Joseph D. Federico's Blog
One of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market is keeping it clean, organized, and ready for the next showing!
This is no easy task, especially if you have pets, messy kids, and/or a hectic schedule. If you're like most people, you're probably contending with all three conditions!
Although it's human nature to get immersed in our own view of the world, it's helpful to try and see things through the eyes of prospective home buyers. When buyers walk into your house for the first time, they're not going to immediately know about all the improvements you've made to your property or the many ways your home has served your family's needs for all these years. They're not aware of the "big picture" and may never be. They only know what they see, hear, and smell during their brief visit to your home.
Anything which makes a negative impression can sour them on the idea of buying your house. It's a delicate balance and it doesn't take that much to tip the scales in either direction. That's why it's so important for sellers to get into a routine of keeping their house clean, orderly, and well maintained.
It's amazing what a difference 24-hours (or less) can make on the appearance and cleanliness of your home. Rest assured, if you've said or thought the words, "But I just cleaned it, yesterday!" -- you're not alone! Cleaning your house when it's on the market is a lot like shaving: It doesn't take too long for that "five o'clock shadow" to start creeping in!
Reminding everyone in your family to clean up after themselves is the first step to being ready, but it also pays to have a checklist to refer to when preparing for a real estate showing. If you don't use a task list, chances are you'll forget something important -- like wiping off the kitchen counter, sanitizing the toilets, putting away dirty dishes, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Floors almost always require a quick sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, and waste baskets need to be emptied. Crumpled towels, bath mats, and bedspreads may also be in desperate need of straightening and smoothing out! If you own pets that tend to have "accidents" or kids who haven't quite mastered the art of cleaning up after themselves, you might also want to allow a few extra minutes in your routine to take care of the "unexpected."
While it's true that you want your house to have a "lived in" appearance, it's all-too-easy to cross that thin line into a whole different category! No reasonable house hunter will expect your home to be spotless and perfect in every way, but if it looks messy, disheveled, or neglected, then that could be a potential deal breaker!
Moving into a new home can often be a frantic, exhausting task. Matters are made worse if the house you are moving into wasn’t cleaned thoroughly after the previous movers left.
However, the best time to clean a house is before you move in. This is due to the fact that cleaning shelves is easier before they’ve been filled, and vacuuming carpets is simpler if the house doesn’t yet have any furniture.
So, in this article we’re going to show you the best way to clean your new home before you move in to avoid having to move objects around once you’ve brought them inside.
Before moving day
The idea moment to clean your new home is before the moving truck arrives. If possible, pick a day after the previous owners have moved out that is close to your move-in date. Bring all of your cleaning supplies with you, including cloths, towels, a duster, vacuum, hardwood floor polish, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and so on.
It might be tempting to just start scrubbing as soon as you’re inside, but first take a moment to walk through the house and make a list of all the cleaning tasks you would like to accomplish before moving in.
Not only will your list help you determine how long you’ll need to clean, but it will also give some organization to your day and keep you on track.
On or after moving day
You don’t always have the luxury of being able to clean your new home beforehand. If you’re moving across states or are on a tight move-in/move-out schedule, you might have to clean your house as you move in.
In this case, the best solution is to organize your boxes and furniture by room. Then, when moving them inside, put them in the corner of a room in a neat pile. This will leave access to most of the room so that you can clean before putting things away.
Make sure you and your family are on the same page in terms of organizing items on moving day. If you have family members who start unpacking boxes, let them know they could be more helpful by picking up a duster or cleaning some windows rather than putting items in their future places.
Room by room cleaning
There are some rooms in your house that require special attention. Let’s start with the kitchen.
When it comes to cleaning your appliances (refrigerator, oven, microwave, etc.), it’s a good idea to spray on some degreaser or baking soda/vinegar solutions in advance to let them soak and loosen up any debris before you start scrubbing them. Soaking them all at once will help you save time cleaning.
The bathroom poses a challenge when moving in for two reasons. Since bathrooms tend to be small and crowded, it can be hard to work inside of them if there are boxes in the way. To avoid this, stack all of your bathroom items outside in the hallway or in the bathroom closet while you clean.
- Scrub grout in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Wash pillow and mattress protectors as well as duvet covers.
- Discard any food in the freezer that has become freezer burnt or is past its time.
- Wax any wood floors your home may have.
- Dust fans you have throughout your home. Don’t forget to do this in the winter when they are not in use to avoid build-up.
- Wipe down and disinfect light switch plates and door knobs.
- Wipe down and disinfect your home phones and your family’s cell phones.
- Flush drains. Try a natural solution by pouring baking soda down drains and allowing to sit overnight to deodorize. In the morning pour hot water down the drain to rinse the baking soda out and flush the drain.
- Wipe down walls, doors and baseboards.
- Check the fire alarms throughout your home and replace any batteries when necessary.
- Dust each room in your home.
- Empty all trash bins throughout your home. Don’t forget smaller, less used baskets like in your child’s room or in the office.
- Clean sinks, toilets, and bath of any soap scum or buildup.
- Vacuum and mop the floors throughout your home.
- Wipe down surfaces like tables and counters.
- Clean mirrors and windows.
- Wash sheets and pillowcases.
- Sort through your mail and email inbox. Pay any upcoming bill and file paperwork as necessary.
- Clean fridge out of any food that has gone past its expiration.
- Wipe down appliances in the kitchen such as the microwave, stove, and toaster.
- Wipe down and deodorize trashcans and recycling bins.
- Put out fresh towels in your bathrooms and kitchen
- Tidy up. Keep on top of clutter by putting items away when they are no longer in use.
- Make the beds and if your children are old enough encourage them to make theirs.
- Sort out mail. File and discard as necessary.
- Clean up as you prepare meals to leave time to relax after dinner time instead of spending another hour in the kitchen.
- Wipe up any spills as they happen to avoid having to use elbow grease to clean up later.
- Sweep the kitchen floor and any other high traffic areas.
- Throw in a load of laundry. If you have a large family make laundry more manageable by doing a load a day.