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Getting your Champaign IL home ready for a walk through can be frustrating, especially when you're still living in your home, but keeping your home clean as you take all the necessary steps to sell your home is key; things like removing the personal items, staging, and ramping up your curb appeal.  Hiring a professional cleaning service isn't a bad idea, but those expenses add up over time.  So, here are some tricks to help you clean your house in a hurry, and  you'll be ready for a walk-through or a surprise visit from your inlaws, at a moments notice!

The trick is to start with the big rooms and move to the small:

1. Kitchen 15 minutes

  • Remove Clutter from all counter tops, cabinets and tables.
  • Clean Counters and Cabinets Wipe down counters and cabinets with all-purpose cleaner, speed up your process by brushing all crumbs and such on the floor (you'll sweep later).
  • Wipe Appliances Wipe down the fridge, dishwasher and cooktop areas as well as microwaves, toasters, etc.  
  • Load Dishes into your dishwasher.
  • Sweep and Mop Starting from the back and working your way to the front sweep those crumbs up and mop.  

2. Living and Dining Rooms 10 minutes

  • Clean Up The Clutter put anything that's out of place in boxes or drawers...if you put it in boxes, you're going to have to neatly hide the boxes somewhere.
  • Ditto for the Dust! Dust tables, fireplaces, mantels, window blinds and shades.  If any dust happens to fall on the floor, no worries, you will vaccuum at the end.  Don't forget to dust the ceiling fans and bookshelves... get yourself a long armed duster.  
  • Make that Glass Sparkle! Use glass cleaner to wipe down anything made of glass.
  • Ramp up the Vaccuum Now... vacuum all the dust you just put on your floor and on to the next room. 

3. Bathrooms 10 minutes

  • Start With Sink and Tub wipe down the sink and shower/tub with a good all purpose cleaner.
  • Clean the Toilet Thoroughly scrub the bowl with a brush, finish by scrubbing the outer area with a rag.
  • Wipe Mirror with your glass cleaner.  Start from the top corner and work your way down in a circular motion, think karate kid, "wax on...".
  • Wash The Sink Scrub the spots around the sink and fixtures with a brush to free up the grime, then finish with a rag and cleaner.  
  • Wipe the Shower/Tub Use a damp rag to wipe the shower and tub, if there are any tough-grimey spots, use a hard cleaner and brush to remove it...but don't scrub too hard. 
  • Mop the Floor Use a mop to quickly clean the floor of your bathroom, starting at the far corner and then working your way back to the door.

4. Bedrooms 10 minutes

  • Remake the Beds Remove the linens and replace with fresh ones so they look clean and crispy.  Don't forget to tuck the sheets in at the corner, go for the 5 star hotel feel, neat and crisp!‚Äč
  • Clear the Clutter Everything out of sight! Use drawers, baskets, the closet...you can organize more later.
  • Clean Furniture Wipe down furniture with a moist cloth or use a vacuum with hose attachment to suck up the dust.
  • Dust everything! tables, furniture, lamps, closets, shelves, ceiling fans, mirrors...everything.

Try these steps before your next showing, and be amazed at how quickly this can all be done.  If you are no longer living in the home or will be out of town you can hire a cleaning service and have this done for around $150. Check out my website for area businesses who are trusted individuals or companies who will provide these services in the area:  Preferred Vendors

For more Home Selling tips you can visit my website or check out my Facebook page.  Better yet, give me a call or stop in to see me!  I've been helping people Buy and Sell homes in the Champaign/Urbana area for 20+ years very successfully....and I'd like to do the same for you!

DIY Painting: Getting Started

by Rose Price

Many people know that painting is one of the easier home improvement efforts you can make yourself. If you have the time, and doing it right does take time, then you can save a lot of money if you can do at least the basics yourself. And that's what we're talking about today, giving your rooms a face-lift without the expense of painting contractors.

What are you painting and how do you want it to look when you're finished? Color is beyond the scope of this discussion, so let's wrap up that point by saying that unless you're going to live with the color for a good, long time, don't get  too crazy: You'll wind up having to tone it down when you decide to sell.  

You probably know there are a variety of interior paint types you can work with, but in general, you're going to use a flat, non-reflective finish on the main walls and semi-gloss or gloss finish on trim, moulding, baseboards, and door and window frames. You'll get great advice for your particular situation from the folks at your local paint store or in the painting section of Lowes or Home Depot.

How much paint to you need? You'll need to determine how many square feet you'll need to cover. Simply measure the height and width of each wall (in feet) and multiple those numbers together. If you have a lot of windows or doors along the wall, you'll want to subtract the square feet they take up from the total square feet. The paint can itself should tell you how many square feet it will cover.  Remember, paint left over is great for when you need to do repairs or touch-ups later!

You'll also need the tools to do the job: Brushes, rollers, roller tray, painter's tape and drop clothes. Don't skimp on these items - the quality will make a difference! Make sure you have a sturdy ladder. And grab some  face masks, because breathing those fumes isn't good for anyone! For more on the tools you'll need, here's expert painter Grady Johnson:

Before you start painting, you'll need to ensure your walls are ready. You're going to have big problems if you don't take care here. You need the painting surface to be in great shape, and that means fixing holes or other damage, and make sure the wall is free of dust and debris. You're going to also need to make sure you have plenty of space to work in and that the floor and any items in the room are properly protected with drop cloths.

For more details, let me suggest these articles on Sherwin-Williams.com, or the TLC network's articles on HowStuffWorks.com. And stay tuned here for the next step, actually putting the paint on the walls!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
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