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Tips from the Pro – Easy Steps to Sell your Home

Listing Your Home – Part 5


Cleaning to prepare to list your home


This is one of the most important steps to selling your home for top dollar.  Potential Buyers must get the impression that its like a brand-new “model” home.  It also conveys a message that you have taken care of and loved your home.  If the kitchen has sticky counters and lots of dirty appliances on the counter top, people will be scared to look in the drawers and pantry.  If your bathroom has anything less than gleaming glass and mirrors, Buyer’s will be afraid to look past the shower curtain.  Your home also has to smell fresh.  Personally, I love the smell of bleach because it makes me think that everything is sterile and new.  Over-doing the plug-ins isnt good either.  A fresh, clean smell goes a long way.

My list of items not to be overlooked:

Cleaning the exterior of your home to prepare to sell


The exterior of your home is important because it gives the first impression or curb appeal.  A well manicured yard and structure of the home should give the impression of a well taken care of home.  We will be addressing repairs in the Part 3 of this series.  Here are some items to not miss on the exterior:

  • Clean out gutters
  • Patch and paint cracks in stucco
  • Freshly paint the front door
  • Degrease and remove oil spots and power wash the driveway
  • Clean up dead leaves
  • Paint any cable wires to match the house
  • Clean out the air conditioner for leaves and debris
  • Hire a company to clean the exterior windows and vacuum out the tracks for leaves
  • Clean doorbell


Cleaning the interior of your home in preparation to list for sale


From the moment the Realtor opens up the front door to let the Buyer in, the house needs to be bright, clean and fresh smelling.  Remember all of the senses will be alert so sight and smell are both working for the initial impression.  I have actually shown homes that were in need of a complete updating but when we walked in, they were bright and smelled clean and made my clients excited to proceed to each room.


  • Clean all baseboards (even behind furniture)
  • Clean all lighting fixtures until they gleam
  • Clean every door inside and out for hand prints around the handle
  • Clean every light switch for fingerprints and dirt
  • Clean the inside (including the tracks)
  • Clean blinds and shutters
  • Wash or have all rugs professionally cleaned
  • Polish wood floors and deodorize carpeting
  • Wash walls around door handles and lighting switches

Entry Foyer:

  • Clean chandelier with ammonia and water – this needs to be sparkling clean
  • Clean the inside of the front door handle and around it
  • Clean the staircase – the base and the rail

Living Room, Family Room and Great Rooms:

  • Vacuum every piece of the furniture (especially if you have pets) and a little deodorizing spray
  • Vacuum lampshades and clean bases
  • Wash or dry clean all draperies (make sure they are in style before going to the effort and cost)
  • Clean on top of the ceiling fans (super important – you don’t want any sweaters up there!)

Dining Room:

  • Take everything out of the china cabinet and wash and dust inside and outside
  • Vacuum seat cushions and add deodorizing spray
  • Have rugs professionally cleaned
  • Clean chandelier with ammonia and water


  • Remove everything from your cabinets and clean them
  • Wash the items in the cabinets if they aren’t sparkling
  • Clean the oven until its sparkling
  • Remove everything from under the sink, clean, inspect for leaking pipes and only put back what you absolutely need
  • Take everything off the counter tops, clean and only put back stylish appliances like the Kuerig and a stainless toaster
  • Clean, degrease or even paint above the stove
  • Clean the top of the refrigerator
  • Clean above the cabinets if they aren’t attached to a soffit
  • Clean all lighting fixtures
  • Clean the inside of the refrigerator until its sparkling (yes, people do look and especially if you are intending to leave them)
  • Scrub and shine the sink


  • Wash and fluff all bedding
  • Wash or dry clean all draperies (again, make sure they are in style)
  • Clean lighting and ceiling fans
  • Take down everything from the table tops and shelving, clean and dust, replace only stylish items


  • Clean sinks and faucets until gleaming
  • Check under sink for repairs and leaks; take out everything, clean each item and replace only the essentials
  • Clean all lighting fixtures with ammonia and water
  • Vacuum out the vents and fan
  • Clean the glass shower surround and apply Rain Ex (for car windows) to help to deter water spots
  • Clean shower scum off of the walls
  • Pull out old grout and put in new around the base of the shower
  • Clean all spouts for hard water corrosion (remove the screen and soak in vinegar)


  • Clean all shelving
  • Clean entire door from garage into the house
  • Clean garage door buttons
  • Clean all cobwebs and window sills
  • Sweep out and power wash if you can
  • Degrease and remove any stains

Download and print: cleaning list

Clean every inch, of every space, in your home.  It not only will look great but will feel uplifting and Buyers will be eager to inspect every inch.  I have found that even in a home that needs updating, if its super clean, it gives the impression that the home was really cared for.  When the Buyer goes to update, they won’t worry about what they might uncover.

A professional cleaning service in Las Vegas charges about $250 for a deep cleaning in a home under 2000 square feet.  Email me if you would like some recommendations for a few companies that I use.

I’m a Realtor in Las Vegas, Nevada but have a network of great Agents across the country.  I can help you find one in your area too.

Happy Home Selling!


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