Nowadays staging your home for potential buyers is a must-do. Experts suggest thinning furniture to make rooms look bigger, removing family pictures so potential buyers can imagine their family in the home and trimming back overgrown trees to ensure your home has curb appeal.
But the devil, of course, is in the details — and the follow-through. Your house is not expected to be in catalog condition, but potential buyers won’t forgive some frankly disgusting stuff that you might have overlooked in your haste to pretty things up.
With some expert help, we've gathered the top issues in your home that are causing you to unwittingly gross out your potential buyers. Some of these problem areas are quick fixes, while others will take a little more planning and effort to resolve. Start addressing the ick factor now and you'll be wowing your buyers in no time.
1. Dirty bathrooms
OK, this one shouldn't come as any kind of surprise. But just in case you didn't already know, your unkempt bathroom is really grossing people out.
Rings around the tub, orange grime on the corners of the shower floor and toothpaste spit in the sinks are not just visually unappealing, but also make potential buyers wonder how well the house has been maintained. It’s crucial to keep everything pristine while your house is on the market.
Pro tip: After cleaning and sanitizing your sink, tub, and toilet, run a microfiber cloth along your baseboards to catch any dust that's almost certainly collected there.
2. Water stains
Water stains on the ceiling or moldy, rotting wood around the windows is guaranteed to be gag-inducing (and have your potential buyers wondering what other moldy grossness is lurking in your walls just out of sight). Fix stains — and fast.
The key here is repaired — not concealed. Concealing problems will open up all kinds of problems later.
3. Your shower curtain liner
You know what we're talking about: Nobody wants to see your discolored or mildewed liner when they take a peek at the shower to evaluate where they will, you know, get clean.
Toss your liner into the washer with a cup of vinegar and a few towels; run a short cycle for five minutes, then let everything soak for an hour. Complete the wash cycle and hang the liner up to dry. Or better yet, skip the mocha lattes for a couple of days and splurge for a new liner.
4. Pet hair
Nothing says "buy our home" like tufts of dog hair floating across your living room tumbleweeds-style. An easy solution: Vacuum daily. If you're strapped for time (or just plain lazy), invest in a set-it-and-forget-it robotic vacuum.
If you get a call about a potential buyer who wants to view the home say, in the next five minutes, tap into this trick from cleaning pro Lily Cameron, at One-Off Cleaning Services: Grab some rubber gloves and run them over the surface you want to clean (like your couch).
When rubbed against fabrics, rubber generates a lot of static electricity, so it will quickly gather all the pet hair on your upholstery. Some of the most popular rubber items that will do the trick are gloves, shoes and even balloons — which are a particularly entertaining way to get your kids involved.
5. Carpet in the dining room
This one is a real gem. How clean can a dining room carpet be when food is constantly falling on it?
Granted, if you have wall to wall carpet you probably don't want to deal with it right at this moment, but if you have an area rug under the table, save yourself the time and effort of cleaning it every day and just remove it. In fact, stagers will love that solution as the room looks bigger without the rug!
6. Carpet in the bathroom
Even worse than food in the carpet is, well, the kind of stuff you'd find in the vicinity of a toilet. Plus, carpeted bathroom floors are a breeding ground for mold and mildew, due to the room being a high-moisture area.
Unless you've splurged on mildew- and stain-resistant carpet (which will likely be lost on your buyers, anyway), rip up your fuzzy flooring, pronto.
Carpet in general can be a source of problems, especially if you own pets and prospective buyers have allergies or asthma.
7. Fuzzy toilet seat covers
We can't believe this is still a thing. But alas, here we are, and guests will certainly be grossed out for all the same reasons as above. These things are germ magnets, given their proximity to the throne. Banish them and don't look back.
8. That Squatty Potty
They're all the rage, but let's be honest: These toilet stools, which promise "a royal squatting experience that simply can't be imitated," carry with them some rather explicit associations.
They have a medical-device and unsanitary look that makes people think of hospitals, senior citizens centers, and, well, other unsavory connotations. Children's potty chairs, while more colorful, create the same impression.
Your best bet? Hide 'em before your home is shown.
9. Old sponges and the like
Old sponges won’t instill your potential buyers with confidence that your home is clean and well kept and should most certainly be tossed after a week or so of use anyway. Hide all cleaning cloths when potential buyers are around.
10. Your slow-draining shower
Believe it or not, many buyers like to turn the water on in the bathroom to make sure everything is in working order. If your drain is clogged, invest in some Drano or hire a plumber to investigate the source of any backup.
11. Sticky cabinets
Our experts tell us that tacky (as in sticky) cabinet surfaces —typically the result of grease buildup from months and years of cooking — are a major cringe-inducer for potential buyers.
Make sure to wipe down not only your countertops, but also the your cabinet fronts and the top of your hood range before potential buyers view your home. And prevent future gunk by replacing the filters in your hood regularly and using your stove's fan (and/or opening windows) when frying food.
The bottom line - gross is never good when you are trying to sell your home. Paying close attention to those little details can make a big difference to potential buyers and how quickly your house is sold.