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Cleaning the Counter

The first impression can make or break the interest of a buyer. If the initial impression isn’t agreeable, the sale may not happen as quickly as you would like. Be sure to create a warm atmosphere. You have one shot and one shot only for a positive first impression. The following suggestions will help.


  • Mulch flowerbeds and landscaped areas. 

  • Cut back overgrown landscaping or anything blocking sidewalks including overhanging trees, ivy, etc. 

  • A clean exterior lets people know you really take care of your home. Wash the front of the house if dusty or dirty or repaint if necessary.

  • Make sure the front porch is clean and uncluttered. (A pot of flowers is a nice touch by the front door.) Don’t forget to sweep ceilings and corners for unwanted cobwebs and wasp nests. Paint if necessary. 

  • Make sure front porch light is clean, attractive and working (and free of dead bugs). 

  • If gutters need cleaning, go ahead and clean. 

  • Paint, tidy or improve mailbox, if needed.

  • Paint front door if needed.


  • De-clutter! Remember less is more! If a room has too much furniture, put some in storage. Make rooms seem as spacious as possible. 

  • If there are too many pictures on walls, take the majority down and put in storage. Don’t distract potential buyers. 

  • Give the appearance that you have lots of counter top space by cleaning off your kitchen counter tops. Put toasters, microwaves and overall “stuff” in the pantry or a cupboard. 

  • Make it look like you have a lot of storage by cleaning out closets and putting items into storage you don’t use every day. Every buyer is looking for lots of storage space. 

  • Clean cobwebs from the corners of ceilings, floors and light fixtures.

  • Clean any dead bugs out of light fixtures.

  • Dust and wash your baseboards. 

  • Make sure the light bulbs in all lights are working. If they are burned out, change them. (There is nothing more frustrating for a potential buyer than to look at a house at night and not be able to see in a room. There are a lot of people who can only look at homes in the evening after work). 

  • Clean your windows, window sills, curtains and blinds! Sunlight streaming through the house makes it more warm and inviting.

  • Clean and de-clutter you linen closet! Again, less is more! Make those closets look huge! 

  • Paint if there is any chipping paint or walls in bad shape. If you don’t, you’ll pay for it in price later. 

  • If you don’t need to paint, make sure you clean your door trim to get rid of fingerprints, dirt and smudge. 

  • Caulk is a wonder – fixer and extremely easy to use! If you see anything that has cracks and needs caulking, then do it (tile, trim, windows, etc.). 

  • If you have any stains on ceilings from previous water leaks, roof leaks, etc., then paint it. 


  • If you have leaky faucets, running toilets, plugs not working, etc., repair them. 

  • If you don’t change the air filter on your central heat and air regularly, change it before going on market, and vacuum out return.

  • Clean ceiling fan blades and bathroom exhaust fans of dust.

  • If HVAC needs servicing, do it now!

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