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The spring cleaning tradition has its roots in a time when families holed up for the winter, leaving homes smokey, dirty and stuffy by spring. Nowadays, we have more freedom of movement (and more ways to keep homes clean) during the winter.

We still spend more time indoors during winter, however, and many families view spring as the perfect time to welcome in the fresh air and do an annual deep-clean.

Spring cleaning is particularly important if a home is about to go on the market. Here are our top 10 spring-cleaning tasks you should set for your sellers to get their home ready for a professional photo, video, 3-D shoot and potential buyers.

1. Shovel or de-ice paths and driveways

In northern parts of the country, there may be snow or ice on the ground through April. Have sellers shovel or lay down ice melt so your photographer and any buyers have a safe path around and into the house.

2. Tidy landscaping

Most landscaping doesn’t grow during the winter, but sellers likely have dead leaves and branches hanging around. Gather these up or prune them away, and make sure you leave a clear sight line (for photographers and buyers) to any attractive architectural details.

3. Wash driveways and house exterior

Photoshopping to remove stains from a driveway or house can get expensive — and some photographers won’t do it, especially if the stain is going to be visible once buyers arrive at the home. It’s better to pressure-wash everything on the front end.

4. Clean out gutters

This isn’t so important from a photography standpoint because gutter interiors aren’t visible from ground level. But if you have showings on rainy days, you definitely don’t want buyers seeing overflowing gutters.

5. Clean windows and window treatments

Good lighting is crucial to good photography, video and 3-D, and windows can get very grimy during the fall and winter. Have your sellers clean the glass and window treatments to keep light clear and unpolluted by dust and dirt.

6. Clean rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture

Soft furnishings can trap not just visible dirt but also odors from pets, kids and cooking. To keep things affordable and convenient, have a professional make one trip to clean furniture and floors at the same time.

7. Tidy up, and wipe down cabinets and closets

You know how it goes: prospective buyers open every door in the house, including cabinets and closets. So have sellers tidy even the hidden spots, and have them wipe down the doors. Clean surfaces will help reflect light around, which your photographer will appreciate.

8. Polish floors and finished woodwork

It’s not good to overpolish woodwork, but if there’s any time to make sure woodwork and wooden floors are pristine, it’s now. As with cabinets, clean surfaces will not only look better, they’ll help reflect light to make the house brighter.

9. Wipe down walls (and paint, if necessary)

Walls are another rarely-cleaned surface that should definitely get a good wipe-down before listing the home. If sellers are going to paint, have them choose lighter colors that help make the rooms look larger and brighter in photos or video.

10. Wash pet beds and crates

Most agents understand that it’s good to hide pet paraphernalia before a photo shoot, open house or showing. But it’s also important to wash beds, crates and toys. Otherwise, the odors they trap may put off prospective buyers.

Is there something you always have sellers do to spring clean a listing? Share in the comments!

Kathryn Royster is the marketing director for HouseLens, Inc. You can follow Kathryn on Twitter @kathrynroyster. HouseLens is on Facebook.

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