Maximize Home Showings

Clean When Your Home is For Sale

 

Executing a deep clean before putting your home on the market will not only help it shine, but it will make tidiness easier to maintain between showings. Here are some power-cleaning tips to try.

1.   Clean windows make a huge difference.
Remove window screens and place them outside on a tarp or other clean, waterproof surface. Use a garden hose, an all-purpose cleaner, and a soft brush to gently clean the screens. You don’t need anything special to polish up window glass; just mix a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water, plus a drop or two of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks. (Washing on a cloudy day also reduces streaking,.)

2.  The fridge is the most common source of kitchen smells.
Check the drip tray underneath your refrigerator and wash out any standing water from defrosting. Scrub the inside of the fridge with a baking soda and water solution. Activated charcoal in the fridge can help keep odors at bay.

3.  Think outside the house.
It’s amazing the difference a sparkling entryway makes to your home’s curb appeal. Wipe down your front door, give the doormat a good shake/vacuum, and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on outdoor furniture. Use a pressure washer to give your driveway and garage floor a good cleaning. The acidity in dark cola drinks can help remove oil, rust, and grease stains, along with a little elbow grease.

4.  Target the Bathroom.
For tile floors, apply your usual cleaner and then run a wet/dry vac, which will suck contaminants out of the grout. Pour a quarter cup each of baking soda and vinegar down the drains, leaving the concoction overnight, then flush with boiling water. Clean soap scum and mildew from plastic shower curtains by tossing them into your washer on the gentle cycle in cold water, with detergent and ½ cup vinegar (if mildew is present, add ½ cup of bleach instead of vinegar). Put a couple of large towels into the machine to act as scrubbers. Allow the curtain to drip-dry on the rod.

5.  Make your bed better.
Vacuum mattresses and box springs, and then rotate and flip over. Do the same for removable furniture cushions. This is also a great time to wash or dry-clean the dust ruffle and mattress pad. Add new loft to a lumpy comforter by having two people vigorously shake the quilt up and down to redistribute stuffing.

6.  Wash the walls.
Grease, smoke, and dust can adhere to walls and make even the best decorating look dingy. Resist the temptation to spot-clean since it will make the rest of the wall look dirtier. Mop walls using a general-purpose cleaner diluted with hot water. Start at the top corner of the wall to avoid drips. Don’t press too hard, and rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. Use melamine foam cleaner to erase scuffs and stains.

NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION of
REALTORS®
REALTOR Magazine® │ RealtorMag.Realtor.org, Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Get Ready for a Home Showing

  • Remove clutter. Clear off counters and pack unnecessary decorative items. Put extra furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season items. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
  • Let it shine. Cleaning windows and screens will help bring more light into your home. Replace burnt bulbs, and consider higher wattage in low-light areas. Clean the walls or brush on a fresh coat of bright, neutral paint. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones and show off your view.
  • Keep it clean. A deep clean before listing your home will make upkeep easier. Consider hiring a cleaning service to help.
  • Maximize comfort. In summer, shut A/C vents on the first floor so more air will get upstairs. Reverse the process in winter.
  • Perform a sniff test. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate odors. Open the windows to air out the house. Consider potpourri or scented candles and diffusers. For quick fixes in the kitchen, cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract or orange juice can instantly make the fridge a nicer-smelling place. Boil lemon juice in your microwave, then add it to your dishwasher to eliminate odors. You can also run lemon rinds through the garbage disposal for a similar effect.
  • Take care of minor repairs. Sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
  • Tidy up outdoors. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. A pot of bright flowers near the entryway adds great curb appeal.
  • Set the scene. A bright afghan or new accent pillows easily jazz up a dull room. Pretty dishes or a simple centerpiece on the tables can help buyers picture themselves living there. Try staging a chess game in progress. If you have a fireplace, lay fresh logs or a basket of flowers there.
  • Make the bath luxurious. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight, along with old towels and toothbrushes. Add a new shower curtain and fancy guest soaps.
  • Send the pets to the neighbors. If that’s not possible, crate or confine them to one room, and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
  • Lock up valuables and medication. Agents can’t watch everyone all the time.
  • Head out. It can be awkward for everyone if you’re home at the time of a showing.

NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION of
REALTORS®
REALTOR Magazine® │ RealtorMag.Realtor.org, Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Attract More Buyers

These tips will help you convince buyers your property offers top value for their dollar.

1.   Amp up curb appeal.
Look at your home objectively from the street. Check the condition of the landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, and house number. Observe how your window treatments look from the outside. Something special—such as big flowerpots or an antique bench—can help your property stand out after a long day of house hunting.

2.  Enrich with color.
Paint is cheap, but it can make a big impression. The shade doesn’t have to be white or beige, but stay away from jarring pinks, oranges, and purples. Soft yellows and pale greens say “welcome,” lead the eye from room to room, and flatter skin tones. Tint ceilings in a lighter shade.

3.  Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms.
These are make-or-break rooms. Make sure they’re squeaky clean and clutter-free, and update the pulls, sinks, and faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool appliance, such as an espresso maker.

4.  Add old-world patina to walls.
Crown molding that’s at least six to nine inches deep and proportional to the room’s size can add great detail on a budget. For ceilings nine feet high or higher, consider dentil detailing, which is comprised of small, tooth-shaped blocks in a repeating ornamentation.

5.  Screen hardwood floors.
Refinishing is costly, messy, and time-consuming, so consider screening instead. This entails a light sanding—not a full stripping of color or polyurethane—then a coat of finish.

6.  Clean out and organize closets.
Remove anything you don’t need or haven’t worn in a while. Closets should only be half-full so buyers can visualize fitting their stuff in.

7.  Update window treatments.
Buyers want light and views, not dated, heavy drapes. To diffuse light and add privacy, consider energy-efficient shades and blinds.

8.  Hire a home inspector.
Do a preemptive strike to find and fix problems before you sell your home. Then you can show receipts to buyers, demonstrating your detailed care for their future home.

NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION of
REALTORS®
REALTOR Magazine® │ RealtorMag.Realtor.org, Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Curb Appeal

1.   Trim bushes and branches so they don’t block windows or architectural details.

2.  Set a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch or front walkway.

3.  Install new, matching locks and knobs on your front door.

4.  Repair any cracks or holes in the driveway, and clean oil spots with degreaser and a steel brush.

5.  Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

6.  Stow your garden tools and hoses out of sight, and clear kids’ toys from the lawn.

7.  Buy a new mailbox.

8.  Upgrade your outdoor lighting.

9.  Purchase a new doormat for outside your front door.

10. Clean your windows, inside and out.

11. Polish or replace your house numbers.

12. Mow your lawn. Also, turning on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing will make
the whole yard sparkle.

13. Place a seasonal wreath on your door.

 

NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION of
REALTORS®
REALTOR Magazine® │ RealtorMag.Realtor.org, Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Jacobs Real Estate Group
Licensed Brokers Oregon
Premiere Property Group, LLC
5000 Meadows Rd. Suite 150
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035