If the thought of putting your house on the market sends a shiver down your spine, you are not alone. It’s an intimidating process, especially if you have mess-making children at home. Thankfully, keeping things clean isn’t as hard as it seems. Here’s how:
Have the right tools
First and foremost, you have to have the right tools. This will include a caddy of cleaning implements such as a broom, mop, and dust cloths. You’ll also need a good vacuum cleaner, one that can tackle dirt and debris quickly on the days your realtor calls with a last-minute showing. Don’t buy on the fly, however, and do your research. Vacuums can be expensive, and you don’t want to overpay only to find that your pricey model underperforms.
Avoid the temptation to light candles or clean with harsh chemical solutions. Overpowering scents can trigger an allergic reaction in a sensitive buyer. Amazon offers a host of unscented cleaners, and you can find many of these and others at your local hardware store.
Eliminate things you don’t need
Your house has to be clean, but it also has to remain kid-friendly throughout the ordeal. The easiest way to do this is by eliminating nonessential items. Think out-of-season clothes and board games that haven’t seen the light of day since they were bought. The Pragmatic Parent blog also cautions against bringing additional items into your home and establishing set rules on putting things away when they are not in use.
Play up your home’s best features
You can’t completely eliminate the evidence of children, and that’s okay. One thing you can do is make your home’s most desirable characteristics shine through the mess. According to Kiplinger, a few features buyers are most interested in include a functional laundry room, exterior lighting, outdoor recreation space, and garage storage. These areas should be as neat and organized as possible
Create a daily cleaning schedule
You never know when strangers are going to be visiting your home, so you need to be prepared to move fast. For this reason, you should never just leave with unmade beds and a sink full of dishes. It’s going to be a little extra work, but create – and to stick to – a daily cleaning schedule. Wash the dishes, make the beds, clean off the dining room table, vacuum the floors, and make sure the toilet has been flushed – kids are notorious for not doing this. If you clear the clutter and get organized ahead of time, you should be able to check off most of your chores within half an hour.
Watch what you eat
The way your home smells can instantly send a buyer out the door. Avoid making smelly foods, such as microwave popcorn and fish, while your home is on the market. Other olfactory offenders include curry, onions, and asparagus.
Let the kids help, and make it fun
Kids never really want to help clean up, but since they have to learn to do it anyway, now’s the perfect time to introduce them to the habit. Make your cleaning routine a family affair, and don’t be afraid to turn it into a friendly competition. You might, for example, see who can clean their room the best in the time it takes for your favorite song to play. If you haven’t already, add a few toy boxes and other creative storage options in your children’s bedrooms and play areas.
Lingering dirt and grime is guaranteed to put your property on a buyer’s shortlist of homes to avoid. When you have kids, you have to be extra diligent in keeping their messes contained, so get rid of the glitter and glue, and roll up your sleeves – you’ve got work to do.