Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Jesse Peralta
The U.S. housing market has recovered from the 2008-09 housing market crash considerably. As lower-than-expected interest rates make home ownership more affordable, economists say the U.S. housing market is on track for a stronger 2019 than originally forecast. They now expect U.S. home prices to rise by nearly 3 percent, an increase from the previous forecast of 2.2 percent. So, if you have been thinking of selling your house, now may be the time to act.
Deep cleaning is key to a good first impression
Before selling, however, you need to stage your house to land a higher offer and move the property off the market quickly. A deep cleaning is a part of the staging process that will impress potential buyers with the stunning exterior and interior of your property.
Although you can hire professional cleaners to scrub your place from top to bottom, that is an expensive option. Doing it yourself can actually be fun if you can spare the time, especially if you have family or friends to help out.
As long as you know what you are doing, deep cleaning your home yourself is a great option. Here are five tips to help you deep clean your house, making it more desirable to prospective buyers.
1. Start with fresh curb appeal
The first thing any buyer is going to notice is the curb appeal. If they like the exterior of your house, they are more likely to step in to check out the interior. It's the first encounter, so make it count.
Start by power washing your siding, walkways, front windows, gutters, porch, and driveway.
Once you have cleaned the exterior surfaces, plant blooming flowers, repaint or clean your house number and door, mow the lawn and add fresh sod if necessary, and stain the porch floor. Make sure to weed, mulch, and trim your existing back trees, plants, and bushes, especially if you haven't been giving them regular attention.
Once the outside looks clean enough, take a photo that will go on the cover of your brochure, advertisement, and real estate listings.
2. Cover every corner of the kitchen
The next most important area in your house is the kitchen. Start by scrubbing the tiles and countertops and vacuuming the corners. You can use a buffer and steel wool to remove small scratches and dents from the countertops. Buyers also tend to open the dishwasher, so never leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher or the sink while your house is on the market.
Go through your displayed cutlery and pots to identify and wash stains and blemishes. Be sure to polish them along with chrome fixtures and any other polishable hardware. Wipe down all the cabinets inside out.
Also, clean the home appliances regularly during staging. Place small kitchen appliances in the cabinets. Arrange your spices in alphabetical order. Don't leave anything on the countertops except perhaps a cookbook or a vase with fresh flowers.
3. Make your bathrooms shine
Bathrooms and toilets will perhaps be the second most scrutinized areas inside your house after the kitchen. Scrub the bathroom floors, clean the toilets, and wipe down the tiles, windows, shower curtains, and mirrors in these rooms. Make sure to wash all the corners, surfaces, and fixtures, including the bathtub, doors, cabinets, and taps in your bathroom. Polish the hardware and bathroom fixtures.
If required, give your bathroom a budget facelift. You can do this by making minor changes such as replacing old door knobs, rails, frayed carpets, old toilet seat covers, chipped mirrors or light fixtures. Don't stack up toilet paper or towels because this conveys that your bathroom does not have a lot of storage space. Don't stuff your cabinets. Keep one-third of the cabinet space empty to create better storage appeal.
4. Clean and repair your fireplace and chimney
Your chimney and the fireplace also deserve a deep clean. A chimney, especially with a wood burning fireplace, may lead to a smelly interior. It also leads to creosote buildup on the inner walls of the chimney. Creosote is an oily black substance which is the byproduct of wood burning fires. Flammable organic debris such as wooden sticks and dried leaves can accumulate in the chimney due to weather conditions or animal activity.
While you may have cleaned your chimney the previous fall, you will need to wipe it down before putting your house on the market. You don't want potential buyers to see spider webs, vermin deposits, soot buildup, and dry debris in the chimney. Though you can clean it yourself, this particular job is best left to chimney professionals as it is a risky and challenging task for a novice. If required, you should also repair the damaged parts of the chimney.
5. Eradicate odors
You may not realize it, but your house may give off strong odors. It may be your pets, cooking habits (in-house barbeques and grills), or simply a lack of deep cleaning in the past. Avoid using air fresheners, as they may suggest you are trying to hide something. Instead, after the deep cleaning process, open the windows and doors to let the odor fade away.
In the kitchen, keep spices and other strong-smelling items in airtight containers. Avoid cooking food with strong smells, such as bacon, eggs, and onions, during the staging. Clean the dirt-prone areas in your house, such as doorways, back closets, and hard-to-reach corners. Take the garbage out regularly to avoid its lingering smell. Replace the carpets or get them cleaned professionally if they stink. Relocate pet care areas, litter boxes, and dirty-diaper containers.
Jesse Peralta is the founder of Chimcare, a family owned business in the Pacific Northwest engaged in chimney services. The team is composed of professionals in the field, offering expert advice pertaining to Seattle chimney sweeps. Also, they have extensive knowledge and expertise in managing chimney services including cleaning, repairing, other masonry services and much more.