How To Keep Your House Sparkling Clean While Showing It

So, you did a deep clean of your entire house before the first buyer came to see it. You scrubbed and swept and even got on your hands and knees to wipe behind things that no one will ever see. Now comes the hard part: keeping it that way.

Anyone who has ever sold their house will tell you there is a big difference between “clean” and “show-ready clean.” A show-ready home is supposed to sparkle. And if you are looking to sell, your home might have to sparkle for several weeks or even months.

Don’t worry, here are a few simple ways to ensure your house is always show-ready without driving yourself too crazy.

Pare Down What You Don’t Need

It will be much easier to clean your house when it’s not full of a bunch of junk you don’t want anyway. If you haven’t used something in the past year, what are the chances you will use it next year? If you can’t stand to part with it, find a place to store it where buyers can’t see it.

Pro tip: Since you’re about to move soon anyway, try to get as much packing done as you can. Buyers will appreciate seeing a closet full of boxes more than a room full of clutter.

Clean Smarter, Not Harder

The easiest way to keep a house clean is to create a routine and stick to it. Split the week up into chunks and do small cleans every few days and a big clean just before the weekend. You can focus on 1 room for a few days or spend 5 minutes cleaning each room every day.

If you are struggling to keep the whole house sparkling, focus your energy on the kitchen and bathroom. These are the most important rooms to keep clean because buyers will consider any mess to be unhygienic. Remember, buyers are already anxious about being in a stranger’s house, and the whole point is to make them feel at home.

Pro tip: Make sure all the visible garbage cans have lids. Hiding your trash is one of the easiest ways to make your place look and smell cleaner.

Close-up of hair clogging a sink drain.

Designate “Dirty Rooms” & “Clean Rooms”

The more space you need to clean, the longer it will take. So, don’t use a room unless you have to. Then, all it will take to make these “clean rooms” sparkle is a light dusting, sweeping, and maybe a quick wipe with a rag.

If you have more than one bathroom, designate one to be a “dirty room” that everyone uses. If you have kids, make them keep their toys in their room. Also, try to pack certain toys like Legos away for a while if you can. If you have pets, keep their dirty paws out of as many rooms as possible.

Pro Tip: Place bins or bags at the entrance of every “dirty room.” This way, if a buyer wants to see the place on short notice, you can gather up all the clutter in that room and store it away instantly.

Messy room with toys spread around everywhere.

Make Cleaning Fun

If Marry Poppins was able to make those English kids clean their room with a spoonful of sugar, why can’t you do the same? Go ahead, blast your happy music, and turn your cleaning routine into a dance routine. Keeping your house clean is only a chore if you make it that way.

You can trick a competitive partner into cleaning by making it seem like a game. See how quick you can clean a room, then challenge them to beat that record. Or start the first annual “cleaning Olympics,” with special prizes for the winners.

father with daughter holding vacuum cleaner while mother sitting at sofa at home

Pro Tip: You might not need to give your kids much of an incentive to help out. Often times you can get your kids to clean up after themselves just by making them feel needed and appreciated for their efforts.

Stay Somewhere Else

When all else fails, and you need a break, you can always pack your bags and stay somewhere else. You can take a real vacation and get some much-needed relaxation, or you can book a night at a local hotel where you don’t have to clean up after yourself for a little while.

In the end, you’re probably not going to have your house as clean as you expect, but the longer you can get the buyer to focus on the space and not your mess, the quicker you can make the sale.

5 Ways You Are Self Sabotaging Your Curb Appeal

Real Estate Agents who understand what it takes to sell a home understand the importance of curb appeal. The most important aspect of a quick home sale is getting as many people in the door as possible. As such, it’s important to make a good first impression in order to get potential buyers in the right frame of mind. No matter how good your listing photos look, if the outside of your house is a horror show, not only will far fewer people refuse to step inside, the few that do will enter it in the wrong frame of mind.

It’s understandable that not many sellers would want to engage in the expense and heartache involved with doing a full overhaul on their landscape, but there are many instances where sellers are in full self-sabotage mode without realizing it. So while it’s understandable that a seller wouldn’t be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to increase their curb appeal, there are no excuses for the little, virtually free things that can be done to keep it respectable.

1. Grimey Windows

No matter how diligent you are at cleaning the inside of your home, including your inhttp://iblog.social/?p=131

Window with very dirty and dusty glass in daylight

2. Overgrown Lawn

Probably the most common curb appeal killer is an overgrown lawn. At least twice a month, it’s important to maintain your lawn. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to dig out every weed, but as long as the grass is short and you have put the proper care into edging, it will look fine. The point is not to stick out like a sore thumb with respect to your neighbors.

Garden gnome disgusted by overgrown side yard.

3. Decrepit Garage Door

One of the first things that capture the attention of onlookers is the garage door, making it a vital aspect of curb appeal. This can be problematic because garage doors suffer a great deal of wear and tear. If replacing your garage door is not in the budget, there’s no excuse for not giving it a quick DIY paint job on a lazy Sunday.

KYIV, UKRAINE – September 02, 2014: Contractors installing garage door opener. Repair garage door opener system.

4. Front Door

If the garage door is one of the first things people look at, one of the few things it’s surpassed by is the front door. If your front door isn’t up to snuff, you don’t have to completely replace it with something new, nice front doors are expensive. But repainting it and replacing the hardware will give a much-needed facelift with minimal expense.

Close-up. Carpenter with an electric screwdriver fixes the plaque for the lock of a wooden door.

5. Outdoor Lighting

Curb appeal during the daylight hours is as important as curb appeal at night. When a property is on the market, there will be prospective buyers driving by to check out the house; oftentimes it is after work hours when the sun is about to set. If your lighting is too dim your house can look uninviting, and if it’s too bright it can be intimidating. Make sure to replace the bulbs with the right intensity to create an ambiance that is comfortable to the eye. If it’s still too dark you can light the path to your door with solar-powered lights. They are inexpensive and impose no energy cost.

Luxury house at night in Vancouver, Canada.

How To Hire A Great Home Contractor

So, you’ve decided that you want to renovate, but it’s too big of a job for you to DIY. So you need to hire a contractor, but how do you find the right one? While a good contractor can turn your dream home into a reality, a bad one can turn your life into a nightmare. 

An inexperienced contractor can get in over their head and create a dangerous situation for you and your family. Or a scam artist can steal your money and leave without a trace before doing any work. These are very common situations that you can avoid if you hire the right person. 

Here are some tips to help you pick the contractor that is just right for you. 

Search & Research

Before you decide to hire someone, doing your homework is a must. Most people will start by looking at reviews online, which is a good idea. Go ahead and read reviews from several different sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Google, and more. 

This will allow you to start making a list of contractors in the area, but you shouldn’t trust all online reviews, and you shouldn’t stop there. Ask your friends and family for referrals. If you are friendly with the neighbors, ask them too. If you hear people say positive things about a contractor, add him or her to the list. 

But you’re not done yet. Ask the fine people who work at your local hardware store or lumberyard for referrals too. They can give you the inside gossip about which contractors buy cheap materials and which ones always pay their bills on time. 

Interview & Review

With your list of top candidates in hand, give each of them a call and pay attention to how easy it is to communicate with them. While you are talking to them about the project, make sure to ask them the following questions:

Contractor Working
  • What are your credentials and experience (and your subcontractor’s)?

Even if you already found out a bit about a general contractor from your research, you may not know how long they have been working with their employees and subcontractors. You don’t want a contractor that just hires subcontractors off the street and leaves the work to them. 

  • Are you licensed & insured?

It is essential to ensure a contractor is licensed and insured before you let them start working on your house. You may know someone with a truck full of tools, who tells you they can do whatever a licensed contractor can do, but you won’t have the same legal protections with them as you would with a licensed contractor. 

Specifically, make sure they have workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. Also, make sure they don’t have complaints filed against them or a history of disputes with clients. And don’t just take their word for it, verify they are telling the truth with the state license board, the state’s consumer protection agency, and your local Better Business Bureau.

  • Are you able to take on a project of this size now?

Not all contractors can take on every kind of project. You want to make sure your project is in the contractor’s wheelhouse. Just because they did a good job building your neighbor’s deck doesn’t mean they know how to renovate a full kitchen. 

Some contractors also have multiple projects going on at once, and you want them to focus on yours. However, don’t drop a contractor just because they can’t start right away, the best ones are usually busy. 

  • Can you give me a list of your previous clients?

This is especially important if you were not able to get referrals from lots of people you trust. However, it is a good idea to call a few of their previous clients even if you already have references from people you trust. Previous clients could have valid complaints about a contractor that you wouldn’t find out about otherwise.

Get Estimates

Now you should have your list narrowed down to a handful of contractors. You’re going to want to meet with them at the site and explain what you want them to do. Things will be easier if you have a clear idea about what you want, stand your ground, and only entertain the suggestions you really like. Remember: projects can get expensive when you start changing things.

Make sure to get multiple bids even if you already made up your mind about which contractor you are going with. This will allow you to compare their bids, which might come in handy when you are negotiating prices later down the line. 

Contract

Now that you picked the contractor that is just right for you, you’ll want to write up a contract that you feel comfortable with. This should include a payment schedule, proof of liability insurance and compensation payments, specific materials, and a start and end date for the project. 

The bottom line is: a contractor is going to spending a lot of time in your house, making noise and spreading dust. If the dust settles, and you’re left with nothing but an expensive pile of garbage, you’ll wish you had taken the time to find a better contractor.