Deep Cleaning & Repairs

The work has begun. We decided to do deep cleaning on our own and save money for the repairs that we can’t handle. We may invest in a maid later on to help keep the house tidy when it’s on the market. After all, with full time jobs, 2 kids and a dog, it will be tough to keep the house show-time ready every day! The general rule of thumb is to never leave the house a mess. Make beds in the morning, put away dishes, wipe down surfaces, etc. Realistically, our house will be on the market during the school year, so having someone come in during the day to help do these things will be worthwhile. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Deep cleaning is more than your weekly routine. It means under appliances, behind big furniture, in corners, and all of those places you tend to overlook. A dirty house suggests to buyers that you neglect it, and they’ll begin to wonder what else you’ve ignored. Needed repairs will make them wonder even more! A list of suggestions:

  • Dust baseboards (fantastic tip, thanks to Pinterest- use dryer fabric softener sheets to repel dust!)
  • Clean under appliances like refrigerator, oven, washer, and dryer. Don’t forget the top of your fridge, too!
  • Dust spider webs from corners
  • Dust fan blades (another tip from Real Simple magazine- use an old pillowcase! Dampen it slightly and put it over the blade to catch dust bunnies!)
  • Wipe down cabinets and shelves. If your cabinets have open space on top, dust there.
  • Clean window blinds and window framses. Don’t forget the track! Run curtains in the dryer on low or no heat with a dryer sheet, if the fabric is dryer-friendly. Check the tag.
  • Scrub grout
  • Clean carpets. You can rent or borrow a machine, if you don’t have one, or hire professionals.
  • Consider hiring a company to clean air conditioner ducts, especially if the air has a dingy smell. Most carpet cleaners offer this service, too.
  • Pest control. We normally use a spray from Home Depot, but it might be worth having a company like Terminix do a treatment before the house goes on the market. Make sure you’re not getting into a contract, ask for a one-time treatment! These companies often clean off spider webs and wasp nests from the eaves outside, which is a nice plus!
  • Clean out light fixtures. Have a glass bowl type light? You probably have a nice collection of dead bugs and dust in there. Ew! Don’t forget outdoor light fixtures, too.
  • Clean slow drains (baking soda and vinegar work well for most, get some Drain-o or another product if that doesn’t clear up the problem).
  • Dust closet bars, shelves, and baseboards
  • Deep clean fridge and oven- we will most likely convey all of the kitchen appliances with the house, since they all match.
  • Sweep and power wash garage
  • Clean out fireplace (Another Real Simple magazine tip makes this much easier! Remove as much of the ashes as you can with a shovel and pail (be sure they’re completely cool first!) Then I used a grill cleaner, scrub brush, and bucket of warm water.
  • Have someone inspect the chimney to see if cleaning is needed. We didn’t use the fireplace very often, maybe 2-3 fires per year. Experts recommend having it cleaned annually, though.

There are some great cleaning tips on and

Our repair list is long, but most are minor repairs. Our house isn’t that old, so we don’t have to deal with a lot of aging issues, thank goodness. I’ll post our list to give you an idea of what to look for:

  • Nail down loose roofing shingles from a wind storm
  • Check the attick for roof leaks and *gulp* any critters
  • Replace broken or warped fence boards
  • Replace some rotten wood trim around a door
  • Repaint a column outisde (paint has peeled in the weather)
  • Replace a damaged baseboard
  • Add some grout in the kitchen to smooth out the surface
  • Fill in a few cips in the wood floor
  • Clean carpets
  • Re-paint my daughter’s Hannah Montana purple bedroom
  • Fix a broken faucet in one of the bathrooms
  • Replace a window lock that broke
  • Replace a set of window blinds due to broken slats
  • Paint front door
  • Fill in an empty spot in the front garden
  • Clean air conditioner coil outside
  • Replace weather stripping around doors
  • Texture a spot where drywall was replaced
  • Replace counter tops- This is partly cosmetic, but our cheap-o builder’s grade laminate countertops have warped and stained some.
  • Replace a cracked diswasher panel
  • Fill in nail holes
  • Touch-up paint all over
  • Power wash and stain fence- Another one that’s partly cosmetic. Since we’re replacing some boards, we don’t want the new ones to stick out like a sore thumb!

We also plan to hire a home inspector to isnpect our home before any buyers. This way, there won’t be any surprises and we can address any unseen issues before they scare a buyer away. Inspectors are about $350 where I live for my type of house. Generally, inspectors charge about $300-500. Expect to pay more if you have a pier & beam foundation, multi-story home, have a pool or hot tub, or a historic home. Your Realtor can recommend home inspectors and give you a ballpark estimate of costs.

Providing the inspector’s report to potential buyers will be an added benefit that might help sell  your house. It could potentially save them money, if they choose to accept your inspector’s report over hiring their own, and gives them peace of mind that there won’t be any expensive surprises.