This article was originally published by the New York Times
Getting your home as clean as possible “is absolutely something of the greatest importance,” said Ginger Brokaw, a senior vice president at Town Residential real estate in Manhattan. “It really does pay off. I’ve seen the response of people walking into a home that hasn’t been cleaned, staged, or prepared for showings, and one that has.” The difference, she added, is “night and day.”
A little effort goes a long way
Nevertheless, she said, she has worked with sellers who didn’t make enough of an effort. “If they had, I can guarantee that the price would have been better,” she said. “I’ve had apartments that were incredibly cluttered, and buyers were too distracted.”
First on your list should be washing the windows, cleaning the floors, polishing the furniture, and vacuuming the rugs throughout your home, Ms. Brokaw said, but the entry hall, kitchen, and bathroom deserve special attention.
“The entryway is going to be your first point of reference when you walk in,” she said. “It has to be clean and simple.”
Put away your clutter
So don’t just mop and vacuum; make sure you put away shoes, coats, and bags, too. (Try imagining your mom is standing beside you.)
“The kitchen has to be immaculate,” Ms. Brokaw said. “Your dishes should be in the dishwasher, and they should be done. You don’t want last night’s dinner smell.”
But bathrooms are perhaps the most important thing to get right. “Would you like to take a shower in a moldy shower?” she asked.
First impressions matter
To avoid creating a bad impression, it’s important to make sure your tile grout is spotless. Ms. Brokaw also recommended buying a new shower curtain and towels.
Sabrina Fierman, vice president of New York’s Little Elves, a cleaning company that is used by many interior designers and frequently prepares homes for sale, agreed that immaculate grout is essential.
“It can be scrubbed and bleached, and made to look a lot better,” she said. “But it probably won’t look new. We sometimes recommend cleaning it and then having it regrouted and resealed because it will make the bathroom look so much better.”
Clean high traffic areas
Beyond the bathroom, Ms. Fierman suggested cleaning all visible horizontal surfaces: windowsills, picture frames, baseboards, even the inside shelves of kitchen and medicine cabinets. “We also recommend cleaning the walls around light-switch plates, where there are a lot of fingerprints,” she said. “And around doorknobs.”
For those looking to take shortcuts, it’s possible to skip areas that people wouldn’t normally see. Buyers “are not climbing on ladders to look on upper shelves and on top of cabinets,” Ms. Fierman noted, so focus your efforts accordingly.
But make sure to put away personal items before each showing, Ms. Brokaw said. No buyer wants to walk into a bathroom “and see somebody’s toothbrush and 11 bottles of shampoo.”
Finally, although it may seem obvious, “make your bed,” she said. “With clean sheets.”
Call Valet Maids at 214-438-4804 to schedule your make-ready and maintenance cleans today.