As a seller you must realize a few basic, but imperative facts before you host your Open House. Remember, some people prefer to spend the majority of their time in the living room, some on the patio or front porch, some in a multi-media room, but one common denominator is that we all eat. That makes the kitchen in the running as the most important room in an open house, if not the most important. You’re going to have to deep-clean, declutter, and touch up whatever you can. Luckily, we’ve put together this pathologically complete checklist to help make sure you forget nothing.

Don’t make it hard on yourself: The night before, don’t fry fish, don’t whip up a new batch of kimchi, and don’t cook bacon the morning of the open house. Go out for dinner! Order takeout! Please?

Clean out the fridge! We all know that buyers will look in your refrigerator. They’re just nosy that way. Give them something to look at—a spotless interior. Then wipe down the outside, too.

Clean those floors! Nothing says turnoff like a trail of crumbs on the kitchen floor. If you have hardwood or tile flooring, vacuum and damp mop, making sure to get in all the dark corners. If you haven’t yet replaced your linoleum, sweep, mop, and wax it.

Make it shine. If you have stainless-steel appliances, take care of them properly. Wipe them down with the proper cleaning supplies. Honestly, one spray and a little elbow grease, and they’ll look brand-new.

Clean those stovetop drip pans—or better yet, replace them! A rusty, crusty drip pan can make your stove look older than it is. If you don’t have time to scrub them clean, spend a few bucks to replace them.

Degrease that hood. Those vents are grease magnets. Clean the filter before the open house. You may need to dig out the user manual to learn how to remove it, soak it, and make it make shine.

Clean the light-switch plates. Those switch plates can get splattered with grease or, worse, show years of fingerprints and dirt. If they can’t be freshened up, replace them—all of them.

Debug your light fixtures. See those dark spots in your overhead light fixture? Those are dead bugs! Clear the carcasses and wipe the glass clean.

Granite should sparkle. Most people wipe their countertops clean with the same dish sponge they use to wash their dishes. Let’s take it a step further. Use granite polish to wipe on a shine that will make buyers think you spent thousands of dollars on new granite just for them.

Countertops should be spotless. Nothing impresses buyers more than endless stretches of pristine countertop. So it’s time to stow the toaster, the Vitamix, the burr grinder, the rice cooker—all those appliances that take up valuable real estate.

Clean the microwave. You’ve already polished the stainless steel, now clean the inside. Few buyers will open the microwave and check inside, but for those who do, let’s not greet them with years of caked-on food splatters.

Clean the cabinets, inside and out. No one really cares if your canned peas are next to your canned tomatoes, but buyers do care about space. Now’s the time to purge: Do you really need that tin of Spanish octopus? A buyer should be able to open the cabinet door and see the back of the cabinet wall. And while you’re at it, get a pail of water and Murphy Oil Soap and wash your cabinets.

Update your knobs. Cabinet knobs installed in the 1980s can make a kitchen look dated. But upgrading them is easy: Just buy new ones, then install them. Presto! Your kitchen is awesome(ish).

Don’t bake cookies! Baking cookies seems like a nice gesture for buyers, but the trend has run its course. Just have a clean kitchen—everyone appreciates that.

No need to set the table. The kitchen is all about space. If you’re lucky enough to have an eat-in kitchen, let it speak for itself. A clutter-free kitchen with clean, expansive surfaces will do way more than a set of fancy dinner plates.

Flowers are always nice. The one exception to the clutter-free countertop rule is a vase of fresh flowers. Who doesn’t love a pleasant smell ?


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