Carnes: How do you keep a house spotless when you’re trying to sell it? (column) |

Carnes: How do you keep a house spotless when you’re trying to sell it? (column)

Richard Carnes
My View

It’s a simple question with a simple answer: Put it on the Happy Valley real estate market.

Yes, we’re moving.

Wait, before a few of you get too excited in hopes that I’m following Butch Mazzuca into weekly commentary oblivion, not to worry, as we’re merely downsizing since all of our kids have flown the coop.

I’ve lived longer in our Homestead abode than any other house in my life, 22 years to be exact, and the prospect of moving is daunting (a quick look in our basement says it all …), but my bride and I are ready and we’ve secured a new place in Wildridge.

Sure, it’s exciting, but putting a house on the market is the numero uno source for anti-marital bliss (aka: stress), as every square inch — inside and out — must remain spotless at all times.

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Currently, each day is going something like this:

Receive text from realtor, “Can you be out within the hour?” (Words can be deceiving because this is not actually asked in the form of a question, as it is a clear command — or demand — depending upon the kind of day they are having and is completely irrelevant to the type of day I might be experiencing.)

Jumping out of bed, I take two steps before remembering I must “make it” before taking care of any other morning “business.”

Clothes are important. I remember to put them on before continuing. On to the bathroom.

Brush teeth and then remove toothbrush, toothbrush charger, toothpaste and any other item from the counter and place it into blue bucket my detail-oriented wife has provided in her absence (she conveniently left the country for the month, go figure).

Flush the toilet, making sure the little blue thingy is keeping the water blue enough to cover any potential “stains.”

Quickly do the same for every bathroom in the house while making sure to flip every light switch I pass. Also every lamp. Every ceiling light bulb has already been replaced to match throughout the house, no variation allowed.

With every light in the house shining brightly, I then raise every shade, close every window, empty every trashcan and ensure the laundry bin is closed. No one wants to see my dirty underwear while peeking in the closet.

Down to the kitchen, but first run back upstairs to make sure the cat’s litter box is clean and out of the way (hidden).

Speaking of pets, both of ours remain during showings, as the dog is 13 and the cat torments neighborhood dogs all day. I say a quick prayer to the real estate gods (I’m sure somebody believes in them) that the cat doesn’t run inside with a half-dead chipmunk to impress potential buyers.

She’s done it with guests.

Off to the kitchen, where the stove is turned on for cooking cinnamon rolls (I’m told it’s important) and wiped down, main fridge is opened and shut, making sure only the healthy foods are showing (I’m told it’s important) with bar fridge getting the same treatment, making sure only wine and craft beer are showing, no box wine, Keystone, PBR or anything by Budweiser.

I assume it’s important.

Kitchen drawers are organized, counters are empty and wiped down, mudroom has no mud, car in the garage is clean and dog poop in the yard is tossed.

Last step is to turn on the music throughout the house, but although I love the latest Metallica (their best since the Black Album), I’m not allowed to play anything but generic New Age.

Mellow, smooth and relaxing, just enough to hopefully induce the peaceful feeling of making an offer.

But until then, the house stays spotless.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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