Selling Your House and Keeping It Clean

You’re selling your house!

Chances are you will live there until it sells. Maybe you have children, a dog, a home office.  Maybe an elderly parent lives with you.

How in the world are you going to keep it clean to show it while you still live there?

Not all of us can afford regular house cleaning services so we have to do it ourselves.  If you are selling your house consider having a major, one-time cleaning done before or just as you get the house listed.  It will make a big difference to how the house shows and  it is well worth the expense.

It is not enough, in many cases, to just tidy up the place. A home buyer is going to inspect everything. If the kitchen is greasy, the bathroom has soap scum, the livingroom floor is coated in pet hair, or the bedrooms have unreasonable clutter, the home buyer might wonder if the house has been maintained over the years.  A one-time deep cleanse might help eliminate this concern.

A home inspection will tell what maintenance issues exist but if the house is filthy, the home buyer might not consider making an offer and checking out the home inspection report.

Once a deep cleanse is done, it should be easier for any home seller to maintain the house while it is on the market.  There are many places in the house that get overlooked by the seller once that cleanse is done so read below for a list of areas around the house to pay attention to until you move out.  This list comes partially from but I’ve added a few of my own ideas based on my own expertise.

  1. Kitchen: drawers, pantry floor, refrigerator, dishwasher, gas cooktop.  These are areas that home buyers inspect. Nothing is grosser than grease and food particles stuck to the inside of the dishwasher door near the seal, or in the microwave or refrigerator. If these items are staying with the house, keep them clean. Keep food and boxes off of the floor of the pantry so people can see how much extra space is inside.  Crumbs in the kitchen drawers can also be a turn off. Send the home buyer away with a good feeling about the house.  The last thing they want to think of is how much cleaning they’ll need to do to get into the house so make it look move-in ready. A quick wipe down after use will  keep it clean.
  2. Ceiling fans, hanging lamps, light bulbs: These are huge dust and spider web collectors so be sure to keep watch on how much dust is overtaking them after the “big clean”.  Don’t leave the home buyer with the impression you have a spider problem because of the hanging webs from the lamps.

    Can you see the spider webs?  A home buyer will and wonder if there's a spider problem in the house.
    Can you see the spider webs? A home buyer will and wonder if there’s a spider problem in the house.
  3. Behind the toilet: a very overlooked area because no one wants to reach back there. This spot collects hair, dust, pieces of paper and more, so keep it dusted.
  4. Laundry room: if the machines are staying, clean them. Keep the floor dust- and lint-free.
  5. Bed Skirt: my dog lies next to my bed at night so I have dirt and dog hair on my bedskirt from her furr. This is one area that I have to keep clean and if you have a pet, take a look at your bedskirt. It should be easy to launder so be sure to do it regularly and keep the home buyer’s eyes up to look at the room, not down at the dirt.
  6. Windows: again, I have a dog. She puts her nose on my windows to look outside.  Dogs and little children can leave windows less than sparkling so if you get a call for a showing, be sure to wipe the smudges before leaving the house. It’s quick and easy to do.
  7. Shower curtains: mildewed shower curtains can leave a smell that someone else will pick up on. It may leave the home buyer wondering if there is a mold problem in the house so before you put  the house on the market, change your shower curtains.  If you have shower doors, check the sweep at the bottom of the door for mildew. These are easy to replace and available at your local home improvement store.
  8. Kitchen cabinets: you might not notice the greasy hand print or the smudge of syrup or grease splatter on your cabinets but a home buyer will and it is a turn off.  Once you have the deep cleanse, get into the habit of a quick wipe-down each night after loading the dishwasher. It’s a good habit to get into and you can stop the dirt build-up with daily attention.
  9. Bathroom sinks: wipe down each  morning when you finish getting ready for the day. Then you don’t have to worry about cleaning for the next showing.

If you get into the habit of wiping up the little things each day, your house will stay clean and look great to each potential home buyer that passes through. This attention to detail may be the difference between no offers and an acceptable contract.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor~Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655~662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344. Equal Housing.


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