The Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Home To Put On The Market
If you’re putting a house on the market, you’ll want to do everything you can to add value to the home and get the highest price possible. Aside from big expensive projects like renovations, there is one surprising way to add value in the viewers’ eyes: by cleaning the home.
That’s right, simply cleaning the home properly before showing it can increase its value. But a regular home cleaning isn’t enough; we’re talking a thorough deep clean which addresses areas potential home buyers will be checking. Things like closets and even behind and under furniture are fair game when people are deciding if they want to purchase the house. You’ll also need to make sure that not a thing looks out of place.
If that sounds like a daunting task, not to worry. We’ve put together a house cleaning guide for anyone looking to sell a home. Whether you’re a realtor listing a home for your clients or an owner looking to sell privately, these steps will help make sure that the house makes a great impression on potential buyers.
What Your House Cleaning Needs to Accomplish
Showing a sparkling clean home is important because it sends the unspoken message that your home has been well-maintained. In buyers’ eyes, a well-maintained home is likely to require fewer repairs and will come with fewer issues such as pest problems or mold.
Plus, showing a clean home allows buyers to imagine themselves in a new, clean home. No one wants to feel like the house they’ve moved into is full of gross dirt and germs from previous owners. They want a clean, fresh slate, and showing them a clean home before they’ve even bought it is the best way to help them realize that your house could be their dream house.
So, what does showing a clean home mean? Well, it’s more than just vacuuming the floors and wiping the kitchen counters. You’ll need to make sure your home is free from clutter, even in your closets as viewers will look inside them to see if the storage will fit their needs. Everything will need to be put away neatly, and your main rooms should receive extra attention. The kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living room are what viewers will focus on, but you’ll still need to clean other areas such as the laundry room and garage as well.
Equipment and Supplies Required to Deep Clean Your Home for Sale
Every house has its own unique cleaning needs, but the following items are generally required in order to perform a thorough deep clean.
- A quality vacuum cleaner with attachments for carpets and hard floors
- A flat mop or mop and bucket
- A bunch of microfiber cloths
- Long and short handled dusters
- A few scouring pads
- A toilet brush
- A clean bucket
- Rubber gloves for your hands
- Some heavy duty trash bags
- Toilet Cleaner
- Disinfectant cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Carpet Spot Cleaner
- Wood Polish
Your property may also require a few specialty items not included in this list, like granite or stainless-steel cleaners. You’ll need to take a look around to see if you have any special surfaces that could use extra care.
First Declutter Your Home
The first step in cleaning a home to make it show-ready is to remove all forms of clutter. But not so fast! You can’t simply hide these away in your closets this time – potential buyers will definitely want to look in every single closet in the home, so you’ll even want to remove the clutter from them. Make sure everything in your home has a place, and you may even consider removing some items while showing the house.
Removing clutter from your home will not only make the home appear tidier, but it will also make it appear more spacious. If you have nowhere to store these items, you might consider putting them in a basket or trunk and sticking them in the car during show times.
Declutter Open Areas
Go through your home and look for items that fill your spaces. Things like knick-knacks, photos frames, decorations, and even every day items can distract from a space.
Put everyday items away and out of sight in a dresser or other space viewers are unlikely to check. Things like hair and toothbrushes should be hidden away, and even appliances like coffee makers and toasters should be put inside cabinets or removed.
It’s also a good idea to remove items which remind the viewers that someone else is living in the house currently. Sure, you do live there, so a few items are ok. But you may want to remove a few of those family photos and any niche or polarizing decorations.
Make sure you declutter areas such as:
- Dresser tops
There should still be decorations in the house, but they should be kept simple and neutral.
Declutter Storage Areas
In addition to the open areas, you’ll also need to spend a little time decluttering storage areas. Most people have their closets packed pretty full, but that won’t do you any favors when viewers are checking out your house. The problem here is that if your closet is overflowing, it will look like your home does not have enough storage.
Take this as an opportunity to start packing if you need to. Try to make it so that the shelves and hanging racks have items on them, but not many. This will make your storage areas look bigger, indicating to buyers that there is plenty of room for their things.
When decluttering storage areas, make sure you don’t forget any of the following:
- Bedroom closets
- Linen closets
- Hallway closets
- Coat closets
- Kitchen Pantry
- Laundry closets
Cleaning the House, Room by Room
Now that you’ve cleared the clutter out of the way, you’ll need to perform a deep clean in every room of the house. We’ve put together a cleaning checklist so that you can be sure you haven’t overlooked or forgotten anything.
As you clean, keep in mind that you should always clean from the inside of your property out and from top to bottom in each room. This way, you won’t bring dirt into a freshly cleaned area.
- Wash and put away dishes
- Dust light fixtures, range hood, cabinets, and door frames
- Clean the front of all appliances
- Clean drawers and cabinets inside and out
- Clean sink, including drain and plug
- Clean counters, including backsplash, and any tables and chairs
- Remove garbage and replace with clean bag
- Vacuum and mop floor
- Wash and put away towels and bathmats
- Dust light fixtures, above doors, mirrors, and decorations
- Clean the entire toilet, including inside and outside the bowl and under the seat
- Clean behind the toilet
- Scrub soap scum from the tub and shower floors
- Clean any hair out of the drains and off the walls, and clean door tracks
- Make the faucet shine with window cleaner or stainless-steel cleaner
- Clean counters and sink, including the drain
- Clean the mirror
- Vacuum and mop the floor
- Make beds
- Dust light fixtures, nightstands, TV, decorations, curtains, and door frames
- Vacuum and mop the floor (if applicable)
- Dust light fixtures, tables, TV, decorations, curtains, and door frames
- Clean the TV screen
- Vacuum or wipe down all sofas, including beneath the cushions
- Tidy up bookshelves or magazine racks
- Vacuum and mop floor
Other areas of the house should be neat and tidy as well. Clean around any other sinks and your washer and dryer. While vacuuming, get under and around the edges of furniture as much as possible.
Cleaning the House Yourself vs. Hiring a House Cleaning Company
There are lots of costs involved in selling a house, so it’s only natural to want to clean the house yourself if possible, especially if you are currently living in it. It can save you money and even allow you a head start on the packing and moving out process.
However, cleaning a house to make it show-ready takes a great deal of time and effort, both of which you may be short of amidst all the other requirements of selling a home. Hiring a professional cleaner allows you to save that time and effort for other important matters.
Should You Clean Your For-Sale Home on Your Own?
When deciding whether you should clean the house yourself, you should consider the following questions and think carefully about the answers.
- Do you really have enough time to thoroughly clean the home?
- Do you have the cleaning skill required to make the home show-ready?
- Would your time be better spent elsewhere?
- Do you enjoy cleaning?
- Will you rush through the cleaning job and cut corners?
As you answer these questions, keep in mind the high standard that potential buyers will be expecting. Cutting corners on your cleaning job could be the thing that makes someone decline to put an offer on a home they otherwise like.
If you don’t think you have the time, skill, or patience to deep clean your home, it may be well worth your while to hire a cleaning company instead.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Cleaning Company to Clean Your For-Sale Home?
The cost to hire a cleaning company for your for-sale home will depend on several factors. The size of your home, where you are located, and the condition of the home will all influence the price. Some cleaning companies will offer a deep cleaning flat rate based on the number of rooms in your home, while others may charge by the hour.
You should expect to pay between $250-$500 depending on the size and location of your home. If your home is very large or in a high cost of living area, you should budget more than that.
Because you’ll need a deep clean for the home, this is a little more than you would expect to pay for a regular cleaning. However, when buyers see a sparkling clean property that they adore and can imagine living in, you’ll see a generous return on your investment.
Deep cleaning your home before showing it to potential buyers is sure to increase its value. They will see a well-maintained home which should require fewer repairs in the near future. If you don’t have the time or desire to clean your home on your own, you can always hire a professional cleaning company like Cleaning Glow to take the task off your hands.