It should go without saying that your house needs to be clean when you invite potential buyers in to view it and hope that they’ll give you a lot of money for it. This raises two issues: First, what does “being clean” mean? And second, is it enough to be clean?
It isn’t easy being clean
It’s a tall order but it is essential if you want to get top price and sell fast. Some homeowners are obsessive about maintaining the cleanliness of their homes. But even if you haven’t been especially diligent about keeping the house clean, all is not lost. Hire a top-notch commercial cleaning service to clean the house thoroughly prior to listing for sale.
A thorough housecleaning includes steam-cleaning of carpets and tile grout, washing of air conditioning and heating vents and overhead fan blades, cleaning around faucets and stove-top control knobs — with a toothbrush if necessary — and drycleaning of draperies. Windows must sparkle because clean windows let in more light.
The house can and should be immaculate for its first open house. And after the special cleaning, the cleanliness has to be maintained. Kids and pets present a real challenge to keeping your house clean. Toys should be kept out of sight in cabinets, chests or even duffel bags. If you have pets, vacuum your furniture and carpets daily.
Is it enough to be immaculate?
Stagers are quizzical when they hear an agent at an open house claim that “this house is immaculate,” implying that one should buy it for that reason alone. Of course it’s immaculate. It’s expected. Why would anyone pay good money for a dirty or poorly maintained house?
While being clean and neat is essential to get top price, it isn’t enough. To prepare a house for sale means more than cleaning. It also means repairing, updating, and staging. It means keeping all the rooms organized and uncluttered. Putting everything in its place. Every day until the house is sold.
The house must also look appealing to a buyer. Clean and neat isn’t enough if a buyer can’t connect with the house because the big-screen tv (thoroughly dusted though it may be) dominates the living room or because the kitchen looks to prospective buyers like their parents’ rather than their friends’.
Making rooms look appealing means using furniture placement, paint colors and window treatments to highlight a room’s best features.
It isn’t easy being clean, and it’s just a part of making a house appealing to a buyer.