Spring Cleaning

openhouse

The doldrums of winter have nearly passed, and straight ahead lurks the chaos of spring real estate. What passed for clean back in January simply won’t work as open house season approaches, so let’s take a closer look at the dusty corners, the filthy hardwood, and the tumbleweeds of discarded pet hair.

 

Less Stuff

If your spring cleaning is also in preparation of putting your home on the market, a storage unit might be in store. As HGTV points out, decluttering to show off the house often means just getting your stuff out of there. If you’ve decided you can finally part with some of that stuff, though, you could become one of the estimated 165,000 people who host a garage sale every week.

Exteriors Matter

You might be used to that old fence never quite closing, or maybe you’re still in winter mindset and have been ignoring those filthy gutters and streaked windows. When staging your house, though, the outside is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, and it’s important that it strikes a good first impression.

In addition to giving the yard a good mowing, the mailbox is an oft-ignored landmark of the front yard. When buyers pull up to an open house, a decrepit and pitiful mailbox is not what they want to see.

On that same note, make sure that your address numbers are clean and visible. No one wants to feel like they’re heading into a squatter’s home during an open house. A new welcome mat never hurt, either.

Elbow Grease

Inside, everything must find a home. Open up those windows to let in some fresh air, hunt down offending odors, and be sure to clean even things that may not look dirty such as drapes, curtains, and hardwood floors. In some cases, you may have forgotten just how pristine and shiny they can look.

Dust the spots that are hard to reach, even if they’re out of sight. Sometimes you can just feel that a place is dusty, even if you can’t quite spot the dust, and a feeling of dustiness is certainly not a quality you want in your open house. Don’t be afraid to wipe down the walls, too; you never know what kinds of mess they’ve been hanging on to.

The biggest challenge of a deep-clean is normally the bathroom. Be sure to let stubborn grime soak before really scrubbing it, and don’t ignore the dirt-trapping qualities of grout.

Staging

Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it’s ready to woo homebuyers. Take care to remove your personality from the house as much as possible without making it look like an empty tomb. Re-arrange furniture so as to make the rooms appear bigger. Clutter is the enemy here, and making decorations accentuate the space rather than detract from it is the name of the game.

Some Changes

Okay, you got everything clean. It looks better than it’s ever looked, and while you’re cracking jokes about maybe we’ll just stay after all, you start to think that things could use an update in addition to being really, really clean.

Chances are that, if you have a home built sometime between 1950 and 1990, you’re still sporting popcorn ceilings. A housing feature that’s thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs, modern homebuyers tend to avoid its dated appearance. Though doing anything to your ceiling can quickly turn into a home makeover nightmare, you’ll be glad in the end that you took the time – especially if it locks in those buyers.

A new coat of paint, be it to finally cover up the hideous purple of the guest bedroom or to brighten up a claustrophobic bathroom, always does wonders to transform a space. Neutral colors give the greatest mileage here and are the least likely to make homebuyers turn their noses up in disgust.

A Starting Point

It’s a start, but if your ultimate goal is to sell your home, you may still have a long road ahead of you. Look on the bright side, though – at least the weather’s finally warming up! For a more intensive itinerary to follow, look no further than Oprah. Happy cleaning!

Have any cleaning tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

 

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