BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
People tend to procrastinate when it comes to cleaning the house. Well, that shouldn't be much of a shocker as cleaning a messy house is never a pleasant job. So, you keep procrastinating until you have some guests coming over or can't deal with the feeling of living in a dirty house anymore. Frustrating, right?
If you are one of the millions out there who fall under these categories, then you are at the right place (or page) as compiled here are a couple of easy tips to back the sparkle in your home in an hour or less. Doubt it? Then, stick around as to discover how the trick works.
Step One: Get the Juice Flowing with High-Tempo Music
Cleaning your house doesn't have to be a tiresome, daunting task that you must check off your to-do list. Make it fun, easy, and fast with tempo music. Background music aims to keep you active and happy through the task. So, you can choose any music mix you love and get the volume up.
Step Two: Draft a Plan and Stick with it
Have you ever wondered why it is easier to clean someone else's house than your own? It is because you have no attachment or distraction in the house. No photo albums or old magazines are screaming for attention. Try employing the same level of focus while cleaning your home. Ditch the photo albums or magazines or quickly tuck them away first. Draft an hour plan and stick with it. No breaks or timeouts or cellphone checks. Put in all your focus, and you will finish in an hour or less.
Step 3: Always Start at the top
Our first big tip is to start from the top, irrespective of the room or activity with which you begin. Cleaning from the top ensures that dirt and dust from higher surfaces fall on ‘uncleaned' lower surfaces. This order helps eliminate the time you would spend re-cleaning lower surfaces.
Step 4: Learn to De-clutter
Whether it is the living room, kitchen, or any other part of the house, always learn to organize the area before cleaning. This way you will have things off the floor and where they are supposed to be.
Step 5: Spray and Allow to Sit
An easy way to get the dirt off your tub or counters or wall is to sprinkle cleansers on them and allow it to sit for some minutes before scrubbing. The trick is that the cleansers, like detergents, help break the bonds (especially in greasy stains), making it easy to wash off. You could use the time between spraying and scrubbing to clean other areas of the house.
Step 6: Save the Floors for the Last
This point helps emphasize the importance of Step 1. Endeavor to start all cleaning activities from the top and save the floors for the last cleaning step. Organizing helps prevent spending extra time re-cleaning the floors.
Cleaning the house does not have to be a tedious and daunting exercise to check off your to-do list. Follow the steps mentioned above religiously, and you will find cleaning to be a fast and easy exercise that isn't worth procrastinating. Get your home sparkling in an hour or less!
Keep these tips in mind when your real estate agent calls for that last minute showing.
If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.
Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.
Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.
Stay One Step Ahead of Dust
Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.
If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.
If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.
A Word About Mouse Traps
Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!
When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!
It’s inevitable that you will have just cleaned your carpet and suddenly, someone will spill something on it! The most important thing to know about stains is that the longer they sit in a material, the harder they are to get out. There’s different methods that tend to work better for different kinds of stains on carpets. When you know what to do to clean a stain, the next time a spill occurs, you’ll know exactly how to clean it up.
Food Or Drink Stains
when the spill occurs, you’ll need to start by getting what you can up from the carpet using a paper towel and something to help scrape up the remains of the item like a paper plate. Then, use a clot to blot over the stain with warm water. If the spill is liquid, you’ll need to try and absorb as much of it as possible. Press down firmly with a cloth and/or a paper towel to pick up the remains of the stain. Hopefully this will all that needs to be done, but most likely, you’ll need to clean the area more thoroughly.
For more stubborn food and drink stains in your carpet, make a solution using one part non-bleach laundry detergent and one part warm water. Apply to the stain and let it sit for around 5 minutes. Then, rinse again with warm water. Make sure that you get all of the detergent out of the carpet. Residual detergent could cause more permanent staining to the carpet.
The same procedure used for food and drink stains applies to pet stains. You need to scoop up any residue and blot the stain. You can use the same simple detergent solution that’s mentioned above to remove the stain. After the stain is removed, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to warm water. This is used to neutralize the odor.
For any type of liquid stain, along with the solutions used to clean up solid stains, it’s really important for all excess moisture to dry completely. If stains aren’t dried, mold and mildew could result. Following clean-up, vacuum the area to return it to normal.
Nail polish is actually simpler to remove than you would think. First, get rid of the excess nail polish that may be on the carpet with a rag or paper towel. Blot well. You can use nail polish remover right on most carpets. Do this with caution however, as some carpets can lose color when nail polish remover is applied. Test a non-obvious area of the carpet for colorfastness. If you do find that the carpet loses color, you’ll need a professional to help you get the nail polish stain out of the carpet.
One of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market is keeping it clean, organized, and ready for the next showing!
This is no easy task, especially if you have pets, messy kids, and/or a hectic schedule. If you're like most people, you're probably contending with all three conditions!
Although it's human nature to get immersed in our own view of the world, it's helpful to try and see things through the eyes of prospective home buyers. When buyers walk into your house for the first time, they're not going to immediately know about all the improvements you've made to your property or the many ways your home has served your family's needs for all these years. They're not aware of the "big picture" and may never be. They only know what they see, hear, and smell during their brief visit to your home.
Anything which makes a negative impression can sour them on the idea of buying your house. It's a delicate balance and it doesn't take that much to tip the scales in either direction. That's why it's so important for sellers to get into a routine of keeping their house clean, orderly, and well maintained.
It's amazing what a difference 24-hours (or less) can make on the appearance and cleanliness of your home. Rest assured, if you've said or thought the words, "But I just cleaned it, yesterday!" -- you're not alone! Cleaning your house when it's on the market is a lot like shaving: It doesn't take too long for that "five o'clock shadow" to start creeping in!
Reminding everyone in your family to clean up after themselves is the first step to being ready, but it also pays to have a checklist to refer to when preparing for a real estate showing. If you don't use a task list, chances are you'll forget something important -- like wiping off the kitchen counter, sanitizing the toilets, putting away dirty dishes, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Floors almost always require a quick sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, and waste baskets need to be emptied. Crumpled towels, bath mats, and bedspreads may also be in desperate need of straightening and smoothing out! If you own pets that tend to have "accidents" or kids who haven't quite mastered the art of cleaning up after themselves, you might also want to allow a few extra minutes in your routine to take care of the "unexpected."
While it's true that you want your house to have a "lived in" appearance, it's all-too-easy to cross that thin line into a whole different category! No reasonable house hunter will expect your home to be spotless and perfect in every way, but if it looks messy, disheveled, or neglected, then that could be a potential deal breaker!