Spring is the season of renewal and rejuvenation spring-cleaning, so it’s an ideal time to get your home ready for summer – an added benefit is a few simple improvements can increase the value of your home
WORDS: NICKY OBEL
There is nothing quite like a proper spring-cleaning your home – it almost feels like a rebirth. It’s cathartic in a way – it can free us up to live a more decluttered life and give us the opportunity to be our best selves. The ever-present pandemic has also made us more virus-alert, which means sanitation is now a priority too, especially if you want to put your house on the market.
BUYERS BLOSSOM IN SPRING
Seasonal trends show spring is a good time to put your house on the market. It’s perhaps because it is getting warmer and people want to get out of their homes to spend more time outdoors. According to Gerhard van der Linde, managing director for Seeff Pretoria East, South Africans are usually in a much better mood when it is warmer, and sellers can achieve higher prices during the spring and summer months. “Buyers often want to move before the end of the year or at least early in the new year, which means they will now be actively looking and putting in offers.” Prepping your house for sale, is extra motivation to do a proper spring cleaning – and perhaps some minor renovations.
The reality of the pandemic has made us super-focused on keeping our homes extra clean with high levels of hygiene now part of our daily rituals. This is a great step in the direction of spring-cleaning your home. “People’s general knowledge of cleaning materials and its value have increased,” says Emma Corder, MD of cleaning products manufacturer Industroclean.
“Spring-cleaning, if done properly, involves a general deep cleaning of every part of your house. It’s not just those extra things you weren’t able to do early in the year. Now is a good time to make sure you prepare your home for the change of season and protect it against the effects of the pandemic.”
Lockdown is an opportunity to tackle our untidiness more frequently and more significantly. However, spending months under your roof, often working from home, can see your space’s general cleanliness go south quickly. “Cleaning to prevent a viral infection, like the coronavirus, looks a bit different to a regular cleaning or seasonal ‘toss-out’ but the fundamentals of spring-cleaning remain the same,” says Mike Greeff, CEO, Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.
The thought of cleaning out an entire room, decluttering an overflowing cupboard or deciding what to keep and what to toss out, can be daunting and even cause some anxiety. Greeff suggests having, “a plan that outlines the areas you want to tackle, a flexible schedule for time allocated to each area, the various products you’re going to need, and even – if necessary – cleaning techniques or tips that could help you work more efficiently”.
Go through each area of your home, room by room and appliance by appliance, before deciding which part of the exercise you want to tackle first. This way you’ll have a more organised approach to your spring-cleaning. Ask yourself if you really need an item, or if it will be missed if given away. Sort through wardrobes overflowing with clothes that take up hanging and packing space.
Once you tackle the kitchen, you may find you do not need all those platters in your cupboards or 12 glass vases gathering dust. Try to only keep your favourite and most utilised items. Then go for outlying areas – from the windows and the doors to the knobs, light switches and floors. Soon you’ll live in a sparkling clean home, ready to open up for prospective buyers to admire.
If you are considering putting your house up for sale, be careful before diving into renovations too quickly. “Estate agents generally agree that there’s a ceiling on home prices in most neighbourhoods, so massive renovations don’t always deliver a good return on investment,” says Shafeeqah Isaacs, head of financial education at personal loan specialists DirectAxis. “Rather consider the smaller, cosmetic changes that will make your home more appealing.”
A freshly painted exterior, neat garden and clean windows all point to a house that is cared for. Estate agents call it ‘curb appeal’ and doing the research is easy. Take a tour around the neighbourhood and consider which houses you’d visit on a show day. Rob Knowles, owner of Q-Gardens, says nothing detracts from an otherwise lovely garden than a tatty lawn. So put in some elbow grease and get rid of piled-up garden refuse, clean your walkways, remove weeds and place some plants strategically – it can hide a multitude of sins.