How to Sell Your House in a Under a Week
Part 1: Home Improvements
Part 2: Clean Up
After making all of our Home Improvements in Part 1 of our journey to sell, we realized our house was filthy!! Not only had I neglected it because I was working hard installing floors, painting and such, but the construction dust and debris took its toll on everything. It was a mess!
If you want to clean it up yourself, check out my cleaning tips:
- How to make the Best Homemade GROUT Cleaner
- How to clean glass shower doors & walls
- How to clean a glass-top stove to remove burnt-on food
- How to clean your house in 15 minutes a day
- How to clean a plastic cutting board
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Want a pristine house? Hire the best local housecleaner – Find a Maid Service with Angie’s List today!
I’ve never hired a maid before. I always debated back and forth about a maid service because I figured it was admitting defeat. And, the people who live with me should help clean up the house. I shouldn’t have to pay for this! But, this situation was serious and so was I! So, I found a maid service on Groupon and contacted them. We scheduled a deep cleaning, to be done the day we planned to take pictures of the house before the listing. The maid service was well worth it, and they did a great job. It’s important that your home reflect how much you care about it. That shows you’ve taken care of it and it’s in good condition and ready to move in. With most house sales, you’re talking about a transaction in the hundred’s of thousands of dollars. This is not the time to nickel and dime this deal.
To find a great maid service, it’s important to shop around. If you’re in Southern California, check out Mystic Maids who did a great job deep cleaning my house. If you don’t feel like you can have a maid service help, ask friends and family to come over. Be prepared that they may not feel like cleaning your house, and that’s okay! After all, they didn’t get it dirty. 🙂 And, if there’s nobody but you, start at one corner and do your best.
When hiring a maid, be sure to have realistic expectations. Don’t expect them to come in and power wash your house. They will clean, and if they have a deep cleaning option, they’ll clean more thoroughly. But make sure you’re being fair about what they should and shouldn’t do. I’m not just talking windows. If there’s something disgusting going on, take care of it. If you expect them to clean a huge house in an hour, when the house has been neglected for 10 years – you get the picture. Be realistic or you’ll be disappointed.
Speaking of power washers, we were also fortunate enough to have a friend with a power washer. She lent it to us and we used it on the backyard and front yard. It made a huge difference!! I even used it on one old set of wood plantation blinds that were out-of-control dirty. They look brand new! Careful with a power washer, it will take the finish off certain things. But, it cleaned up the patio and yard like magic. (Thank you Linda!)
Here’s the best, most sensible advice I can give you when you’re getting a house ready to sell: be realistic. Realize that things may not go according to plan. It will happen though, so try to stay calm. It’s a stressful time, so give yourself a break. Don’t let stress get the best of you! Make sure to take time off sometimes, and remember the end goal rather than getting caught up in the flurry of activity and hard work. We planned to list our house, and we didn’t make it on time. We pushed it back a week, and the world kept turning. Not a huge deal, and in a few years we probably won’t even remember that we listed a week later than we planned to. Rather than list before we were ready, when we did finally put it up for sale it was sold in a snap because we prepared so well.
While it’s listed for sale, the inside of your house has to be clean and tidy pretty much all the time. Potential buyers could want to see it at any time. If you work outside the home, they may want to come while you’re away, and you may not have time to get back home to clean up before they come. Make sure to build in some extra time each morning as you run around, tidying up everywhere.
Checklist of what to keep tidy for showing real estate:
- empty trash cans before they’re full or overflowing to keep smells out of the house
- clean cat box or pet beds, keep pet clean too
- invest in air fresheners, and place throughout house
- get a bottle of Febreze, use it to freshen up furniture, beds and even carpet
- clean kitchen counters, floors, sink, stove and refrigerator; wash and put away the dishes
- clean bathroom sinks, counters, bowl, mirrors and floors and put away personal items including toothbrushes or used towels/wash rags (replace icky shower curtains when you’re deep cleaning)
- keep a set of nice towels in baths and keep them clean
- make beds, keep bedrooms tidy and keep floors clean (consider buying a nice set of bedding that matches, a comfy/cozy room will sell itself!)
- dust and vacuum
- keep other areas you may have tidy, such as laundry rooms, mud rooms, sun rooms, garages or patio/deck, etc.
The house needs to be clean and stay tidy while it’s listed for sale. That will be so much easier if you successfully declutter as instructed in Part 3!
Read Part 3: Staging Your Home