A Spring Cleaning Checklist for Home Buyers & Sellers

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If you plan to move this year, spring cleaning can be a great head start—both for homeowners getting ready to sell and for homebuyers ready to pack. With that in mind, here are some spring cleaning checklist items to help you focus on those goals as you move from room to room.

If you’re moving this year…

  • Put seasonal items—such as winter coats and clothes, heavy drapes and comforters, and holiday decorations—away in moving-safe boxes and label them clearly. Packing up any items you won’t need before your move will help keep your current home tidy and make future packing a little less daunting. 
  • Be aggressive about your decluttering. Decide which items you’d like to keep, donate and discard, then separate those belongings accordingly. It’s important to ask yourself honest questions during this process: What has sentimental value? Which items do you really plan on using? Do you have duplicates of anything? What is easily replaceable if you need it again in the future?
  • If you are a renter, be sure to follow any cleaning instructions from your landlord or property management company when your moving date arrives. Even if you have a bit more time before your move, those tasks may still be useful items to add to your spring cleaning checklist.

If you’re getting ready to sell…

  • Keep a running list of repairs you’ll need to make before you can put your house on the market. These might include patching up holes, repainting walls, fixing broken tile, updating grout and more.
  • Since you’ll be moving your furniture anyway to vacuum or sweep, consider reorganizing your décor to stage your home more effectively. Additionally, take time to evaluate your lighting choices—each fixture and bulb can make a difference to potential buyers.
  • Consider having a professional clean your carpets and upholstery, particularly if you are a pet owner or smoker. Don’t forget to also tackle little details, such windowsills, light switches, baseboards, door handles and fan blades.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in tidying the interior, but the exterior is equally as important (especially since it’s the first thing house hunters see)! Add fresh paint where needed, power wash the driveway and walkways and spruce up your landscaping. A new welcome mat may also be a nice touch!
  • Make note of your home’s best features and good angles for listing photography. For tips on this topic, check out our complimentary real estate photography guide.

If your home is already on the market…

  • Consider using low-odor cleansers, as harsh chemicals can be a turn-off for potential buyers. There are many fresh-scented options out there, or you could go the DIY route using some common household ingredients.
  • In case anyone touring your home has allergies, we’d suggest selecting low-pollen flowers for any floral displays.
  • Be sure to also depersonalize as you declutter. It may help potential buyers imagine that your home is theirs if they aren’t confronted with family photos, trophies and other memorabilia.
  • For the same reason, you may want to tone down seasonal decorations. Blankets and throw pillows in soft shades or subtle floral patterns might be a nice touch for spring, but too much additional décor could be off-putting to house hunters.
  • Don’t let your closets appear overstuffed or your garage stay too full to accommodate vehicles. If your budget allows, a storage unit may help you empty your home. The more space you can showcase, the better!

General spring cleaning tips…

  • Consider tackling one room at a time. This may help you stay organized and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Do a full appliance audit. Think about replacing or repairing anything that needs attention, as well as updating outdated items.
  • Take extra care if you have children or pets. Keep a keen eye out for mysterious stains, sniff around for lingering odors and address any damage that may have been caused by your human and fur babies (think crayon scribbles on the walls or chewed-up corners of the carpet).
  • Remember: your spring cleaning checklist shouldn’t just include your home. If you have out buildings, such as a detached garage or a shed, be sure to thoroughly declutter and clean those as well. 
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