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Nothing Beats Clean

Spotlight on Real Estate Photography

Clean is Better than Cute

When it comes to staging a home for sale, nothing beats clean. That's easy to understand when you think about open houses and showings, because dirt is easy to see up close. Dust, fingerprints, crumbs, cobwebs and their pals will tell the tale on you when your house is not white-glove ready. Many teeny tiny minor items that are easy for a seller to overlook can seem like a waving red flag to a nervous buyer, such as:

  • Random crumbs under a breakfast table might suggest larger relatives behind the appliances

  • An innocent cobweb up high in a corner can scream "SPIDER INFESTATION"

  • Stained grout in a shower will have some potential buyers imagining a wall of mold behind the tile

Sellers should remember, potential buyers are about to make their family's single largest investment. A cute porcelain rooster is not going to clinch the deal and a little dust bunny can scare off your best potential buyer.

For open houses and showings you have to think about the olfactory side of things, too. Google "why can't I smell familiar things" and you'll find article after article about how our noses fail us. For reasons science can't explain, our noses get to know the smells around us and will ignore them. Air fresheners and candles can help, but only for a short while and someone with a sensitive nose can often detect odors the rest of us would miss completely, even with a gallon of freshener in the air. Having an overly-honest friend come sniff your house might be a good idea, but clean is the worst enemy of odor. The cleaner your place is, the less likely a visitor is to smell something "fishy."

No Noses on Online

While no one can smell your home online, photos can give away your dirty little housekeeping secrets. Choosing the right colors for your walls and including signature design elements can create interest, but they will lose out every time to gleaming tile, glowing wood and crystal clear windows. These testimonies to clean are obvious in every photo of your home.

Move-in ready is the key to sold. While potential home-buyers might enjoy television programs about fixer-uppers, real estate agents say there is a growing trend toward turn-key move-ins. Previous home-buyers would overlook tacky wallpaper, worn carpet and bad paint jobs, but not today's buyers. They'll invest more time in searching for the right house than they will in making a good house their own preferences.

Lots of little signals can tell your potential buyer your home is the right house. A photo of a well-organized closet will tell potential buyers the closet will easily hold all of their belongings. A pristine counter top says there is plenty of storage for everything needed. An uncluttered den says there is space for great family times. Buyers know your furniture is leaving, but if your home is cluttered they assume theirs will be also.

In fact, in some cases, photos can actually highlight items that might not be quite so apparent in real life.

  • Grease spots on a kitchen wall

  • Traffic patterns in a carpet

  • Areas of repeated cleaning in a child's room

  • Water damage on a kitchen floor

  • Grout darkened by water exposure

Flaws of this kind can speak volumes to a potential buyer. With so many buyers using the internet to make their initial selection of homes, photos of your home become very important. Start the staging process with a good cleaning and you'll be on your way to sold.

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