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You think you know how to clean house, but you have no idea. If you’re putting your house on the market soon, you’re going to need more than a duster and a bottle of Clorox to get the job done.

When your home is up for sale the chief goal is to make it as attractive to customers as possible. The most efficient way to achieve this is to clean it yourself one step at a time. Now get ready, this kind of cleaning isn’t for the faint of heart. It’ll take some time – and quite a bit of elbow grease – but in the end your home will be ready to list and dressed to impress any buyer.

Throw away the clutter

First impressions are of crucial importance. When a buyer enters a house overcrowded with its previous owner’s possessions this may create the illusion the estate is not spacious enough. So make sure you go through all the rooms in your house, including the garage and attic.

What counts as clutter?

First of all, throw away everything you do not intend to use in the future – it’s time to make some tough decisions. In case some of your old possessions are still good to use, make sure you donate them or sell them.

Second, put away anything that’s unnecessary. That means pictures, nick-knacks, any personal items like paperwork or mementos, and maybe even unnecessary furniture like end tables or desks that aren’t needed and just take up space. Yes, entire pieces of furniture can be clutter.

Think of your house as a model home and keep getting rid of or putting away clutter until your home looks like one. A tidy, uncluttered home creates the impression of spaciousness and even if your home isn’t that big, your buyers never need to know. Less is more.

Get down and dirty

Now that you are rid of the useless clutter, you can proceed to deep clean your house. Start by removing mildew and mold – usually they are most problematic in the bathrooms and can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. 

Pay close attention to the gaps between the tiles – because potential buyers will. Then continue by cleaning the shower curtains and the showerheads. Once you’ve finished with the bathrooms, proceed by vacuum clean carpets, curtains and furniture. You might consider renting a steam cleaner as well to get out not just dust but dirt as well. Don’t forget to wipe the windows and the glass doors of the cabinets as well. If this seems a lot of work, you can always leave the hard work to the professionals like CarpetCleaners Camden Town.

Clean or repaint the walls

Yes, part of the cleaning process could be painting. If your walls are covered in stains, repainting them is the best policy. However, first you can try to clean off the stains if that’s possible. Most stains are water-soluble so you can try using all-purpose non-abrasive cleaner.

You should test the solution in a less conspicuous area to make sure the paint itself doesn’t come off. In case the stains prove impossible to be removed, repaint the wall. Think of more toned-down, neutral colors – they create the impression of more space.

Repair and fix

Yes, part of cleaning is fixing – at least the little things. Everything that’s broken needs to be repaired or if that’s impossible, replaced. Make sure there are no cracked mirrors in the bathrooms, frayed or torn carpets or curtains, chipped tiles or broken doorknobs. Needless to say, if there are any holes in the walls they need to be filled before you repaint. 

Bare in mind most of those common repairs are inexpensive and easy to cope with – in the long run repairing them will actually save you money. If you leave them the way they are, you could turn off potential buyers or end up paying more for the repairs while negotiating during closing.

Choose the right smell

Once you’re done with cleaning and repairing the house, you can proceed to add a little something extra that will leave your buyers with a good impression – we’re talking smell.

Cooking smelly foods like meat or anything with garlic can linger in your kitchen for days. That’s why it would be best to avoid using the kitchen for two or three days prior to your buyer’s visit. If you’re a smoker or have pets, it will take some more work to clear the smell.

Here’s what you do: Fill up several bowls with vinegar and place them around the house for three days – then open the windows to air the rooms and we promise you the vinegar will take the stale smell out with it. Afterwards you can place plants and vases of blooming flowers in around the house or apartment -they smell lush and in addition will bring life and color to your rooms.

This guest post was written by Kathleen Crane. Kathleen is interested in topics related to home improvement and frugal living. She has a lot of experience in the field of home management and care.