Many potential homebuyers have a tough time seeing past dust and disarray. Can you blame them? But living in your home and keeping it buyer-ready at all times can be rather daunting. Before you schedule your first showing, it’s a good idea to:
- Declutter and depersonalize. It may be difficult for prospective buyers to envision themselves in a home filled with family photos and knickknacks. Plus, too much clutter can make your spaces seem smaller. Now is the perfect time to purge or donate items you no longer need and pack up those you can live without for the foreseeable future. Stash the boxes neatly in your garage or rent a unit at a local storage facility.
- Perform a deep cleaning. You can tackle this task on your own or enlist the services of a trained professional. After you’ve scrubbed, scoured, wiped and polished those hard-to-reach, oft-neglected areas in your home, future cleanings should consist of quick and easy touch ups.
Now that the hard part is over, here are some simple strategies for keeping your home spotless between showings:
- Place rugs at all entrances to catch and hide dirt, and ask that shoes be removed before entering your home.
- Store your cleaning supplies in a single, convenient location so you won’t waste time searching for them.
- Add a small amount of scented cleaner to toilet bowls each night and make the beds every morning.
- Develop a system. Start cleaning in the same spot every time and follow a pattern to avoid accidental backtracking.
- Clean as you go. Sort mail as soon as it arrives. Wipe down counters after every meal. Spreading small tasks throughout the day will keep cleaning from turning into a huge task.
- Trade in your broom for a vacuum—it’s quicker! And use an extension cord to avoid time-consuming unplugging and replugging.
- Use a nonstick oven liner to catch spills and splatters and keep your oven free of food remnants.
- Place salt, ice cubes and lemon wedges in the garbage disposal to eliminate residue and odors.
- Rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after use so they don’t pile up in the sink.
- Prevent soap scum, water spots and mildew by cleaning your shower with a squeegee after every use.
- Use tote bags, bins and baskets as catchalls for loose items (e.g., toys, magazines).
- Put recyclables in the bin immediately instead of letting them accumulate on the counter.
- Enlist the help of your entire household—make sure everyone knows their assigned tasks!
- Bake cookies just before the showing to mask any potential odors.