It may not be the grandest room in the house, but the bathroom is one of the most important when it comes to selling your home. Buyers want as many bathrooms as they can afford, and they want them pristine. So, if you’re getting set to host an open house, it’s time to spiff yours up! Here’s exactly what you need to do to get it ready:
Clean everything. You know this already: There’s nothing worse than walking into an open house and finding mildew, scum, hair (or worse) in and around the tub, toilet, and sink. Give your bathroom the kind of deep cleaning you’d usually reserve for when the in-laws visit. Ask yourself, “What would Martha Stewart think?” No rings around the tub, no soap scum on the shower door, no beard clippings in the sink. Use a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to make mirrors sparkle—it’s an old-school recipe that gets fabulous results (just remember to wipe away streaks with either newspaper or a microfiber towel).
Hide your toiletries. That means toothbrushes, contact lens kits, loose makeup containers, hairspray bottles—anything that could clutter up your countertop goes into the medicine cabinet, under the sink, or wherever it won’t be seen.
Then put out nicer ones. Now is the time to break out those triple-milled imported soaps, or a nice handsoap and lotion duo. Think hotel bathroom.
Remove prescription drugs. We can’t stress this one enough. If you have a medicine cabinet full of allergy meds, sleeping pills, or anything else your doctor may have prescribed, either lock it in a safe or take it with you when you leave during the open house.
Stock toilet paper. A well-organized bathroom has plenty of toilet paper at the ready. The person who needs it will appreciate it. Though we’re not suggesting that open house visitors use your loo.
Keep that toilet seat down. While we’re on the subject of toilets, the seat should always be down and the lid closed. Always.
Test the water pressure. During my years as a Chicago real estate broker, I saw buyers turn on the shower and the faucet and flush the toilet. They’re checking your water pressure. If it runs at a trickle, get your plumber to take a look.
Fix those drips. If your sink has a slow drip, fix it. A drip isn’t just annoying; to buyers, it’s a sign you might be letting other, bigger things go.
Make it bright. A dimly lit bathroom can make even the cleanest space appear grimy. Try installing a few natural light bulbs to give the appearance of sunshine.
Clear out the library. You may be proud of your bathroom’s collection of old Architectural Digests, New Yorkers, and Teen Vogues. But it’s time to move them to the recycling.
Show off that shower. If your shower is a showstopper, show it off! Pull back the curtain to reveal those coordinating glass tile borders or decorative mosaics you invested all that time and money in.
Fix that fan. A loud exhaust fan is a no-no. If the bathroom exhaust system is audibly exhausting, it might be cheaper to replace it than to have it repaired. Most new fans have a sound rating measured by sones. Be sure to buy one rated at 1.0 sones or less, as advised by the Home Ventilating Institute.
Say it with flowers. Heavy air fresheners can be off-putting, but a vase with fresh flowers goes a long way. Orchids, hydrangeas, and eucalyptus all add a pleasant scent to a small space—and give potential buyers a reason to smile.
Stage the tub. Whirlpool bathtubs may no longer be the sought-after luxury item they once were, but the idea of a drawn bath remains appealing. Stage your tub by placing flameless candles around it and setting a favorite book and a stack of towels nearby, all to conjure up images of “me time.” (There’s no need to fill the tub with water, though!)
Upgrade your towels. The easiest way to gussy up a bathroom is to change the towels. Invest in fluffy new ones that pop with color (especially if the walls are a neutral shade), and fold them in three parts so no edges show.
Nix the rugs. Rugs are necessary, but they’re not always the most attractive aspect of a bathroom. Leave the floor bare—it makes the space look cleaner and roomier, and gives buyers the chance to see a (we hope) nice floor. Which you swept clean, right? Right!