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A Down Housing Market Can Be an Up for the Home Cleaning Industry

In a softening housing market, real estate agents appreciate the importance of professional cleaning services even more.

August 3, 2022

2022’s hot real estate market has also meant big opportunities for the home cleaning industry. Real estate agents rely heavily on professional home cleaners to assist in the overall prepping and staging of homes for sale.

But will those opportunities dry up along with home sales if there’s a housing market recession?

The United States might be on the brink of one. According to the National Association of Reators® (NAR), U.S. existing-home sales declined in June 2022 for the fifth straight month, falling 5.4% from the previous month and down 14.2% from a year ago. Declines were recorded in three out of four major U.S. regions month-over-month and down in all regions year-over-year.

“Falling housing affordability continues to take a toll on potential home buyers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Both mortgage rates and home prices have risen too sharply in a short span of time.”

A logical conclusion might be to assume that slowing sales would translate to less demand for home cleaning services. But that’s not necessarily the case. Real estate agents tend to rely even heavier on marketing tactics during a downturn in sales to generate business, and that includes making the home as attractive as possible.

A 2021 report by NAR on home staging revealed that 47% of buyers’ agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home. Among sellers’ agents, 23% reported a 1% to 5% price increase on offers for staged homes, while another 18% said staging increased a home’s price between 6% and 10%. Moreover, 31% said that home staging greatly decreased the amount of time a home spent on the market.

The report also stated that buyers’ expectations are extremely high when it comes to a home’s appearance. In fact, most buyers expect a home to look as nice as the homes they see on TV. A majority of the buyers surveyed—61%—said that TV programs have set higher expectations of how homes on sale should appear, and 68% were disappointed when a home didn’t live up to those seen on TV shows.

Staging can be a pricey investment. According to NAR, the average cost for most stagers is US$300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per staged room. When it comes to such marketing, sellers are wanting real estate agents more and more to bear the brunt of those costs.

But one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, with the biggest return on investment for both agents and their sellers, is the foundation of staging—namely, home cleaning. According to HomeLight, hiring a professional to clean a 1,500-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two baths typically costs between $200 to $400, a fraction of what full-on staging can cost.

“When home sales are stalling, we agents find professional cleaning all the more valuable,” said Jack Keenan, Realtor® with EXIT Strategy Realty Chicago. “It’s one of the most affordable and effective marketing tools we have at our disposal. In a down market, we do everything we can to sell a home, and professional cleaning services are always a part of those efforts.”

So, while the housing market might be softening, real estate agents still recognize the need for professional cleaning services. That need has the potential to grow even stronger as the market gets weaker and agents pull out all the stops to get their inventory sold.

Looking for a reputable and effective home cleaning service? Use the online directory from the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI), a division of ISSA, the residential cleaning arm of the worldwide cleaning industry association.

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