If you’ve been living in your home for more than a couple of years, you know that there are some corners that don’t get regular cleaning attention because they are “out of sight, out of mind.” They are beyond the scope of what anybody wants to face as a regular housekeeping chore, but they are not beyond the sight of a buyer who is taking it all in when they tour your home.
If you’re beginning to consider listing your Greenwich place, you probably know you’ll have to get around to dealing with some long passed-over details. Here’s the short list of preparing your house for the market– these are the things I would recommend before I begin my next stage for preparing a home for the real estate market. Simplify what is on countertops and horizontal surfaces and move furnishings around to maximize photos and showing flow. If you are not the sort of person who is consistently cleaning drawers, desks, closets, and overall keeping the amount of “stuff” to a reasonable level, tackling these areas would be good to do along with the following items.
1. Stove Burners. The fused layers of deeply incinerated debris (aka “that gunky mess”) encrusting the burners won’t come off by normal dish detergent soaking. Try soaking them one-by-one in a plastic bag containing ¼ cup of ammonia overnight or use an oven cleaner that sits on them for a few hours.
2. Carpet Stains. If your carpet is overall tired looking, stained, or worn, consider taking it up and finishing the floor (assuming there is one) underneath or replacing it with something inexpensive that will look fresh and reflect well on the overall care and condition of the home. If you are facing a couple of specific stains that have set into the carpet, squirt one part vinegar to three parts water on the stain, lay a cotton cloth on top, then set your iron to the hottest steam setting and run it over the cloth for 10 seconds. If the stain isn’t dyed in, it will transfer up onto the cloth.
3. Range Hood Vent Filters. Boil each in a large pan, slowly adding ½ cup of baking soda. It should take about 5 minutes on each half (they’re too big to do in one submersion). Be cautious about dumping the water, as you don’t want the grease to clog your drain.
4. Tub Grunge. If a tub specific cleaner doesn’t clean it up, try adding a scrubbing tool to your hand drill. You can make one yourself using a kitchen scrubby —or buy any commercial drill attachment that guarantees it won’t
scratch surfaces. If the tub is still uninviting, look for a company that resurfaces tub surfaces.
5. Metal Floor Grates. Run aluminum or steel grates through the dishwasher’s water-only cycle.
6. Clogged Shower-heads. Tie or tape a baggie of vinegar over the shower-head. Leave it overnight, being sure the little holes are all submerged.
7. Don’t ignore the basement. Even if buyers don’t know a water heater from a furnace, they want to see mechanical rooms and unfinished basements that at least look like someone is thinking about them. Have your HVAC company service equipment, paint the basement floor and walls if needed, clean out anything not needed or being used (no buyer wants your old paint, tiles or spare parts) and wash the cobwebs and dirt off all equipment. Check for mold in the garage and basement and if evident, have it dealt with.
Preparing for the market takes some work but you will be most thankful that you did it, from the first broker open house to the building inspection.
Photographs displayed: 628 Lake Avenue, an exceptional example of thorough cleaning, pristine display, and simplicity.