I’m pretty sure that Charles Dickens knew a realtor or two back when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities. After all, he started the tome with the infamous quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” If that doesn’t perfectly describe selling a home, I don’t know what does! Yes, it’s super exciting and exhilarating, but it is also stressful and crazy-making. I get it. And I’m here to help. Most of my clients tell me that the most nerve-wracking part of selling their home is not getting it market ready… it’s keeping it market ready and being able to leave a pristine and tidy home in minutes when I call with a last minute showing.
Now, I’ve written extensively about getting your home market ready – making renovations, upgrades and minor improvements that will show your home in its best light – but it is high time I share some pointers about how to perform a ten-minute tidy that will make your home sparkle and shine and have you out the door before I pull in the driveway with a potential buyer.
Let’s start with the kitchen this week. It’s a premier space in your home and one that gives possible buyers a big clue about how you’ve maintained your home. If your kitchen is neat as a pin with gleaming appliances, buyers notice and appreciate your attention to detail. If it is cluttered and crusty, it is a huge turn off because buyers imagine that you ignored the rest of home’s maintenance in the same way you ignored the breakfast dishes. So… purchase a good all-purpose cleaner and a micro-fiber cloth and keep them handy! I really like “Pledge Multi-Surface” cleaner. It cleans stainless steel, granite, sealed wood and glass and it smells fresh and clean.
Ready, set… CLEAN:
60 SECONDS: Gather papers and stuff that tends to accumulate on kitchen islands and countertops and quickly stow them in a nice, covered basket. Remember, you’re playing “beat the clock,” so this isn’t the time to organize. Just get the clutter out of the way and then deal with it when you get home!
60 SECONDS: Begin the speed-clean with your sink… spray it with cleaner and continue working your way around the upper cabinets and countertops. As soon as you make your way back to the sink, wipe up all the cleaner with your microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to polish your faucet, too!
30 SECONDS: Wipe down the stove top with the same damp cloth, polishing handles and knobs.
30- 60 SECONDS: Spray and wipe stainless steel appliances, including dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerator and even the toaster. Again, pay special attention to handles and knobs!
30 SECONDS: Take a quick gander at your lower cabinets… give them a swipe, if needed.
60 SECONDS: Swiffer/vacuum your floors. I swear by the “Dirt Devil Vac+Dust.” It’s cordless, but powerful enough to suck up the tumbleweeds of pet hair that magically appear in my home. The microfiber cloth removes quickly and can be tossed in the washing machine after a few uses.
60 SECONDS: If needed, give you floor a quick-mop with the “Bona Hardwood Floor Mop.” It stores the cleaning solution on the handle and delivers quick sprays. An absorbent micro-fiber cloth velcros to the bottom of the mop head and can be removed and washed. You don’t need to mop the entire kitchen if you’re in a huge rush. Stand at the entry to your kitchen and look at where the light shines on your floor. Give those areas a quick spritz and be on your way!
15 SECONDS: Take garbage out to the trash bin. Keep a roll of deodorized trash bags in the bottom of your garbage can so you can quickly reinstall a new, fresh bag.
Boom! In just over five minutes, you’ve transformed your kitchen into a room of sparkly greatness! Next week, we’ll apply this same method to your family room. Hopefully by the time I write the “speed-cleaning” your master bedroom post, you’ll have already sold your home and I’ll be helping you find a new one!