than seeing rust stains and other unsightly marks.
Walls and Baseboards. I am sure you have read much about the value of a fresh coat of paint prior to putting a home on the market. But perhaps you can acheive the same effect with a good wipe-down instead. Using a wet, midly soapy cloth you can scrub the walls and baseboards to make them look like they have had a fresh coat of paint and for hundreds of dollars less. I don't normally tout a particular cleaning product but Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers will save you the mess and ease the elbow grease. These rectangular-shaped cleaning pads can take the grime off nearly everything. You don't have to spray anything on the surface you are going to clean-just wet the eraser and wipe off the marks. Whole walls can be celaned with these pads and they will look as though the wall had been freshly painted. Be sure to get the baseboards too and get down the kids' level to wip off the marks where they place their fingers while walking up the stairs or down the hall.
Tile. Hopefully you will get lots of foot traffic when your home is on the market. This, however, can lead to very dirty flooring and grout–especially in times of inclement weather. The tile and the condition of the grout will matter to buyers should they decide to make an offer. Really scrub those dirtly lines of grout with a good heavy duty acidic cleaner meant for such purpose. Doing so will make the tile stand out and not look like it needs regrouting.
Closets, Cabinets, Computer Areas. I have written about the value of clean closets before but cannot reiterate it enough. Buyers love to snoop and will open closets and cabinet doors. De-clutter closets, hang shirts all facing the same way and even alphabetize the spice cabinet. The point is to not have junk stuffed inside closets and cabinets so that when potential buyers open them to have a peek, everything comes crashing down on them. This will give the impression that the closets are too small. Computer areas are becoming quite popular in homes and behind most of those computers is a tangled web of wires collecting tons of dust. Organize the wires using Velcro or zip ties and dust them off. Or, better, yet, if you don't have to use the computer daily, arrange the area like you were filming a movie or shooting an advertisement–you never see wires! Remove all of the computer and accesory electronic cords. You can leave the monitor display on the desk but taking the wires and storing them will give the area a more spacious, clean and professionally staged look.
When buyers see homes that are dirty, cluttered, disorganized, scoffed and worn, they may think it is an indication that the home may not have received the care it needed for bigger items, too, such as the furnace, disposal, plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. It gives a general feeling of un-cleanliness and can leave a negative lasting impression and your home still on the market. Invite your two most fastidious friends to give you a critique. And ask your agent for his or her opinions as well and really listen to them! A little cleaning and preparation before you market your home will help show buyers that you have cared for the house and that could be just the signal a buyer needs in order to make an offer.
Remember, we are experienced and well-prepared to assist you in selling your home when you are ready. Don't hesitate to give us a call.
Hope you all have a terrific week!