A few weeks ago we kicked off a new series: How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market with an overview of the important factors that home sellers must address if they want to succeed in selling their homes in today’s market:
Rather than tackling these in the above order of priority, we’re going to hit them in chronological order. Therefore, today we’re going to take a closer look at the first thing you should do when you decide you are serious about selling your house: cleaning.
If you really want to sell your house, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just vacuum the floors and dust the shelves. A proper pre-sale cleaning is a thorough deep-clean of the inside and outside.
Here’s a good starting checklist for your pre-sale cleaning:
- Steam-clean the carpets and/or buff/shine the hardwood floors.
- Take everything off the walls and wash them.
- If it’s been more than a few years since the interior has been painted or if you have any walls that are “bold” colors, put on a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color.
- Pressure-wash the roof (use another method if your roof is asphalt shingles).
- Put on a fresh coat of exterior paint or pressure-wash the siding.
- Manicure the landscaping: pull the weeds, mow the lawn, prune the bushes & trees, kill anything growing in your driveway or sidewalks, put down some fresh mulch around the bushes and flowers.
- Clean every window, inside and out.
- Clean out the gutters.
- Thoroughly clean inside and out any appliances that stay (oven, fridge, etc.)
- Take down and wash any light fixtures with dust / dead bug buildup.
- De-clutter and simplify every room.
You can do these things yourself, or hire a professional. Either way you will probably be spending between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, but by presenting a high-quality product you will be reducing the buyer’s ability (and desire) to negotiate a lower price.
Pay special attention to maximizing your “curb appeal” through pre-sale cleaning. The first impression your house makes on the potential buyer will set the mood for their entire viewing. You want a house that says “you would be proud to live here” from the moment they drive up.
It is also impossible to over-stress the importance of de-cluttering. A lot has been made recently of “home staging” to improve a home’s chances of selling. Paying a professional home stager is the easiest way to de-clutter your home, but you can accomplish much of the same results by doing a few simple things on your own:
- Take down all personal decorations: family photos, etc.
- Eliminate any furniture that looks old or “eclectic”
- Sparsely furnish each room, making sure that all furniture and decor fits the overall “feel”
If you’re the DIY type, the best way to prepare the interior of your house may be to go through the house one room at a time and completely empty the room, clean the floors, paint the walls, then “stage” it per the suggestions above.
The end result of a thorough inside and out deep-cleaning will be a house that looks great in pictures, and makes potential buyers say “wow” when they see it in person. If you truly want to get the best price possible for your home, do not put it on the market until you have achieved the “wow factor.”
How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market
- Introduction: How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market
- Deep Clean to Make Your House Shine
- Pricing Your House
- Marketing Your House
- Extras to Sell Your House