Does Your House Have to Be Spotless to Sell? Get Spring Cleaning Tips From Our Real Estate Experts

Does Your House Have to Be Spotless to Sell? Get Spring Cleaning Tips From Our Real Estate Experts


A top-to-bottom cleaning is the one thing you absolutely cannot skimp on when getting ready to sell your home. Take it from us, your friendly yet fastidious real estate experts. With spring in the air and the selling season hot like a mid-summer day, we compiled the top spring cleaning tips to get you started.

You might be looking around and thinking, "The place looks good enough to me." We get it. You already vacuumed, dusted, and got that toilet bowl sparkling, which is passible for dinner guests or a parent's visit. But it's still not good enough.

Bay Area homebuyers might not carry around white gloves, but they do have high standards to match the region's high prices.


“Our philosophy is you have one chance when you hit the market, so you need to be as clean and pristine as possible.” ~ Realtor Mary Anne LaHaye, Abio Properties

We polled our Abio Properties team (40 agents strong and counting!) and compiled this checklist:

  • Clean windows, screens and sills. Abio agent Mary Anne LaHaye says windows are the first thing she looks at when assessing cleanliness. “It makes all the difference in the world to look out a sparkling window into the front yard or backyard. It’s also an indication of how well you took care of the house.” Hire a pro to save time and avoid bent screens and ladder mishaps.
  • Wipe walls and floorboards. If you aren’t repainting, then wipe away  fingerprints and scuffs. Use a wet cloth with mild soap. We also like Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but they are best for white walls. (The product might fade paint colors if you rub too hard.)
  • “Repair” scuffed woodwork. Short of refinishing, you can reduce the look of superficial scratches. Use a product like Restor-A-Finish on affected spots. Or try this DIY remedy and let us know how it works: Mix one part white vinegar and three parts canola oil and rub it into the scuff. (Always test new products on a small patch first!)


>> How Much Is Your Home Worth Today? Type the Address Here


  • De-Stink Do’s. Pets, cigarettes, moisture, and last week’s pot roast are scents you might be nose numb to, but they linger and are a big turnoff. Open the windows, take out the trash regularly, remove bathroom mold with bleach and water, and give your dog regular baths.
  • De-Stink Don’ts. Don’t skimp on the carpet cleaning -- hire a pro. “You will gain dollars by doing it right,” Mary Anne says. Also, don’t go crazy with the air fresheners. Some barely mask smells, and others mingle with them (ew, tuna casserole and pine fresh?). When Mary Anne catches a whiff of those deodorizers, she wonders, “What are you hiding?”


  • Dust light fixtures, shades, and bulbs. Yes, even the bulbs.
  • Wipe light switches and switch plate covers. Bring on the Q-Tips.
  • Wipe doorknobs and the area around them.
  • De-cobweb corners and ceilings.
  • Wipe towel racks and toilet paper holders.
  • Vacuum behind and under furniture, where dust bunnies multiply. Some buyers look everywhere.
  • Detail the laundry room. Wipe the top and inside the washer and dryer. Wipe away or vacuum stray lint that is stuck to the surrounding walls and floor.
  • Draperies and blinds should be dusted or vacuumed.
  • Grind a citrus peel in your garbage disposal to help clean and deodorize.
  • Wipe cabinets inside, outside, and top.
  • Exterior light fixtures and door hardware need to be de-cobwebbed and polished.


>> READ MORE: 15 Can't-Miss Staging Tips


Need a recommendation for a cleaning pro or an opinion about whether your home is “clean enough” to sell? Call us at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or email at