When a house is on the market, it becomes less the owner’s home and more of a display item. Nowhere is this more important to remember than in the bathroom. Buyers don’t want to see the seller’s personal hygiene items, moldy remnants of steamy showers or a soap scum covered collection of empty shampoo bottles. They want to be confident that this most private of rooms is well maintained and sanitized.
Preparing a bathroom for touring potential buyers is a four step process: clean, repair, sanitize and spruce.
Folks will notice a filthy shower. So, spend some time here. Remove personal items – cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, shave cream, razor, body sponges – from the shower/tub area. Discard items that are unnecessary and store the rest under the sink. Test the faucets and showerhead. Do the faucets turn off all the way? If not, change the washers. Is the water spraying freely from the showerhead? No? Then remove it and check to see if it is clogged. If it still doesn’t work properly after cleaning, replace it. Carefully examine tiles and the tub. Does the tub have chips and discoloration? It may need to be resurfaced or replaced. How do the tiles look? Any loose pieces or chips? Are there cracks in the grout? Scrub the bathtub, tiles and grout until they are mold and mildew free. Regrout gaps between tiles. Scrape and replace discolored caulking. When the shower and bathtub have been overhauled, top off your repairs with a new, crisp shower curtain or liner in a neutral color.
Take a good look at the ceiling and walls. Do you see any mold, mildew, finger prints or grime? If so, scrub it with bleach. Cracking or curling paint should be scraped and repainted in a neutral color.
A rule of thumb: Place only three items on the vanity area. Many real estate experts suggest these include potpourri, a new or clean filled soap dispenser and a plant. It is a good idea to keep the toilet tank top cleared as prospective buyers and inspectors may want to peek inside it.
After the big clean-up and repair job in the bathroom, it is important to maintain the fresh smell and appearance each day the house is on the market. The space should be kept uncluttered, clean and sanitized. It should reflect well on the house of which it is a part and offer few glimpses of the personalities who currently live there.
At this point, a homeowner enters the sprucing-up stage. After cleaning every nook and cranny in the bathroom, it is time to add the finishing touches. All dirty towels and wash cloths, bath mats and robes should be removed. A clean set of towels should be displayed before the house is shown. Trash baskets should be emptied and floors wiped daily. All personal grooming items-tooth brushes, make-up, combs and brushes, hair dryers, perfume, etc.- should be tucked away, preferably in a container and stored in a drawer or cabinet.