Clean It or Remove It: Raising Your Home’s Value

Toronto hoarder houseHere is a picture I took two years ago of a Toronto city crew removing 3 bins of junk from an east-end hoarder’s house.   It took them 3 days to clear it out.

Statistic:  41% of surveyed real estate professionals put dirt, smells and clutter on the list of costliest home-selling mistakes 

This is the easy and most cost effective way to add value in the sale price of your home.  When I am showing prospective buyers a home nothing puts us off more than a dirty house crammed full of junk.

If you are looking to make a good first impression then spend the time and energy to ensure it is a good one.  When I say clean I mean pretend it’s  a first date or you are inviting the boss over for dinner.  You know they will have their antennae up and evaluating you on how you live with your home.  If you are sloppy and cavalier in your home life then it could be a clear indication of what’s in the future for a potential partner or employer.  Lets say a second date or promotion will be very problematic.

Now you can either to the clean-up and de-cluttering yourself or hire a professional to do the work.

Lets go down the cleaning road first and the cost for hiring cleaners could run between $200 to $500. When we say cleaning it is not the just the regular weekend housework.  We are calling for shampooing carpets, drapes/blinds cleaned, floors waxed, thorough vacuuming, wiping down all surfaces and windows washed.

Just because it looks clean doesn’t mean it smells clean.  What do we all do when walking into a home for the first time?  Yes the smell test.     So whether it’s cooking, mold, odd aromas, weird odors, mildew, animal smells or your favourite pumpkin scented air freshener they all have to go.  Most of these can be dealt with on your own with either:

  • eliminating the source
  • airing out the space
  • buying a dehumidifier
  • or cleaning with bleach or detergent

Remember once you get rid of the smell don’t welcome it back until after the sale.

As the great comedian George Carlin said “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff”.  So what you need to do is reverse this, so a house is not a place to keep your stuff but one where you get ride of your stuff.

The easiest way to clear out unnecessary belongings is to follow one simple rule.  If the item adds no potential sale value then it has no functionality in the sale of your home. Whether jettisoning Christmas decorations or a garage full of old lawn furniture the goal is highlighting the space not cramming the space with superfluous and distracting  stuff.  A closet chocked full of clothes does not appeal to anyone.

The goal here is to de-personalize your home in order that buyers are better able to visualize themselves living in your house.

When all is said and done the question is how will this impact on your selling price.

Expected Costs:  Between $0 and $2,000

Potential Return on Selling Price:  Between 3% and 5%

For the costs the return more than enhances your potential gain.  First impressions are important in initial encounters, so put in the effort and let your home shine.