Setting Up Your House Sale for Success

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Approximately 10 per cent of homeowners keep a house as clean as it needs to be when shown to potential homebuyers.

This statistic shouldn’t be surprising. Sellers are still required to live their daily lives inside the home while on the market. Family members track mud inside, beloved family pets shed, dishes from the daily meals are dirtied, and never-ending piles of laundry appear. The selling of your home and getting ready for a move is time-consuming. The attempt to keep the house at that point is challenging. Realtors say it’s well worth the expense. It makes sense that a cleaner home will sell much quicker (and easier) than a dirty one.

Avoid The Yuck Factor

Potential buyers who view homes with dirty carpets, damaged walls and soap-scum filled showers, all they see is a lot of work, time and expense for them. It’s often a financial turn off to the buyer. Alternatively, the condition of the home can have the potential to attract low-ball offers for the seller. Not to mention the yuck factor of moving into someone else’s filth. Who wants someone else’s bacteria and viruses?

So, what’s the solution? The best solution is to hire professional cleaners to perform a deep clean on the entire house, including the kitchen and bathrooms. Afterwards, all family members need to plan to keep the house as clean as possible while still living it. Daily activities such as wiping down the shower after every use to vacuuming on a daily basis will make it much more manageable. This way, there won’t be total panic if your Realtor calls to say, “I am bringing someone over to see the house in a half-hour. Can you be out of the house by then?”

What You Can Expect

That can mean bringing in a big company or an individual cleaning service owner to perform the task. But remember, no two professional cleaning services offer the exact same in-depth cleaning checklist. When requesting a whole house deep cleaning, the seller should expect certain things such as:

  • Will the cleaning service include cleaning all windows, screens, window tracks, windowsills, blinds and weather stripping?
  • Are the details like cleaning doorknobs, switch plates, heating vents, and registers included?
  • Does a thorough cleaning of appliances include taking off knobs?
  • How will the neglected baseboards be addressed? (Extremely neglected baseboards need to be painted, stained or replaced).

It’s All About The Details

It’s easier to think of deep cleaning of a house like detailing of your vehicle. The deep cleaning includes not just the “big stuff,” but also all the “little stuff” that we often say we take care of ‘soon’, but not definitely today. The deep clean can include things like vacuuming lampshades or cleaning that gunk underneath the washer lid.

Sellers must be clear on what they are getting and/or paying for when it comes to a deep clean. Get a checklist in writing if possible. Obtaining a cleaning estimate ahead of time is always a good idea. Some cleaning companies will charge additional fees for specific tasks and/or do not include cleaning the house’s exterior. Things like the polishing of the front door knocker/doorknob or getting rid of cobwebs near the transom windows next to the front door may not be included in the scope of services provided.

Exteriors Need Love Too 

For exterior cleaning, you may need to hire a power washing service to clean the siding. Consider calling a professional window washing provider to address the very high foyer windows or windows that don’t open inward for easy and safe cleaning. Potentially dangerous window washing situations (requiring the use of scaffolds) should be turned over to the professionals.

When researching potential cleaning service providers, confirm when their first available date is and what time can you expect the crew to arrive. Find out if you will need to supply cleaning products or allow for the use of your vacuum. Suppose you or a family member (including pets) has a sensitivity to chemicals. In that case, ask what products will be used or supply your own cleaning products.

Your Realtor will often have good recommendations for reputable professional cleaning companies in your area. Licensing and bond requirements can vary from province to province. Also, you will want to check with the cleaning company about the workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Your homeowner’s insurance may often cover injuries to visitors to your home, but not to someone you hire to perform a task in your home.

The Big Move

Let’s fast forward now. Your house was so clean that it sold quickly, and you are ready to move out.

Before you close the door for the last time, how clean should you leave the house?

This part can get a little tricky because provinces and municipalities have different real estate contracts and additional requirements. This requirement can be considered to be a grey area and wide open to different interpretations.

Sometimes the term “broom clean” appears in a purchase agreement. At a minimum, all trash will be removed, the floors will be vacuumed, the bathrooms and kitchens are left clean. Ideally, the house needs to be as clean as the day the sale was finalized. Common sense on the part of the buyer and seller should be the guide. Sometimes, the purchase agreement may also stipulate that professional deep cleaning is required when the sellers move out.

And if the property is a foreclosure sale (meaning “as is” sale), that’s a different case. A broom will probably not be sufficient!

Suppose you plan on listing your home for sale and need to schedule a deep cleaning service. In that case, we’d love to be considered as your professional cleaning provider. Visit our website, www.moptoit.ca or call us at 780-446-4464.

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