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Spring cleaning and curb appeal

We love spring!

Warm temps and fresh air invite the feeling to clean and renew what we love about our homes. If you are thinking of listing your home for sale or want your home to shine, here are some great tips for spring cleaning and curb appeal:

In real estate, an attractive exterior can make or break a home sale. These tasks are what the experts suggest to create a sparkling outside that beckons potential buyers inside.

Act like a buyer:

Walk around your property with a notepad. Take notes on what needs to be repaired or cleaned.

Get a second opinion. You see your home every day.  A fresh set of eyes from your neighbor or family member can draw your attention to what potential buyers can pick out as a problem area.

Stand at your front door, be aware of what your guests and potential buyers are seeing. Remove cobwebs, overgrown plants from walkways, dirt, and fingerprint smudges.   This might be a good time to paint your shutters, doors and trim.

Does your mailbox need to be repaired or replaced?

Look up. Give your roof a visual inspection.   Does anything need to be repaired? Check for last summer’s lost toys and any areas that need to be cleaned.

Are the house numbers clean, in good repair, easy to see, and do they match the style of your home? They are inexpensive, easy to replace and update the look of your home instantly.

This is a great time to power wash siding, walkways, and deck/patio areas to remove winter grime.

Spruce up porch and planter boxes with fresh color and dark mulch. Never use fake flowers. Clear out any dead plants and update with blooming plants for color. A maintained landscape increases curb appeal. Evaluate if a lawn treatment is needed to thicken and green up your lawn.

Open all your blinds and window treatments. View your home from the street. Try to keep a uniform look. Wash the windows and clean your window treatments.

Getting Rid of Clutter

Many potential buyers may not see past dirt and clutter. If the house is crowded with the owner’s “stuff,” they will assume that the house is too small for their possessions. Too much clutter also poses a safety – and buying – hazard! A person who trips over items left on the stairs is unlikely to have a good feeling about the house. In addition, a clean, clutter-free environment is more attractive than a grimy, untidy one.

Begin by purging the house, including the basement, attic and garage, of items that are no longer needed. Things that are in good condition can be sold or donated to a charity. The remainder can be thrown in the trash. Rooms will appear more spacious, closets will look bigger and shelves will look roomier to potential buyers.

Clear off the kitchen and bathroom countertops, sorting and storing non-essentials in storage containers. Wipe all surfaces clean. Anything that will go back on the countertop should be wiped clean, too. In the kitchen, keep out only those appliances that are used every few days.

When a home is up for sale, the smart seller will keep clutter under control on a daily basis. That way, if an unexpected buyer drops in, the house will be ready to show.

Don’t let newspapers and mail pile up. Sort every day and discard what isn’t needed. Place a few baskets in strategic locations around the house. When the real estate agent calls, the clutter that is an inevitable part of daily life can be quickly scooped up into the baskets and hidden away. And, get in the habit of making a nightly “sweep” just before bedtime.


Time to Clean

Focus on the rooms that potential buyers are most interested in – living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Look at each room as a potential buyer might and see what catches the eye first. Make that the starting point for the cleaning process. Then, follow the top-to-bottom, left-to-right rule for cleaning each room. That way, no surface is overlooked.

Give major attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. Check the labels on cleaning products to make sure they are appropriate for the surfaces to be cleaned. Abrasive cleansers provide extra cleaning power for hard-to-remove soils like food particles and grease residue in sinks. However, they may be too harsh for surfaces that are easily scratched, such as laminate or solid surface countertops. In general, liquid and gel cleansers are less abrasive than powders. Keep a cleaning caddy on each floor of your home for quick spot checks.


Combat Mold & Mildew

Mold and mildew are especially problematic in bathrooms. With all the publicity concerning the illnesses that mold can cause, prospective home buyers are more sensitive than ever about its presence. Use liquid household bleach or cleaners with bleach to remove mildew stains from shower doors, shower curtains and grout between tiles.

Use a non-streaking cleaning product, such as a glass or glass and multi-surface cleaner, for shower doors and mirrors. A regular routine, including rinsing the tub after bathing, using a small squeegee on shower walls after each use, and drying faucets and handles to prevent water spots, will keep things clean.

Don’t Forget to . . .

Vacuum carpets and dust thoroughly. Use a dusting product so that the dust will be trapped and removed rather than dispersed in the air. Vacuum regularly, using long straight strokes.

If repainting is not in the budget, carefully clean surfaces to remove dust, grime and fingerprints. Painted surfaces are usually washable, but test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first. Use a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner. To avoid streak marks when cleaning large vertical areas, start at the bottom and work up, overlapping areas and using a circular motion.

Keeping on top of the cleaning chores will make your home look its best. And, once a buyer is found, it’ll be easy to have the house “broom ready” for that final walk-through before closing day.


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