…You May Not Have Thought Of When Putting Your Home Up For Sale

No-one hates cleaning, especially DUSTING, more than me but consider this: when you go to sell your house, you are competing against new construction, where everything is new and unused. To level the playing field you have to clean your house as fully as you can. Think about the level of clean at a CarMax type place. You would negotiate hard if you were buying a used car if it had a weird smell, and probably not buy it at all if you had a choice. Same with houses. Here are 10 of my least favorite things to do, but cleaning tasks I KNOW, from my years of experience as a Southside Jacksonville realtor, will add dollars to your bottom line, or make your house harder to sell at a decent price if you avoid them.

Deal With The Mud Daubers

I am not alone in being terrified of wasps – so are many of my buyers — and it’s uncomfortable trying to get in the door while dodging these kamikaze pilots. It goes without saying that the door, trim, and hardware, and glass should shine, but Sellers often forget about insects and mud daubers (wasp nests). Even when the mud daubers are old, they look terrible and scary.

Cleaning Chores - rid yourself of the mud daubers

They don’t look like much, do they? Ha!

Professionally clean the tile and grout on floors and in the shower/tub.

And get the shower glass professionally cleaned, too. There are many YouTube videos and Internet posts on how to clean them yourself, but the results are rarely good. Pros can make white grout white again and tile sparkling clean. Shower glass that looks pitted over time — a real shame when you have invested in beautiful frameless doors – can look almost brand new. I have been very happy with the Jacksonville cleaning company, greendryjax.com, but you can also check Angie’s List for A-rated vendors.(of which I am one, may I just point out in a shameless plug!! 🙂 )

Cleaning chores - don't avoid the grout

To clean or not to clean…nope, there is no question, you gotta do it!

Watch What You Cook

Buyers hate odors. Pet owners usually know to clean the carpet, wash the bedding and the toys, and empty the litter box as often as it takes. If they don’t, they will get negative feedback soon enough. But cooking odors can be just as obnoxious. Use the vent when cooking, and put out a bowl of vinegar afterwards. Sometimes Febreze works well, too. But the best thing to do is not cook anything “strong” before a showing. Save the bacon for another day.

Clean up smells too

No, she’s not real, but wouldn’t it be fun if she were?

Clean the vent covers/grills to your heating and cooling system.

When they are filthy, it makes buyers think that the system is dirty and in poor repair.

Revolting Air Vent

Gross! I’m going to choke right now.

Dirty windows make everything look dirty.

Enough said. Did your parents have a window cleaner come by once every few months or so? We did.

Studly window cleaner


Remove everything from the closet floor.

This is a trick used by stagers to make closets look much larger.

Color Coded Closet

Sorting the clothes makes closets look bigger, too. And, actually, after you’ve admitted to being OCD, it’s a lot easier getting dressed in the morning!

Clean off your kitchen counter tops.

Remove toasters, coffee pots, and cooking utensils unless they are decorative. If you have a counter top microwave oven or toaster oven, consider going without until the home is sold. Kitchen counters are valuable real estate and the Buyer wants to feel like there is enough space to prepare meals and/or entertain. BUT, they have no concept of scale if the surface is completely empty. Put back one or two decorative items – ONE bowl of fruit, or a set of THREE jars of flour, rice and sugar or the like. And no mat – everyone trips on them.

Clear the kitchen counters but not too much.

This would be fine, IF the knives were put away. NEVER have knives out when the public is coming in.

Make the kitchen sink shine.

Of all the cleaning techniques – and some of them are overly complicated — I have found that scrubbing with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and wiping down with a microfiber cloth does the trick.

Cleaning Chores - make sink shine

Baking soda does this, with vinegar.

Clean the outside of your heat pump, condenser water softener, and hot water heater.

This is often overlooked, but Buyers always look at this equipment. They stand there, staring, knowing that they should look, but are not sure what at specifically. Dirt is the first thing they recognize.

Dirty Water Tank

Geez, there’s something really not right here!

Clean and organize the inside of drawers and cabinets that are within easy reach.

Nine times out of ten, they will be opened, not out of nosiness, but to check the quality and features. And because the buyer is trying to “see” themselves in the space, imaging how their things would look, how their life might feel.

Tidy the Kitchen Drawer

I’m so filled with envy I have to go take a TUMS right now.

And there you have it. 10 Cleaning Chores that will add value to your bottom line when you go to sell your house. I’m telling you, I don’t like doing it either, but it pays for itself, time and again.