10 Spots to Clean for a Spring Sale
By Tori Toth
Spring cleaning isn’t just an annual ritual among house-proud homeowners looking to rid their space from the traces of Old Man Winter, it’s also a crucial step in preparing a home for the selling season. While there’s no quick way to thoroughly deep clean your home, following these simple tips and taking a few small steps to regularly tidy up your space will help make spring cleaning a cinch.
Buyers are looking for clean spaces. Finding a home that is clean and looks like new, regardless of when it was built, goes a long way to helping them justify the large down payment they could soon be withdrawing from their bank account. While there are many daily and weekly cleaning tasks you should be completing on a regular basis, you can tackle these ten spring cleaning tips today to help get your home sold tomorrow. Let’s start at the curb and work our way to the interior.
1. Unclog Gutters.
Gutters have the very important job of draining water away from your home, but many times this system is abused and neglected throughout the seasons and leaves are left to collect and clog the downspout. If the first snow fell before you were able to collect the leaves out of your gutter now is a good time to unclog them. Left alone you could be doing some major damage to the structure of your home. Schedule some time or hire a professional to get the job done.
2. Power Washing.
This is one of the easiest ways to make your home instantly look years younger.
Exterior surfaces of your home are constantly exposed to harmful elements such as rain, dirt, and grime that cause surfaces to degrade, discolor, or oxidize over time. Power washing removes mold, mildew, cobwebs even tree sap on siding, cement, patios and so much more. A word of caution: be very careful when using a power washer as the pressure could peel paint. If you aren’t experienced using a power washer you may want to hire a professional, but you can certainly purchase or rent this equipment from your local hardware store if you feel comfortable doing so.
3. Declutter Garage/Shed.
If you have a garage or shed, cleaning them is most likely an afterthought. These areas are often used as a catch all for items no longer used often as well. If you have a garage or shed where you can barely find the floor let alone that tool you’re looking for dedicate some time this spring before you put your home on the market to declutter this space. Have a garage sale, trash or recycle your clothes and electronics or donate items you no longer use. When putting back the belongings you want to keep, group them together by like items. Garages and sheds contain valuable square footage that buyers want to see as space that will actually be functional for them to use.
It goes without saying Old Man Winter can take a toll on your plant beds, shrubs and grass. Schedule some time to remove any dead plants, leaves and other debris that may have built up on your front lawn. Add some colorful flowers that are in season, mulch and replenish grass, then sit back and watch your hard work take on a life of it’s own.
5. Update Front Door.
The front door provides main access to your home and is important when welcoming guests or buyers into your space. This area shouldn’t be rundown, instead it should have personality that invites house hunters inside. Make sure to touch up paint or stain on your front door, wash storm doors and replace the screen if needed. Clean out the front porch light fixtures, number plate and sweep the walkway. Finish off by adding a new welcome mat, potted plants and a seasonal wreath.
It’s imperative that the windows be washed on both the inside and out. Start on the outside by hand washing or using a spray cleaner that connects to your hose to spray on then wash away. On the inside wash curtains and blinds, then wipe down the window casing, glass and sills. By cleaning the windows you will easily add double the light in your home.
7. Lighting Fixtures.
While you should clean light fixtures more than once a year, use this reminder to take apart each fixture and clean the individual pieces separately, rather than quickly dusting over them. Make sure to wash them with soap and water, especially ceiling fans that can circulate dust. Also, remove insects and don’t forget to wipe off or replace light bulbs too.
A home’s closets can hide lots of items –out of sight out of mind, right? Wrong, like a garage or shed, closets are valuable square footage inside your home and buyers are going to want to know they have plenty of room to store their own stuff. Schedule a time to go through each closet of your home. Plan to box up items you won’t need over the next few months and store them in your garage, basement or off-site. The fewer items you have in your closet, the more space you can show off to buyers.
Appliances in a home go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the year, take this time to assess your appliances, make sure they don’t need maintenance. Wash the tops of them, inside and outside of the appliances, along with behind and underneath where possible. Many times the home’s appliances are apart of or added to the selling contract, so leave your appliances in tip-top shape to get the most value for them.
10. Changing Décor.
As the seasons change so should a home’s décor. This spring remove darker colors, objects, photos and artwork that remind you of the winter months. Replace with lighter colors, like pale blue or green, lilac, even a dusty rose. Use wicker baskets, flowers like cherry blossoms or tulips, sunburst mirrors and accessories like teapots, birds or butterflies to display on your shelves. Think light and airy, to inspire your spring décor and welcome the season and buyers into your home.
Tori Toth is a Certified Home Staging Expert, Regional Vice President for Real Estate Staging Association and owner of Stylish Stagers, Inc. She has been interviewed on CNN Money and was named a Professional Stager of the Year Finalist in 2012. Learn more about Tori and her Stage 2 Sell Strategy at www.toritoth.com