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Beautiful Basements

written by Jill Gargus CID, CCSP

Creating a basement space that appeals to the buyers can be difficult if your basement is unfinished or half complete. Even worse is a basement that is chopped up with confusing rooms and a hodgepodge of materials used to slap it together. Basements are part of real living space and they do play an important and often forgotten role in the decision of a buyer to make an offer, the fact is your basement CAN make or break a sale.

What do you do if your basement is not picture perfect…walking out on to a beautiful yard and a man made lake? Well, you get to work. That does not mean you have to renovate your basement, but if they budget allows do what you can to clean it up and make it a useable, clean space that adds square footage to the overall offering your home has.

How do you do this? Well, starting off in our previous emails the first 2 weeks of purging and de-cluttering, that part should have included the basement so you are well on your way.

  • Do a deep clean of the basement. Every nook and cranny. If you don’t want to touch it, neither will a buyer!! Basement and laundry area should be dry, clean, bright, neat and tidy
  • All cobwebs, dead bugs removed
  • Kitty litter cleaned daily!
  • Furnace filters replaced
  • Furnace, hot water tank and appliances washed down and squeaky clean
  • All window wells, cleaned off, curtains or coverings removed and the wells cleaned.
  • All windows coverings off, if possible, so lots of light can get in.
  • Update fixtures or wash existing ones and use the brightest bulbs allowed
  • Fresh paint on walls and floors if there is no carpeting.
  • Get a de-humidifier if the basement smells like pets or is musty.
  • Wash all drains and bathrooms well
  • Clean out the dryer vent and vacuum behind the washer/ dryer and freezer
  • Replace or remove torn flooring
  • Use bright bulbs and make sure all switches are working and wash off fingerprints
  • Add shelves to the laundry area if it would help
  • Take out all empty laundry boxes, and misc. socks that lost their mate, garbage, old brooms and of course anything missed from the previous 2 weeks!
  • If your basement floor is painted and you are not putting new flooring, you can easily spruce up the look by cleaning it well with TSP™ and then painting the floor with cement paint. Make sure to move appliances out, do not paint around them! Consult your local paint store to get advice on the products you need to complete this task. You can use color also….not bright overwhelming colors, but shades of grey, beige, white, tan, chocolate or blues would be good if they work with other colors around the basement. Then add a runner.
  • Create a laundry room space that says “Hey I love my laundry room!” Add a rug to the washer and dryer area, add a lamp, add a plant, create a folding table for the laundry or hang a clothes drying rack.
  • Stair handrails should be secure
  • Air out the basement.
  • Do not use products like bleach or strong solvents to clean, unless absolutely necessary, as the smell will be filtered through the whole house through the furnace system.
  • Make sure any water issues are solved, not just covered up.
  • Clean all baseboards and tops of door jams
  • Tackle all closets and under the stairs with the full de-clutter plan
  • Remove all extras from the storage areas. Although a storage area will be used for storage the goal here is to show off how much shelf space or storage there is by cleaning them off. Keep only the essentials in these areas. This is not where you put all the de-clutter items from upstairs!

Anything you can do to spruce up the rooms will add value. Basements are often overlooked and forgotten in the whole staging /preparation process and yet they could really outshine your competitor’s and so they should!

For more information on Preparation for Staging and Selling see or call us at 780.452.4527