25 August 2020

Must dos when cleaning your home

To make sure your Waikato property attracts buyers instead of scaring them away, we’ve whipped up a list of the absolute must-dos when preparing for your open home.

First impressions

First impressions are important! Have a look at your front entrance. This is where potential residential home buyers will make a decision about whether to enter or not.

The letterbox should be clean and in good condition with clear numbering, the exterior and garden should be tidy and inviting, lawns mowed, paths swept and free of moss and gardens weeded.

Consider a new doormat and depending on the time of year, you may want to add a flowering pot plant for colour.


As well as the exterior you need to make the inside of your house sparkle! It may sound simple, but it’s important to get into all of the corners, scrub around the taps and make those windows sparkle to create an impression of a well-cared for home.

Before you have people through your home it’s worth searching for any visual evidence of mould. As if you can spot it, chances are open home-attendees will as well. If you do spot anything, even if it’s hidden away, use a mould cleaning solution to remove it completely.

After that, it’s not a bad idea to leave windows open for as long as possible before the sale to air your home out and prevent any dampness from creeping back in.

Get rid of bad smells

Imagine walking into a home and smelling something bad. Whether it’s a leftover scent from last night’s culinary masterpiece, or the old running shoes at the door – it may put people off buying the home – even if just affects their decision subconsciously.

The fix can be as straightforward as you think. Remove the offending item or smell, then spray an odour eliminator throughout your home. If the odour still lingers, put two caps full of vanilla extract in your oven at 300 degrees for an hour and your entire abode will smell delicious for the duration of the open home.

Remove any signs of pets

Not everyone is an animal lover and while your pets might be the light of your life, there’s a chance they’ll put buyers off and leave you in the dark. Pop your pets round to your neighbours or take them for a long walk during open homes and clean thoroughly to remove any signs that they were there.

Pet fur or other signs that a pet lives in the home might put some non-animal lovers off.

De-clutter and depersonalise

Less is more. Tuck away ornaments and accessories that make the house feel cluttered (think of it as a head start on the packing you will eventually do anyway). Clean off everything on visible surfaces and put essential daily-used items in a small box that can be stored away when not in use. But potential buyers may open closet and cabinet doors, so if everything is organised, the buyer will think you take very good care of the rest of the house too.

Emotions become a key part of a purchaser’s decision-making process. That’s why you need to depersonalise, so that the property isn’t ‘your home’ but a product that the buyer can imagine their life in, making them more likely to buy.

Think about staging

On the subject of depersonalising, staging can also be an option. Home staging involves accentuating a home’s positive aspects and minimising its negative ones. But it goes beyond hiding clutter and cleaning.

As a seller, you can prepare the contents of your home’s interior and exterior to appeal to your target market, like adding furniture and accessories to a vacant home, or reassessing existing furniture and accessories if the home is occupied.

Staging can further remove the personal feel of your home and present it in such a way that buyers will be more easily able to imagine their lives in it.

Your open home should be a relatively straightforward and fun experience – and with these tips it’ll be a successful one as well.

Unsure where to start? Ask your real estate salesperson – they can direct you on how to set the scene in your home.

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