I was afraid to tell them their house was dirty. I was afraid they would tell me where to place my FOR SALE sign, if you know what I mean. After all, isn’t that really an insulting thing to say to someone? Just broaching the subject made my (then skinny) knees knock together.
It didn’t take me long to learn that I was doing them a disservice by not telling them the down and dirty truth, because a sticky, stinky, dirty house = NO SALE. Now I tell them (in a polite and diplomatic way of course). I have to. It is in their best interest to know that a clean house communicates to the buyer that the home is being properly maintained.
Are We Talking Squeaky Clean?
Well, we do have to operate in the real world here. If you have a busy family (and who doesn’t?), there is no way you can keep your home spotless. If you can, that probably means you are operating on 3 hours of sleep a night to make that happen, or the entire family is frazzled by your blood curdling screams of “CLEAN THAT UP !!!! and “YOU CAN’T LEAVE YOUR UNDERWEAR THERE !!!!”
While it is 100% true that you only have one chance to make a first impression, most buyers are reasonable about a not-so-perfectly made bed or a pair of shoes left beside the sofa. But they will be left with a very negative impression if the Kitchen and Bathrooms don’t sparkle and shine.
Buyers Are Nosy
It can be downright intimidating to think about potential buyers opening your Kitchen cabinets, checking out that “junk drawer”, and looking through your linen closet. They are not looking just to be nosy (well, some people are). They want to see how much storage you have. They want to see if you have quality cabinetry. They are testing the drawers to see if they open and close smoothly.
While they are checking everything out, they will be most impressed if they see dry, clean, organized storage under the kitchen sink, a clean oven, freshly cleaned floors, etc. On the other hand, if they notice dust bunnies partying under the table and the countertops are sticky, you may have lost that buyer. Why would that matter so much? In a buyer’s mind, if they see dirt, they pole vault to the conclusion that you don’t care about your home, and they wonder if more important things like the roof and other big ticket items are also being neglected.
The Kitchen must be clean, and so must the Bathrooms. Everything from the ceiling to the floors must shine like a new penny. Make sure your linen closet is neat and well organized. This room must look and smell like it has been freshly cleaned.
You Never Know When The Phone Rings For A Showing
It never fails. A week goes by and there are no showings. You might be very tempted to just let your guard down and settle back into your regular routine. (At my house that means a cluttered Kitchen table, three or four pair of shoes sitting around, coat hanging over a chair, a few dust tumbleweeds gliding across my hardwood floors – and worse. Can I get a witness?)
When you are selling your home, you really can’t let your guard down. You just never know when the phone will ring for a showing request. It is really exhausting to keep your home picked up and clean, but if you have taken all the other necessary steps your Realtor suggested that will help ensure a sale, you will get your get your life back soon. And when you do, reward yourself and the kids and have a food fight in the Kitchen. You will feel great and the kids will think you’re cool.