Home selling tip of the day: “I can sell anything but dirty”

Home selling tip of the day: “I can sell anything but dirty”

When it comes time to sell a house, there are a lot of things sellers just don’t want to do. Some of them I get. Spending a bunch of money on updating floors and appliances for a house you are leaving can be a tough pill to swallow. The same can be said for spending on staging services, or landscaping, or even painting. Most don’t want to pay the buyers closing costs…and I get that too, you are supposed to be selling something…which by definition means getting money in return for what you are selling. Giving money for something is buying. Even though they typically don’t want to, most home sellers realize that their Realtor isn’t just trying to get them to throw money in the wind… we are doing our job and pointing out what it takes to sell a home.

The one that doesn’t compute to me….and it happens way more than you would think, is the remarkable number of sellers who will not give an empty house a good cleaning.

People looking at houses see dirt even more than structural defects. Sound crazy? It does to me to, but its true. I can’t tell you how many times I have pointed out something like settling cracks in the walls or foundation only to have the potential buyer make a comment about dirty or streaked windows. One would think that a home buyer would see past that as an easy and cheap fix, but they don’t. They see the things they judge their friends and neighbors on… filth.

Now that I have gotten my ranting out of the way, lets flip this into a positive article and go over some of the most common things that need cleaned that buyers see.

When preparing a house for sale, here are the top 8 things you should clean thoroughly.

  • The walkway and driveway. This is literally the first thing people notice as they get out of the car. The only thing prior to it at all is the landscaping, but they normally look at it as they pull up. Once they get out of the car, they look at the path they are going to follow to the front door. So if you have a big oil stain in the drive, get out the “stay dry” and the scouring powder and get to work. Be sure to sweep any debris away too. Power wash the whole thing after. You will be surprised at the result.
  • The front door, and frame. When we get to the front door, the potential buyer is going to have to stand at the front door for a minute while the showing agent gets the key out of the box and opens the door. They will notice every single blemish on the front door. Wipe it down thoroughly. If it doesn’t come clean, repaint it. It matters.
  • The carpet and wood/tile floors. Most sellers assume that if the carpet or other flooring isn’t very worn that it is fine. NO. If its carpet, spend the $50 to rent a cleaner and do the whole thing twice. For wood or tile, mop it until it shines and then wax as appropriate to the material.
  • Walls and baseboards. Again, small smudges stand out. Especially in an empty home. Clean them. If they don’t come clean, paint. Wipe down the baseboards even if you don’t think they need it. When the dust you don’t see comes off you will be amazed at how much nicer the room looks.
  • Windows. As the buyer moves through the house, they are going to be checking out the view from each and every room. That view does not look better through dingy and streaked glass.
  • Window sills and blinds. In far too many homes for sale this is the land of dead bugs, dust and cobwebs. do you think that the buyer isn’t going to notice when they are seeing how easily they can spy on their neighbors from that window?
  • Bathroom and Kitchen. I put these two together because home buyers hold them to the same standard. They should be spotless. Like new. Extra effort should be made to clean behind every cabinet, nook and cranny. Also make effort to remedy smells. Both rooms have water and where water is, the air gets musty.
  • Ceiling fans. The most common thing that buyers point out…even though they will likely never clean them once they move in, is how disgusting the blades on the ceiling fan are. All it takes is a damp cloth to fix it and no one will notice that you did…but they will notice if you do not.

I cannot promise you that your home will sell tomorrow or for top dollar if you do these things. There are to many other variables for that to be true.

What I can promise is that if you do not do these things, it will take longer for your home to sell and you will sell it for less money.

So do yourself a favor, spend a few days deep cleaning before you put your home on the market. It will help the house get sold, and it is by far the cheapest way to do that.

While you are doing yourself favors, do another and call Robb at 317-657-8059 to set up a home sellers consultation. Its free and I will do everything I can to help you get your home sold. You can also email Robb@YOURRealtyLink.com or use my handy web form to schedule an appointment.

If you are thinking about selling your home, or if you would just like to know what your home may bring on the open market; fill out the form below and request a CMA on your home.
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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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