Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Staging for a Quick Sale—Cleaning for a Buyer!

Clean! OK, that seems easy enough. Most people clean on a daily or weekly basis but now you are selling your home. People who don’t know you will be walking into your home and assessing your property to determine if it is a place that they want to bring their family into. This means you need to clean until the place SHINES. And yes that does mean before every showing and open house.

So sellers scour the sink and clean the carpets and put up the for sale sign. But after the first few showings, their Realtor calls with feedback from potential buyers. Unfortunately, this can be where sellers find how good their preparation really is…When you’ve work for days and are told the house is “dirty”, what a slap in the face.

So let’s take a look at what is often overlooked by eager sellers and not overlooked by potential buyers!

Refrigerators—Clean inside and out! Remember a different family is going to keep their food in this appliance and they don’t want it to be repulsive! Throw out half-eaten food or store in sealed storage containers. Get rid of that moldy orange way in the back behind the drawer. Throw away that weird mustard that came with last year’s holiday basket. Take down all notes, magnets and papers from the outside and clean any discoloration. If they are not essential, don’t put them back on. Tuck them in a drawer or throw away. Carwax works well on white, smooth appliances to remove yellowing. Remove all drawers and shelves and clean until all grime is removed. Open the doors and check along the inside edge—especially note the rubber molding around the edge where food and spills can collect.

Range/Ovens—Clean your stove from top to bottom, inside and out. Use non-abrasive cleaners to remove all of the stuck on food from the range top. If it is stained and/or damaged, consider replacing. Clean the microwave and oven. Yes, potential buyers will look inside. If you are storing crackers and cereal inside, it doesn’t say to the buyer, this person can’t cook. It says the microwave doesn’t work! If there is burnt-over or rotten food inside the oven, it says, this family doesn’t clean!

Bathrooms—Take an honest look at your shower and the flooring around it. If it looks substandard to you, it will look gross to a potential buyer. Remove old discolored caulk and put it new. Open the toilet lid and make sure that it is clean inside. And it goes without saying that one pair of dirty underwear on the floor can blow the whole deal!

Walls—Wipe down walls by often used light fixtures--Especially if you have little ones. Also, move that trash bin in the kitchen and towel in the bathroom and check behind. It may require some scrubbing. If the stains cannot be removed, consider repainting.

Basements and Garages—These just cannot be a dumping area for all of the things you don’t know what to do with! Clean them out so that potential buyers can open the doors, walk around and see all the way to the corners. If you have to store some items in your garage or basement, they need to be boxed and stacked neatly with plenty of room for a buyer to see what the foundation looks like.

Litter Boxes and Kennels—Pet areas must be cleaned every day and before every showing. Beautiful homes are not considered if it appears that the pets have destroyed the home. If there is an odor, sellers assume it will not go away simply by removing the pet. They assume that the smells have permeated the floors and walls. If possible, let your pet stay with a trusted friend during the duration of the sale of your home.

Light fixtures and Vents—Look up! Sellers often spend hours on their hands and knees scrubbing the corners and sweeping the floors but forget to look up toward the ceilings.
Dirty ceiling fans and light fixtures are commonly overlooked by sellers but not buyers. They turn on that fan you haven’t touched in six months and all of the dust and dirt is suddenly airborne. Remove the glass from every light fixture and clean off the grime. Wipe down every blade on every ceiling fan. Vacuum the top of every curtain and drape. Check every corner for cobwebs. Remove every vent whether bathroom or air return and wash in mild soapy water to remove the dust.

So, if your home is not selling it’s time to get going. Take another look around your home from a buyer’s point of view and let’s get cleaning.