How to Clean Your House to Sell It

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You're house is on the market, and you want to sell is as quickly as possible. So when your agent calls and tells you that he can show it in an hour, you tell him you'll be ready. As soon as you hang up the phone, you realize the house is a complete disaster. How will you ever get ready in time? Here's how to clean your house to get the sale!

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning Supplies
  • A plan
  • First, when your house is on the market, it's always a good idea to keep it as clean as possible all the time. Anyone who has sold a house knows that's much easier said than done! But if you set aside even 20 minutes a day to pick up and clean, it will make showing much less stressful.

  • Before you ever have your first showing, it's a good idea to start at your driveway with a notebook and pen and pretend that you are a buyer. Write down the things that catch your eye. Use this method to go through the entire house. See what areas of the house really stand out. Make a list of all of them. This list is going to help you when you are in a hurry because you'll know what's most important.

  • Have a cleaning bucket ready all the time. Your bucket should have Windex, Pledge, toilet bowl cleaner, rags, etc. - basically all the general things you use to do your cleaning. When the call comes in, you just have to grab and go.

  • Start cleaning the major things in each room first, and then come back and catch smaller things if you have time. Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so those are good places to start. Make sure that your kitchen counters and sinks shine, wash off all your appliances. Move clutter from counters, etc. As you head to the bathrooms, quickly clean mirrors, toilets, counters, and floors.

  • A perspective buyer will likely pay the most attention to your main living areas and the master bedroom. Additional bedrooms are secondary, so if you are short on time, spend more time in those areas than you do your kids rooms.

  • Perspective buyers may open drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, but they are not as likely to go rummaging through drawers in your bedrooms and bathrooms. If you have to quickly hide things, do it in these drawers. They are also more likely to open top drawers than to bend down to open the bottom. Keep your top drawers the cleanest and hide all that stuff you don't have time to put away at the bottom.

  • As you get to other bedrooms, make sure that all beds are made, floors are swept, and the room is free of clutter. In a kids bedroom, it's okay to throw toys into a laundry basket and then set it neatly in a closet. That's much preferable to having toys all over the floor of the closet or even worse, the room.

  • If you have help from your kids or husband, give them a specific task and ask them to come back to you for their next task as soon as they are done. Your priority list is going to change as you get things done and you want to keep them busy. Save the most important things to do yourself unless you know they will do it to your standards.

  • If your windows are looking a little less than perfect, start with the first windows that people will see. Spend more time on windows at eye level than you do on low or high windows.

  • If your laundry room is full of laundry, you may have to just fill the washer and dryer with dirty clothes until things are done. I've been known to take laundry baskets with me in the car as I leave for a showing!

  • As you get things done, start at your front door and walk into the house. See what you notice first that needs attention and get that done. It's probably the first thing a buyer will see too! Keep doing this until you run out of time.

  • Once the showing is done, look over the house to see what major things you missed. Write those on your list so that you are sure to catch them next time. Call the realtor and ask him/her what they noticed or what comments the perspective buyers had. This can also help you to be better prepared.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try not to panic. You want to use the short time you have as wisely as possible.

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