Proper cleaning creates a better first impression

How to get your apartment ready for property viewings and photo shoots

When it's time to photograph your apartment or time for a property viewing, you’re going to want to show people all the benefits and make it look as good as possible. The key to a good first impression is proper cleaning, and you don’t need expensive chemicals or equipment to get there. Start by reading the top tips from our cleaning expert.

Spotless floors, polished surfaces, beautiful natural light and a fresh, welcoming scent are just a few of the features you want to offer anyone interested in your apartment. The more of this kind of thing you can offer, the better the overall impression will be and your property will feel more welcoming. Vera is an entrepreneur who has run her own domestic services and corporate cleaning business for almost a decade and has helped out with a large number of house and apartment viewings. She always recommends a major spring clean to begin with.

“It gives you a good basis to work from and makes the apartment viewing easier, but also rids the place of dust, dirt and other buildups that prevent your home from smelling fresh. People viewing your apartment will open cupboards and look behind furniture and radiators, so it pays to be meticulous.”

Tidy first and then clean

If you want to clean effectively, you should first tidy away as much as you can from every surface in the property. If it feels like an uphill struggle, try to remember that you’ll still benefit from having cleared away all your personal items when it’s time for the property viewings and photo shoots. Read more about how to style your apartment here.

“If you have any pets, you should definitely tidy away all of their paraphernalia. Even if blankets, pet baskets and food bowls have been washed, they still smell. Don’t shove things into a cupboard, store everything in a storage area or garage. If there’s a lot of cat or dog hair on your rugs, you can try sprinkling a little baking soda over the surface, waiting for about twenty minutes and then vacuuming. In tight spaces like electrical sockets and skirting boards, or on the sofa, you can try scraping up animal hair while wearing a pair of rubber gloves.”

Begin in the right order and get everything nice and fresh before the property viewing

The most important thing at the very start is to clean each room from top to bottom. Start by dusting lights, skirting boards, doorframes and paintings, and shake all pillows and cushions to get all of the dust out. Then vacuum the furniture, carpets and floors and wipe down all surfaces. Finish by cleaning the windows and mopping the floors.

"I wipe everything dry straight away and then polish it all dry. That way I get really glossy table surfaces, windows and mirrors without any ugly water marks. Look at surfaces from different angles to help you detect bits you might have missed.”  

Potassium soap, white vinegar and salt all clean effectively and smell nice

Vera is always environmentally friendly when she cleans. With potassium soap, salt, white vinegar, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon and water everything will be spotless and smell nice and natural. She has tested other cleaning products over the years, but none have performed quite as well.

“Salt and water are perfect for scrubbing a hob clean. White vinegar freshens up grouting in the bathroom. I use vinegar to clean the toilet. You can use lemon to polish chrome and even to get rid of limescale.”

Try wiping down chrome details with the inside of a lemon and then wiping them clean with a damp cloth. You can also remove limescale by rubbing lemon on it, leaving it for a while and then wiping it clean with a cloth.

Show your bathroom and kitchen a bit of love before the property viewing

If you haven’t got much time for cleaning and it’s almost time to photograph the property – focus on windows, surfaces and worktops. Before an apartment viewing, you should allow enough time to clean the bathroom and kitchen because they’re places that a lot of people look at very closely during a property viewing.

“Make sure you clean under the sink. To get your drains and floor sinks smelling fresh, pour 5-10 cl of baking soda down each drain, leave it a while and then pour boiling water down after it. It dissolves build up and cleans them out.”


Rub, leave, scrub, rinse and dry

Vera follows the principle of rub in, leave on, scrub, rinse and dry. But she warns against using too much water, particularly on floors.

“Using too much water that doesn’t dry straight away will leave water stains or water spots. Use a small amount of water and, if necessary, a little potassium soap. Hardwood floors, such as parquet flooring, can be sensitive to moisture so be careful.”

Otherwise, it’s just trial and error. And being a bit methodical. The reward is a first impression that will make your apartment stand out from the rest. 

Top ten tips to help you plan an apartment viewing

  1. Make sure all unnecessary items are tidied away and minimise the number of personal belongings. Remember that a lot of things have to be packed into removal boxes anyway. Is necessary, rent a storage facility.
  2. Never use scourers, towels or mops that aren’t clean. They can add an ugly finish to your surfaces.
  3. Once you’re happy with your cleaning, squat down low and take a final look up. This will quickly reveal any surface you might have missed. Particularly important in toilets and bathrooms.
  4. It’s a good idea to hold a trial viewing, by inviting a neighbour or friend to evaluate: How does it smell? Does it look clean? What’s their first impression?
  5. A small bowl of coffee beans fills the air with a welcoming aroma just before a property viewing. If possible, give the apartment a good airing. But bear in mind that it mustn’t seem like you’re trying to disguise one smell with another.
  6. Old bedsheets make the best cleaning rags. Tear them up into strips and always keep a stock of clean rags handy.
  7. Remember to dust behind radiators and wipe down curtain rods and lampshades when spring cleaning.
  8. If you want to enlist a professional cleaner, book them well in advance. It’s a good idea to request references and ask about environmentally friendly products.
  9. It usually takes professional cleaners about an hour to clean 10 m2. Allow more time if you’re doing the cleaning yourself, but remember that you’re saving money.
  10. Stains on the wall can often be rubbed off with a dry white sponge. If any wallpaper or paint is scruffy or old, it may be worth repainting it.
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