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6 Quick Ways to Make Your House Look Cleaner Than It Is

Photo by Sean Shanahan.

In 2016, Washington houses sold in an average of 37 days—which is quick. But especially for sellers with kids, it’s tough to keep the place pristine for any amount of time. We asked local agents how to fake a clean house with only a few minutes’ notice that a buyer is dropping by.

  1. Open the blinds and turn on all lights.
  2. Flush the toilets. (You’d be surprised.)
  3. Make the beds.
  4. Spray Febreze—but no scented candles or room sprays.
  5. Keep an empty bin to fill with clutter, then toss it into the car or under a bed.
  6. If all else fails, have a note ready to set out. McEnearney agent Sue Goodhart suggests: “Sorry we are not showing our best today, but we love this home and hope you will, too!”

This article is part of the cover story in our April 2017 issue of Washingtonian, on newsstands now.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.