My husband and I are about to close on our second short sale purchase. The house, like our current home, is in a “lived-in” condition, as the buyers left some of the items they couldn’t take with in the home and didn’t do the traditional cleaning most traditional sales view as customary. The standard is broom swept, meaning that there are no visible crumbs, stains, etc., yet when we found our new homes in less than broom swept condition, my husband and I created the following cleaning check-list:
Professionally clean the carpets.
We own a steam carpet cleaner, however felt that a new home requires a professional clean. Both of our homes had animal stains on the carpets and it was crucial that we had the carpets spot treated to remove and sanitize the animal odor. We eventually replaced the carpet in our current home and plan to do the same in our new home, but our budget only allows for a good deep cleaning. Helpful tip: We waited until we found a coupon in our local ValPak coupon book.
Clean out the vents, furnace and dryer vents.
Whether the previous owners had pets or not, it’s important to clean the vents, furnace and dryer vents from potential pet dander, dust and buildup. It usually is recommended to clean these items every few years, and you never know what schedule the previous owner kept. Helpful tip: when cleaning these items, consider a UV light to purify the air quality in your home to hospital-grade. My family has allergies and asthma and we noticed an improvement in our symptoms after installing. You can professionally install one, or you can install yourself to save money.
Clean and replace humidifier filters.
We learned the hard way that it only takes a few months to build up a layer of mold and mildew on humidifier filters. In our own home, we forgot to replace the filter and after six months, we found several layers of black mold on the filter. I can only imagine how much buildup is on humidifier filters that haven’t been changed in years.
Unclog drains and consider pipe cleaning.
Unclogging the drains is a pretty easy DIY trick. However, it also can be helpful to replace the faucet covers and thoroughly clean with bleach. We found chunks of old hair and mildew in our sink covers, and found a good bleach cleaning after the drain unclogging did wonders for the odor. Furthermore, if you have an older house with low water presser, consider blowing out the pipes to remove years of water buildup. There’s a great discussion on the topic on the NEPA Cross Roads Blog here. We used this process on an older home we flipped and the faucets went from a slow drip to a steady stream.
With a little TLC, your new home will feel clean, safe and homey in no time.