How to Keep Your Home Clean and Decluttered as You Try to Sell It
Selling your home while you are still living in it is a big challenge. This is especially true if both you and your spouse have incredibly busy work schedules and you're not able to keep it as clean and decluttered as you'd like and ready for a showing at a moment's notice.
As much as you want to have your house as clean and staged as possible, blogger Brian Klems suggests that you acknowledge that it isn't going to be perfect. There might still be an empty soda can left on the coffee table as you scurry out of the house before your realtor can walk a potential buyer through it. Still, no matter how busy you are or how inattentive to cleanliness your children might be, if you're trying to get the most out of your house, it always needs to be clean, decluttered, and staged. Here are just a few ways to do that.
Walk Through Your House as if You're Potential Buyer
When you're ready to sell your house, walk through each room and pretend you're a potential buyer. Where does it need to be cleaned? What clutter needs to be cleared away? Make a list of what needs to be done in each room, then, as Dave Ramsey puts it, don't just make the rooms tidy. Pretend you're doing a "spring cleaning on steroids" to where you make even the "smallest of details shine." If you haven't already done so, now is the perfect time to pick up a bagged vacuum, which can help prevent bothersome allergens and pollutants from escaping into the air. Instead of emptying the contents of the vacuum into a trash can, you simply pop out the sealed bag and replace it with a new one.
Also, either before or after your cleaning, address the clutter in each room as you go, including the closets. If you're not sure whether you want to keep an item, place it in a plastic tote you can go through later. Not only will removing the clutter help make your home appear cleaner, but you'll also have less stuff to pack when you move.
Walk through the house once more before you need to leave it for a showing, again thinking like a potential buyer. That way you can straighten and spot clean as you go.
Inspect Your Exterior the Same Way
Without a doubt, your realtor has told you how necessary curb appeal is when selling your home. Since "first impressions weigh heavily" in a competitive real estate market, according to Reagan Greer at Forbes, you need to ensure the exterior of your home is as clean and tidy as the inside. Keep the front and back lawns mowed and trimmed (now's the time to get a good lawnmower if you don't have one), make sure all porch railings are in good shape, clear the gutters of leaves, and clean the windows on all sides.
If you have a garage, it needs to be cleaned and decluttered as well. Remember that potential buyers will want to see every inch of your home during a showing. You don't want to give them a reason not to make an offer on it.
Keep It Clean and Decluttered Until It Sells
It's going to take an effort from everybody in the family, so you should establish some cleaning and decluttering rules once you get your house into shape. For example, after dinner, hand-wash and put away all dishes so they're not in a dish drain or filling the dishwasher. For children, keep all beds made and toys put away. Clean the bathrooms and kitchen once a day, something that will become easier to do each time since those rooms will always be clean. If you don't have one already, purchase a quality vacuum to help make cleaning the floors a breeze.
Even though your family keeps a busy schedule, with some work up front and a daily effort from everybody, you can always keep your house in sellable condition by keeping it showcase-clean and decluttered at all hours.
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