Do a basic cleaning. Nothing will give you a better return on your investment than a little elbow grease. A cleaner house will look more appealing to your realtor when he or she helps you set a price, as well as to the appraiser the bank sends out when you have an offer. Here are some ideas:
Get rid of clutter. Make your house look more spacious by eliminating junky or unnecessary items. Get rid of battered furniture, decaying knick- knacks and piles of paper – or, if you can’t stand to part with anything, throw your stuff in a storage unit until after the house sells. Remember that it’s better to show a somewhat barren house than one that’s filled to the brim with clutter.
Do a deep clean. Once you have more room to work, undertake a thorough housecleaning. Not only should you do usual chores such as mopping or dusting, but focus on rarely-cleaned areas such as baseboards, grout and heating vents. Steam clean your carpets, and wash walls and windows. Wipe down the blinds, and remove any broken screens. Pressure-wash any siding on the outside of your house, as well as the sidewalks and driveways. If you don’t have the time to undertake such a project, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Many of them specialize in residential properties for lease or for sale.
Eliminate odors. A common saying among realtors is, “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it.” Sometimes, people can’t detect how their house smells because their noses are so accustomed to it. If you think your home smells fabulous, have a trusted friend confirm or deny this as soon as they walk in the door. If you keep pets, thoroughly shampoo carpets and furniture, and wash all bedding – you’re not selling the bedding or the furniture, but they’re capable of smelling up the house just the same. If you smoke, do everything you would for pets in addition to washing (and possibly painting over) the walls and ceiling as well as you can.
- When you know your realtor will be showing the house, try to make it smell good by baking something delicious beforehand (which you can put on the counter for your guests) or lighting a candle. If you don’t have candles or time to bake, pour a few drops of vanilla on an empty cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 200-250F. It will make your house smell like warm cookies.