There are signs the housing market is recovering, but Reuters reports that the pace of recovery is still “painfully slow” and that a recent poll of economists sees home prices rising a paltry 1% this year. So, what can you do in the current market to ensure your home sells as quickly as possible for the highest price? Well, clean of course!
In a recent blog post titled: The Most Powerful and Low-Cost Method for Selling a Home Fast, HomeGain.com reported that a 2011 survey of over 600 home realtors found 99% recommending “thoroughly cleaning and decluttering the home before putting it up for sale.” The poll also suggested a 586% return on money invested in cleaning and decluttering. The blog post also quotes StagedHomes.com experts who say a clean, decluttered and correctly staged home sells in 29 days, on average, compared to 145 days for homes that are neither cleaned nor staged to sell quickly.
How Cleaning Can Increase Value
While a home’s market-value range is determined essentially by things like location, square footage and features (number of bedrooms, baths, etc), the way a home presents can influence whether it sells at the high or low end of its essential range. Increasing the speed of a sale also plays a role. When homes languish on the market, both realtors and buyers begin to see them as less desirable, causing prices to fall.
Presenting a clean, well-maintained home to the market can also help to minimize price erosion in the negotiation process where buyers often succeed at making sellers pay for neglected home maintenance after a home is under pending agreement and essentially off the market.
Something else to consider: new-home construction has been severely depressed for several years. In the coming year or two, existing home sales will compete with a rising supply of new homes. To sell high, older homes will need to look and feel as new as possible.
With that said, here are cleaning considerations for home owners at various stages of market readiness:
- If you think you might place your home on the market within the next year, start decluttering and deep cleaning your home now so it can hit the market in excellent condition, list high and be primed to sell rapidly.
- As soon as you have listed your home, consider also contracting for regular cleaning services to maintain a high standard of clean for the duration of the time your home is on the market. If you’ve done a good job of preparing and staging, this should not be for very long.
- If your home has been on the market for longer than you would like or is earning only lowball offers, consider investing in a professional cleaning service to bring your home to the highest possible standard of clean while you try to maintain your asking price.
- And, even if you have no intention of placing your home on the market any time soon, be sure to clean often and well throughout the life of your homeownership as even the best professional cleaning services cannot overcome damage to your home, for example etching, scratching, impacted dirt and grime, mildews, molds and so forth that can take root and accumulate below the surfaces of your home when it is not cleaned with appropriate frequency or proper techniques.
The name of the game is to have one of the cleanest and best-maintained homes on the market at any given time so you can set a fair market price and sell fast.