How Clean Does A House Have To Be When Sold?

Laptop with copybook and cup of coffee on bed sheet

Keeping your home in a well-maintained and clean condition is important when selling. But vendors can agonise over just how pristine and perfect it should be. Is a quick tidy before viewings enough? Or does every room need professional deep cleaning? The truth lies somewhere in between. In this guide, we’ll discuss cleaning standards for showcasing your property successfully while selling, without going overboard.

Set the Right Expectations

Firstly, buyers inspect homes closely, so cannot hide dirt or defects easily. However, conveyance of property in “lived-in” condition is normal. Be clear in your marketing that while tidy and cared for, the home remains actively inhabited.

Setting reasonable expectations upfront prevents nagging requests from buyers later on. Deep cleaning is still advised, but perfection is not the goal. Aim for “hotel clean” – visitor-ready at all times without obsessive detailing. Signs of real life add charm. Just ensure the basics like carpets, bathrooms and kitchens are hygienic.

Clean Before Viewings Commence

Make the best first impression by thoroughly cleaning ahead of any viewings or open houses. This prep work entails:

  • Decluttering – pack away excess items so rooms feel spacious.
  • Vacuuming carpets, mopping floors and wiping surfaces.
  • Cleaning kitchen and bathrooms meticulously – scrub sinks, tiles, showers.
  • Removing stains, dust, grime and cobwebs throughout.
  • Wash windows and mirrors until streak-free.
  • Tidying gardens and patios – clear leaves and weeds.
  • Fixing any damage like chipped paintwork immediately.
  • Removing bad odours, and pet hair/mess completely.

This ensures every area looks its absolute best before prospects tour your home. But maintain this standard throughout showings.

Extra Touches To Consider

Some extra touches that can further boost your home’s appeal:

  • Professionally clean carpets and curtains.
  • Hire cleaners for a periodic deep clean.
  • Style rooms nicely – flowers, ornaments etc.
  • Use air fresheners/essential oils for pleasant scents.
  • Touch-up paintwork in neutral tones.
  • Clean out and organise closets.
  • Replace old bedding with crisp new sheets.

These finishing touches create great impressions without going over the top.

Pre-Completion Cleaning

Just before completion day, do a final thorough clean of every room yourself or hire cleaners. This ensures you fulfil any obligations to hand over the property in good condition. Pay particular attention to:

  • Floors – scrub if needed to remove stains/scuffs.
  • Walls – wipe away marks or fingerprints.
  • Doors and cabinets – remove fingerprints and polish.
  • Kitchen appliances – degrease and descale ovens, hobs etc.
  • Bathrooms – scrub tiles, grout, showers to sanitise.
  • Windows – polish inside and out for maximum light.
  • Gardens – clear leaves, litter and sweep patios.
  • Garages/sheds – clean and remove clutter.

This final round removes all traces of wear and tear. Handing over an immaculate interior is the ultimate goodwill gesture your buyers will appreciate.

Areas That Matter Most

When prioritising cleaning, focus efforts on rooms buyers care about most:

  • Kitchen – The heart of any home. Ensure surfaces sparkle and appliances are spotless inside and out. Clear the fridge completely.
  • Bathrooms – Must be scrupulously clean and mildew-free. Buyers will inspect closely.
  • Living Areas – Clear clutter completely and deep clean carpets and upholstery. Remove bad odours.
  • Bedrooms – Provide a fresh inviting feel with clean sheets, zero dust and decluttered spaces.
  • Garden – Neat presentations with cut lawns, trimmed trees and swept patios.

These zones create the strongest first impressions. Clean them meticulously as a priority.

Areas Buyers Forgive Some Mess

Other areas can be less of a focus:

  • Utility rooms – Buyers understand these are inherently messy spaces. Just ensure clean and functional.
  • Lofts – These are mainly for storage. Just tidy and remove any hazards.
  • Cupboards – Contents don’t matter if the interiors are clean. Just remove anything perishable.
  • Kids’ Bedrooms – Keep reasonably tidy but don’t stress over perfection.
  • Garages – Clear obstructions but some cobwebs and dust are inevitable. Just organise neatly.

Buyers sympathise that certain spaces accumulate mess quickly. Target your cleaning time accordingly.


Preparing your home for sale requires cleaning thoroughly but realistically. Set expectations upfront of “hotel clean” standards, then focus on presenting key living spaces spotlessly. Extra touches can enhance impressions without going overboard. With strategic cleaning, you can showcase your property in the best possible light for buyers.

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  • NAPB
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  • Trading Standards

We are proud to be the most regulated property buyer operating in the ‘Quick House Sale’ industry. We are an active member of the NAPB (National Association Of Property Buyers) and are RICS regulated, which means you can have every confidence of selling your home with us quickly & easily.