Most of us think of spring cleaning as going through closets, drawers and storage areas to clear out things we don’t use any longer, as well as giving the interior of the home a really good cleaning. For those looking to sell homes, it’s this and much more!
Just as grandmothers have been doing for centuries, right now is a great time to completely clean your home from top to bottom on the inside. It’s a good time to clean all those little areas that get missed throughout the remainder of the year — lighting fixtures, ornamental work, polish the wooden banister and natural wood moldings, and so on. Tile and wooden floors should be polished; carpets should be professionally cleaned. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service, especially for cleaning all of your windows — inside and out. Don’t forget any needed maintenance and deep cleaning of the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, washer and dryer, as well as the furnace, air conditioner, air ducts, hot water heater, and septic tank (if you have one). Replace any filters with new ones.
Lastly, do clean out those closets, cabinets and storage areas, taking everything you use only occasionally, box these up, and place in an off-site storage unit. You want these areas to look neat, organized and spacey. When potential buyers see “clean and organized”, they subconsciously think “a well maintained home”.
Ensure everything smells great but don’t overdo by spraying air fresheners or placing fresh, cut flowers in the rooms — some people are allergic to these. You also don’t want the house to smell like pine cleaner, bleach or ammonia everywhere either. What you do want is a very clean home that smells clean and fresh, like an ocean breeze. A few well-placed plants (non-flowering) around the home add to this illusion and gives a homey feel.
Go through your home with a notepad, marking anything in each room that needs repair — no matter how small. For any item that will not be going with the home, put it in an off-site storage unit. For everything else, get it repaired. This includes little knicks, scuff marks, too-worn surfaces, dripping faucets, rust, cracks, sticky drawers or cabinet doors, loose door knobs, etc. Ensure after repair that no trace of the repairs are seen. If you have a basement that is not finished, paint the concrete walls white to make it look clean and bigger, painting the cement floor a darker color with cement paint. Make sure the basement is clean.
Update, Update, Update
There are many things you can do to spruce up your home. One of the easiest and most effective is to replace the hardware on all of your cabinets to give a newer, more modern look. Replace door knobs and hardware with a more elegant style throughout the house. Modernize a smaller bedroom by replacing the ceiling light fixture with a modern ceiling fan with a light. Replace faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms with classier fixtures, as well as replacing the toilet seats and shower curtains with something more elegant. Look through your home. What else can you update for a little of nothing in cost?
Potential buyers want space, so you should stage and organize your home to make it look bigger. For instance, if you have a king-size bed in a not-so-large master bedroom, replace it with a full-size bed, storing the king off site. Though you may like knick-knacks all over the counters and table tops with things filling any space on the walls, this “clutter” makes your rooms look smaller. Box it all up for your next home and store off site. Replace with no more than one or two traditional-looking items per wall, counter top, and tabletop. Consider leaving some areas without any décor at all. If you have small children and must live in the home you are selling, keep large canvas boxes for toys in areas where they play. This works well for teen rooms, too. Next, look at the furniture you have in each room, remove about 50 percent of it and put in storage off site.
Finally, replace any window coverings, bedding and/or throw pillows that look too fussy with more traditional ones. You may wish to consider hiring a staging professional to do all of this for you, or visit an upscale furniture store or browse through some luxury home magazines for ideas.
Do another walk-through of your home from a potential buyer’s perspective. Are there a lot of personal mementos? Remove all of these and store. You want the home to appear as impersonal as possible. It’s difficult to see a home as your own, when someone else has personal items in it. You want them to be able to make an emotional connection with your home.
Neutrals and No “Out There” Décor or Furniture
Last, paint all of the walls in a neutral color, even if you just painted last year. Though dramatic colors may be your color style, they can turn off a potential buyer. If your carpet is anything other than a solid neutral, you may wish to consider replacing it to make selling the home easier and faster. The last thing new homeowners want to do is to replace the carpet. So, if yours is, for instance, teal green swirls on a light sea green background, you will lose sales to someone who loves colors that clash with your carpet. There is always another home for sale that will have the neutral colored carpet they desire for the same money you are asking. Likewise, if you have any eclectic or non-traditional furniture or décor, remove it. You can sell the home faster even if you have to rent traditional furniture — and by traditional, I mean furniture and décor that you might find in any other home in the area.
You can see that spring cleaning for home sellers can make the difference between putting a “for sale” sign in your yard and actually selling your home!
Next post, I will cover spring cleaning for the exterior of your home.
And don’t forget, call South Florida Home Inspection Associates for all your home inspection needs.