So much goes into getting a home ready for sale and so many things need to be done throughout the sale cycle but if we could highlight just one thing, what would it be? The best advice is to keep a clean home when selling!
Keep it, clean! Really, really clean! When you’re selling your home please remember that buyers are measuring your house against others. No matter what their current place looks and feels like, they want something better. They expect more and are comparing your home to other homes on the market BUT also to everything they see on HGTV and let’s face it, what they are delivering on HGTV looks pretty amazing!
Cleaning, if you do it yourself is free and if you have a professional come in (which we strongly recommend) it is pretty inexpensive with a great return on the investment. How clean is clean? Well, to keep a clean home when selling is to think Martha Stewart clean and then shoot for even cleaner! We all get comfortable in our spaces. Cleaning baseboards or the inside of cabinets or under the bed might not be high on our regular cleaning list, but these are the things that buyers take note of. The dust bunnies need to go. Toilets need to sparkle inside and out. No dirty doormats, smudges on mirrors, finger or dog prints on lower windows or glass doors. Keep ALL garbage cans empty. No dishes in the sink. Countertops need to all be wiped and streak-free, laundry hidden and beds made.
If so, no reason to think that you don’t love them BUT buyers might not feel the same way. Just because a buyer might not be an animal lover doesn’t mean that they aren’t good buyers. What it does mean is that you need to be prepared! You need to be ready for dog lovers, dog haters, cat ladies and those that are allergic to all of them. No one, even the animal lovers, wants to smell your pets. If you have pets, have the carpets professionally cleaned by a company that specializes in pet smells (no wet cleaning), vacuum every day, hide food bowls, keep the dry food closed and preferably in the garage or in a Tupperware. Clean the cat litter box multiple times a day. Throw the pet beds in the laundry every couple of days. Wash the toys on a regular basis too. Don’t forget to pick up the poop if it is in the yard. I promise that a buyer that steps in something like that in the yard, will be immediately turned off.
One final note….let’s talk smell. Your house CANNOT smell bad and when you live in a space that has a certain smell, you get used to it and do not smell it anymore but a buyer will. I promise. Distinct smells like smoke, pets, dirty sneakers, certain foods like lamb, cauliflower, fish or curry can hit someone the second the door opens. Artificial air fresheners are not the solution. First, cleaning your home with natural cleaners like lavender, lemon, vinegar or even going the bleach route will take care of undesirable scents. Second, keep some lavender calendars on hand and burn them often. Open your windows and let your house air out when you can. Then wash, rinse and repeat and clean some more, freshen some more and over obsess about the smell some more.
If you keep a clean home when selling and address all of these tips as you are getting your home ready to sell, it will have a positive impact on buyers’ perception. It is also important to know that the deep cleaning that you do upfront is just the first step. You need to maintain the Martha Stewart clean for the entire duration of the listing. YES, I did say for the ENTIRE duration of the listing. Sometimes folks get frustrated because they wonder why we are catering to the buyers with all this fuss! Well, the buyers have the money to buy the house that you are trying to sell so, at the end of all the fuss, the seller ( that is you) wins too. Embrace the idea that we want to pull the buyer in and make them want to stay for a while.
For more tips on selling your home, click here.