Path to the Sold Sign: Cleaning Tips Checklist for Home Sellers

April 3, 2018

When selling a home, it is important for homeowners to showcase their property's best features, thus impressing potential buyers. One of the best ways to truly impress home buyers when they walk through the door is with a properly staged home. One often-overlooked factor of home staging is maintaining a stunningly clean, fresh-smelling home. These cleaning tips help home sellers get everything ship-shape before the first showing.


Deciding how to remove excess items can be difficult for sellers to determine, simply because the definition of clutter is so subjective. As a general rule, buyers prefer to see a beautiful home that is easy to imagine as their own. Clean, spacious rooms are the primary goal. Sellers should clear out anything that might look messy, and limit the amount of decorations that focus on their families. When in doubt, people should keep in mind that less is usually better than more.


A home’s windows have a way of brightening up the space, inside and out. Clean, sparkling windows with well-kept window treatments create an air of deep care for any buyer who enters the driveway. Windows should be sprayed clean and then wiped periodically on both sides to remove dirt or spots. Drapes may be easy to vacuum or take down for washing. Blinds and shades should be wiped or dusted regularly.


As one of the most-used rooms in the home, the cleanliness of the kitchen can send a strong message to future buyers. A spotless kitchen offers a lot of potential, even if it is not particularly large or recently upgraded. Every visible surface should be scrubbed well with the appropriate solutions and wiped down daily to prevent any future accumulation. The insides of cabinets and under the sink also require a thorough clearing and wiping.


The bathroom is another part of the home where buyers expect only the best care. Bathrooms can also be difficult to keep clean, especially over weeks or months of regular showings. Like the kitchen, the bathroom needs every surface perfectly clean and dry for buyers to see. Using the bathroom’s ventilation equipment and wiping down wet surfaces with a dry towel will help to minimize signs of excess moisture.

Furniture and Flooring

Attending to fabrics and carpet, which cannot simply be wiped clean, may call for a different approach. Upholstered chairs and couches can hide crumbs or pet dander around and under the cushions. Vacuuming the furniture helps to eliminate the debris effectively. Carpeting should be shampooed, and then vacuumed daily to remove dust, dirt, and other particles that buyers might see.

Preventing Damage

Of course, it is possible to clean a little too ambitiously. Sellers should take care to avoid damaging any of the surfaces or fixtures in the home with the wrong kinds of cleansers or cleaning materials. Hard flooring like hardwood or tile may need special cleaning solutions to avoid staining the surface. Countertops made of granite and other natural materials might require designated cleaning products to reduce the likelihood of bleaching or scratching. Planning to keep each room generally clean from one day to the next cuts down on the chances of mistakes made in a hurry.

Invisible Cleaning Concerns

Although buyers rely most on their sight to determine if a home is properly clean, they use other senses to get a feel for the space, as well. Odors, however faint, may make a buyer think that a home has issues hiding beneath the surface. Sellers should ask an objective party, such as their real estate agent, to identify odors and make a plan to correct them. The best solution to an odd scent in a room is to remove the cause. People may benefit from looking for long-term solutions to problem odors like pet smells, mildew, or mold.

Cleaning a home is actually an ideal way for sellers to maximize their resale value and gain buyers’ interest quickly. By following these cleaning tips during their preparations, people can simplify the home selling process and exceed buyer expectations from the first day.

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