Cleaning Checklist to Complete Before Flipping Your Next House

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It’s easy to focus on the big picture elements of flipping a house, things like financing the venture, timing to get in and out of the project, setting priorities, and tending to major cosmetic improvements. However, once all of the projects have been completed, there’s one more step you don’t want to skip before listing a house: cleaning it.

Cleaning a Flipped Home

No matter how nice a new coat of paint or a batch of fresh flooring might look, it’s not going to wow anyone if it’s covered in filth and clutter. But if you just start cleaning everything as if it’s your own home, you could spend days and even weeks of precious house-flipping time in the process. That’s why, as with all things, flipping a home typically features a shift in priorities compared to the typical home improvement projects and checklists you might expect to see in your own living space.

It’s always a good idea before cleaning to come up with a reasonable, balanced plan that will maximize your efforts and provide the greatest house-flipping effect possible. Here’s a list of some basic spring cleaning things to make sure you’ve checked off before you put that next home up for sale.

Clean Before You Appraise

It might be tempting to get the appraiser into your flipped home as soon as possible and leave the cleaning to be done before the buyers begin stopping in to visit. However, it really is worth cleaning before you even have the house appraised.

Even if the cleanliness of a house doesn’t technically affect its value, appraisers are still emotional human beings and they’re much more likely to give a better appraisal if you clean first. As a result, the appraiser’s tour through a house that oozes immaculate charisma is much more likely to get you higher marks — and consequently a higher value.

Plan an Appropriate Amount of Time to Clean

While it’s easy to plan out how long it might take to clean our own homes, it’s important to remember that flipped houses can vary dramatically from one venture to the next.

It might take you a few hours to clean a relatively new 1200 square foot cookie-cutter suburban home whereas a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse that’s three times the size could take days or even weeks. Don’t get caught delaying your plans as you scramble to give a flipped home a once over before you sell. Make sure to build in an appropriate amount of time to clean from the beginning of the project.

Tend to the Landscaping

Everyone knows that curb appeal is one of the first things that savvy real estate investors focus on. If a structure doesn’t immediately make an impression from the road, it’s going to be difficult to get any foot traffic, let alone close a sale.

While you may not need to overhaul the entire exterior of a home, it’s still worthwhile to put a little elbow grease into cleaning up the landscaping of a house before you kick off the selling season. Cleaning up and weeding gardens, cutting and trimming lawns, and making sure that the general appearance of the yard is clean and tidy are all important ways to keep the curb appeal of a home at its peak.

If you have a little extra money in your budget, consider updating the landscaping to be more eco-friendly. With water restrictions being put in place in more and more municipalities, native landscaping is going to be a big selling point!

Pressure Wash the Outside

While landscaping and tending to gardens are always high on a house flipping list, one cleaning-focused option that can easily be missed is pressure washing. Whether you’re dealing with dirty vinyl siding or a dingy porch or deck, giving the exterior of a home a good once over with a pressure washer can be an excellent way to spruce up that curb appeal before you sell.

Make the Appliances Presentable

While cleaning appliances on a regular basis is typically associated with keeping a home livable and energy efficient, it’s also a great way to stage a house as well. But, once again, while in your own home you may be more interested in how each appliance works, with a house flip you want to make sure you’re focused on looks as much as function.

A quick trip through the interior of a home spent polishing and cleaning things like refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and so on can make a world of a difference when you start getting foot traffic from potential buyers.

Clean Up Construction Dust

If you’ve done drywalling work, cut wood, or created any other dusty messes, it’s a good idea to clean the area of the home where you were working after allowing a reasonable amount of time for the dust to settle. While you don’t need to make every surface spotless, the appearance of a coat of drywall dust on everything in a room hardly screams move-in ready.

Clean Carpets

If a home has decent carpets that weren’t replaced during the flip, another wise final cleaning step is to run over them with a vacuum and, if they’re dirty enough, even a carpet cleaner. The visual effects of a freshly shampooed carpet are rather impressive on their own. But, on top of that, it will also clean up any other construction mess you may have left behind during the flipping activities and can even remove any stubborn smells that could hamper a sale.

Spruce Up the Front Entrance

Remember, curb appeal is extremely important, and creating a positive, warm, inviting feeling as buyers approach the entrance to a home can be the perfect way to set the tone. Make sure the front door is clean, painted, and otherwise made presentable. As a small but elegant final touch, make sure to replace the welcome mat.

Clean, Appraise, Sell!

Once you’ve gone through your flipped house and cleaned up the appliances, exterior, floors, and so on, the final step is to make sure that you’ve cleared all of your own tools and equipment out of the home. Once that’s done, have the appraiser come in and then get the house on the market as quickly as possible. After all, home flipping best practices have always dictated that the longer you own it, the less cash you’ll make on the deal.


In spite of the pressures associated with quickly and effectively flipping a home, though, it really is worth taking the time to do some strategic, rudimentary cleaning in order to make sure that your house is appraised at maximum value and then sells quickly afterward.

About The Author: Dan Matthews (Twitter) – Writer, Content Consultant, Conservationist, and Lover of all things DIY.
Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash

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