How to Prepare Your House for Sale

Want to know the best way to get top dollar for your home without spending a fortune on upgrades? Roll up your sleeves and get cleaning!

First impressions can make a huge difference for potential buyers looking at your house, so make sure that the lasting impression they get is a good one. A clean house gives the impression of being well-maintained, and just a bit of hard work – and relatively small cost – can really help give your home the ‘wow’ factor when it hits the market.

The first step is to start de-cluttering. Get rid of any unnecessary items around the house – too much ‘stuff’ can make your rooms look smaller and less tidy. Have a garage sale, donate to charity or pack things away and put it into storage – this will also make moving much easier when the time comes! It may be a good idea to start packing up some of your personal items – such as photos and items you rarely use – so buyers are better able to visualise their own items in the space.

For everything you do use regularly, find a tidy place out of obvious view and keep everything organised. Don’t just shove everything into a closet, as a serious buyer will be looking in every nook and cranny!

You may also want to take this opportunity to make any visible small repairs – such as fixing cracks, replacing broken door knobs, or re-caulking in the bathroom – as any obvious flaws may make the buyer think that bigger problems may be lurking.

Outside, spruce up your yard by ensuring your lawn stays mowed, your gardens are free of weeds, and everything generally looks tidy – especially as many potential buyers will do a ‘drive by’ first to see if they’re interested enough to see the inside. If you have a pet, make sure you keep cleaning up after their mess.  Pressure washing the outside of your home as well as any paved areas will also improve the overall look of your property.

Before your sales agent comes to take photos, take the time to do your Really Big Clean inside. Let’s be honest, this is probably going to be a large job for the average person, but on the plus side, once you do this initial deep clean, not only will you have photographic evidence of how clean your house is, but it will also be much easier to maintain while it’s on the market.

In every room, check that your floors are looking their best (polish those floorboards or get your carpets cleaned), and the walls and skirting boards are free of scuffs and dirty patches. Don’t forget to wipe the fingerprints and dust from your light switches and power points! Clean your ceiling fans, vents and light-fittings, and ensure your ceilings are free from cobwebs and signs of mould. Windows – including tracks and sills – should be given a good shine inside and out. Keep your surfaces such as desks and bookshelves as free of dust and clutter as possible – not everyone appreciates your organised chaos!

In the kitchen, make sure all of your appliances – especially the ones staying in the house like the stove/oven – shine. Absolutely no cooked-on food bits! The counter tops should be thoroughly clean and clutter-free, and your cabinet doors and knobs should be free of grubby fingerprints. Make sure the sink and surrounding areas are sparkly clean, and that there are no whiffy smells coming from the drain.

The bathroom also needs to be given a very thorough clean. Make sure there’s no sign of mould anywhere – it may be worth regrouting the tiles if they’re still looking especially un-fresh after a good scrub. The shower, sink and toilet should be clean and free of any stains or smells. Keep all of your personal items – such as toothbrushes, toiletries and towels – out of sight during inspections, or ensure they’re always looking tidy.

In the bedroom, keep the beds made with clean, fresh-smelling sheets, and ensure all of your clothes are put away neatly, with no bulging closets or drawers. Again, it may be worth doing a thorough sort through your belongings and put any items you don’t regularly wear into storage or donate them to charity.

Now that your house is looking amazing, give yourself a big pat on the back and enjoy your clean surroundings! Your house is now ready to hit the market, and prospective buyers will certainly appreciate all your hard work.

If you don’t have the time or interest to do the cleaning yourself, hire a professional cleaner to do the hard stuff. Even with spending some cash on a cleaner, you’re still going to reap the benefits by attracting better buyers and potentially a higher sale price for your property. Most experts agree that dollar for dollar, a good deep clean is one of the best expenditures you can make on your property pre-market – and no buyer has ever complained that their new home is too clean.