Best Return on Preparing Home for Sale: Deep Cleaning

best return on selling home portland

Cleaning your Portland home before listing it on the real estate market is an essential first step. In fact, the best return on your time and money in preparing a Portland home for the real estate market is deep cleaning. You need to clean your house thoroughly before showing — it’s one of the best ways to appeal to buyers. A clean home is one in which they can imagine themselves living; dirt and grime make rooms appear smaller and dimmer. A deep cleaning makes the home feel move in ready, warm, and welcoming. A clean home creates a blank slate for the home buyer to picture themselves living in. 

When you live in any home for a while, things start to disappear. You forget to dust the light fixtures or change out those dead light bulbs. Hasn’t it always been that way? A detailed, deep cleaning brings things to mind you probably simply haven’t noticed in a while. Best practice, if you’re able, is to hire a pro cleaner to go through the house prior to market, at least once, then follow up and finish it off as necessary.

Please don’t use toxic cleaners.

Few stop to consider that we don’t actually know what the ingredients commonly found in household cleaners are doing to our health and the environment — because the EPA hasn’t tested them. Or that, according to the American Lung Association, some cleaning supplies are flammable or corrosive. It’s no wonder that these substances can cause chronic respiratory problems when inhaled and trigger allergic reactions when contacting skin. Not only that, but scientists have been warning for over a decade that the overuse of antibacterial cleaners is causing new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to flourish, making us sicker in the long run.

Here in Portland, we should also be paying close attention to what we pour down the drain: it may find its way into the two major rivers that run through the city, which are a short distance from the ocean. When the main components of standard detergents, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, end up in the water, they can cause algal blooms and fish die-offs. Municipal water treatment systems eliminate some, but not all of these chemicals. 

Cleaning the house doesn’t have to mean polluting the air and poisoning the water. Viable alternatives to the harsh chemicals exist, but buyer beware: There are no laws governing the use of “green” or “eco-friendly” on product labels that we know of.

Instead, follow these simple steps to avoid toxic cleaning products when you prepare your Portland home for sale:

  1. Avoid aerosols, and any kind of room spray or air freshener. Products sprayed from an aerosol can are likely to contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which may cause a number of health complications, including cancer. If you must use a sprayed air freshener, look for one in a pump bottle. Keep in mind that real estate agents don’t recommend masking odors in the home. If the source of the odor can be eliminated, eliminate it, otherwise be up front with potential buyers. To freshen up a stale-smelling room, open a window or turn on a fan. Even non spray-based products like potpourri, flowers or plug-in air fresheners can trigger allergies for those touring your home. 
  2. Buy products that bear the EPA’s “Safer Choice” label. According to the EPA, every ingredient in Safer Choice products “must meet strict safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment.” 
  3. Try soap and water, spraying with a vinegar solution, or scrubbing with baking soda first. These three cleaning agents will take care of 90% of household grime and you’ll save money in the process! 

Want more tips on preparing your home for sale in Portland? Need a home value estimate from a top 1% seller’s agent in town? Contact us today. 

August 5, 2019

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.