Dirty spaces speak louder than perfect realtor photos.

By Lauren Wellbank
July 24, 2020
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If you're in the process of selling your home, you've probably already invested a large amount of time in deep cleaning and decluttering. However, if you're about to host an open house, you'll need to make another push to ensure everything is in tip-top shape. It's easy to skimp on certain areas (after all, who's going to check under your couch for dust bunnies?) in the interest of time, but, according to our experts, shortcuts are a mistake. Here, the four places you absolutely need to tidy before opening your doors to prospective buyers.

Clear the Air

Elena Ledoux, the CEO of Superb Maids, says your open house is no time to slack on your cleanliness. While you've probably made sure to clean all obvious surfaces like your kitchen counters and dining room table, she says you also need to hit "invisible" places—this includes your home's air. Make sure to appropriately air out your home both during and after cleaning it so that it smells fresh and clean.

Getty / Thomas Barwick

Polish Everything

If it can be buffed, scrubbed, and made to sparkle, it should be. "Anything that has a shine to it should be polished to a sparkle—mirrors, windows, faucets, towel holders—even counters," says Ledoux. To get that high shine, Ledoux recommends Bar Keeper's Friend ($4.95, williams-sonoma.com) for most bathroom faucets. And when it comes to reflective surfaces and windows, she says to treat them all like you would a wine glass: "Use dish soap and hot water to dissolve grime and oils first, then rinse with clean water. After, polish it up with dry clean cloth."

Eliminate Clutter Everywhere

If you've ever been to an open house, you know that buyers may open up closets and cabinets to check for storage. This isn't invasive, says Allison Chiaramonte, a real estate agent with Warburg Realty—these places aren't off limits. That's why it's so important to make sure that these places look their best on the big day (this includes your junk drawer, so be sure to tackle it instead of filling it with last-minute clutter).

Chiaramonte note that easy-to-reach drawers and shelves in your kitchen and bathroom, your front coat closet, and the inside of your dishwasher and fridge should all be as neat and tidy as possible. "Buyers have a tendency to open things during an [open house] that are in eyesight [and] easily accessible to get a sense of storage and just familiarize themselves with a home," she says. "If appliances seem dirty or overcrowded, it signals to them, subconsciously, that the house has not been well maintained and that there are hidden problems."

Create Floor Space

This is especially important in your closets, says Chiaramonte, who also notes that this is a realtor's go-to move. "There is a visual trick that if the floor is empty, the closet feels spacious—which is important," she says.

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