TLDR: If you want top dollar, clean the house or have it cleaned for you, but make sure it's immaculate, and make sure it smells nice.

Take this questionnaire to see if you should have your house cleaned:

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, we recommend either hiring a professional cleaning service, or committing to scrubbing the house from top to bottom yourself. In other words, regardless of whether your property is 100 years old or 1 year old, all properties can benefit from cleanliness.

If you think you can do an outstanding job of making your house shine without paying a professional, go ahead and clean the property yourself. Most of the time, however, sellers are so busy moving their belongings out of the house that it's worth it to hire a third party to do the scrubbing. Moving is a huge undertaking, so if you can afford it, consider outsourcing the cleaning.

True or False: Buyers prefer houses that are clean.

This is obviously true. Who knew?

Tip: Don’t Smell Bad

"Do you remember that house we saw with the really nice deck?"
"It's the one with the basement that smelled like cat pee."
"Ohh, yep, I remember."

Make sure your home doesn't have "a smell." Whether that's from owning pets, years of smoking indoors, or a musty odor from water leaks in the basement, a foul stench can be one of the biggest deterrents for buyers. Do everything you can to ensure your home smells, at minimum, neutral, although it's best if the interior smells pleasant upon walking in. Air fresheners are an inexpensive way to ensure that your home isn't being remembered for all the wrong reasons, but if air fresheners aren’t sufficient, professional cleaners will prevent deterring buyers due to malodorous living spaces.

How Much?

Expect to pay between $200-$500 for a deep cleaning depending on the size of the house.