She hired a housecleaner. 

If you are considering doing the same, here are the steps to take. 

Ask if it's right for you

According to a survey done by Homelight, deep cleaning a home can add nearly $2,000 to its retail value. That represents money in your pocket if you do the cleaning yourself, but you have to ask yourself if you have the time, energy, equipment, and products to do a job that's comparable to what a professional would do. 

Deep cleaning is different from regular cleaning. It includes tasks like window washing, removing build-up from showers and tub surrounds, cleaning inside and out of all appliances, wiping down hard-to-reach areas such as range hoods and shelving, cleaning grout, and getting rid of all dust and grime that might have accumulated in unseen areas such as behind furniture and in corners. 

A clean house looks good, smells good, and helps buyers
feel good about the home. Photo: Jobber Academy

Although many homeowners have a regular cleaning checklist that includes tending to ceiling fans, radiators, blinds, light fixtures, lampshades, and underneath heavy furniture, many of us don't. If you decide to pay a cleaning person or crew, you need to consider if you are comfortable not only with the financial cost of not doing it yourself, but also having strangers going over every square inch of your home. 

One thing is for sure. Once your home receives a deep clean, it is easier to maintain it. So, if you plan to sell your home, once you have removed clutter would be the perfect time to either dig into a deep cleaning project yourself, or to hire the service. Even if you are selling your home for cash, empty and  and unstaged, you will be able to ask and get a better price if it is deep cleaned.    

Professional cleaners use routines and equipment that speed the work and deliver the best results. Photo: Homemaidbettter

Decide between two options  

If you have decided to hire help, you'll need to make another decision -- whether to pay an individual or a team. There are arguments on both sides. 

A professional company trains its employees in the safest and most current methods, insures them for damages and accidents, brings its own supplies and professional-grade cleaning equipment, and takes care of the government taxes. A business like this brings in a crew that gets the work done quickly -- probably in one day.  

On the other hand, hiring an individual worker will probably cost you less money. Many housecleaners work solo because it simplifies business management and gives them control of the work's quality. Most are women and, despite the difficulty and strenuousness of the chores, get satisfaction from a job well done. You may prefer paying a local, small business owner over a corporation, and communicating with someone who will do the work the way you would do it yourself. You may even be able to negotiate the pricing if you agree to an ongoing schedule of weekly or monthly cleaning. 

One disadvantage to hiring a larger company, besides the higher cost, is that you will have to trust that the company has vetted all its employees. If you have repeated visits to get the work done, it could be different people each time. You may not be comfortable with this situation, especially if you are not at home when they come to clean. You may end up paying for extras like travel time, advertising, franchise fees, exterior window washing, refreshing upholstery, or cleaning inside appliances like ovens and refrigerators. 

But there are disadvantages to hiring a solo cleaner or small team, too. You would have to do the legwork of researching the reliability of the cleaner or cleaners. If it's one person doing the work, it will take longer than a team that's trained to be efficient. If multiple visits are necessary, the cleaner may have to work you into her schedule of weekly clients.   

Once your home gets a serious deep cleaning, it will
be easier for you to keep it ready for real estate
showings. Photo: Northwest Philadelphia House Cleaning

Check reviews

Either way, always ask prospective cleaners, whether one person or a large firm, for references. Use third-party resources like Yelp, Angi (formerly Angie's List), Better Business Bureau, Google  Reviews, and Home Advisor. If every single review raves about the service, it could be because the company is offering rewards or discounts to people who give positive reviews. It's common for any company to get a negative review or two from disgruntled cranks, but a slew of bad reports is a definite red flag.

If you are hiring an individual or a small, local business ask for references. You can also ask friends, relatives, and neighbors if they have hired a cleaner and were satisfied with the work. Some communities have listserves where you can broadcast your request for suggestions. You can also ask your Realtor for advice on a cleaning service or person. 

Companies can boast that their workers are bonded, but that doesn't protect you as a customer. It protects the company they work for. Ask about insurance, and what the company does if something is broken or destroyed. Usually, their workmanship is guaranteed, but if a small business does damage and doesn't have insurance to cover the cost, the owner or her worker will have to pay out of pocket, creating a hardship that could bother you. 

Unless you have allergies, or have strong preferences for
certain brands of cleaners, let the people you hire choose the 
ones they are familiar with. Photo: NBC News

Ask questions

Whichever type of cleaning service you choose, make sure everyone is on the same page about the scope of the work. You'll probably sign a contract with a larger company, but perhaps have only a spoken agreement with a small business owner. But many small business owners or solo workers do use a contract for you to sign, something that will protect both of you later if there is any disagreement.

You might want to get price quotes from more than one company or individual. Package prices and hourly wages differ dramatically and depend on where you live, minimum wage requirements, the demand for these services, and of course the size and style, and requirements of your particular house. According to HomeAdvisor’s estimates, full-service cleaning companies charge anywhere from $50 to $90 per hour, including supplies used.    

Don't be afraid to ask about the products being used, when the work will be done, what recourse you have if you are not satisfied, and about the level of experience of the worker or workers. 

If you hire a large firm, ask if their staff is made of employees or contract workers. If workplace fairness is important to you, you might prefer a company that hires and trains employees rather than contract workers who aren't guaranteed by law to have job benefits. Contract workers are required to pay their own taxes. By contrast, employees have taxes taken out of their pay so they get benefits with their job, tend to be more loyal to the owner, and might be trained better. Even a small company can keep a staff that has full-time employees.  

Trained professionals have the know-how and supplies
to treat all surfaces and problems. Photo: Glotech Repairs

Prepare for your cleaning 

If you've never hired people to clean your house, you may be tempted, out of fear of being judged, to clean before they arrive. Cleaning people have seen it all, so it's pointless to waste your time and energy doing any cleaning before the pros get there.  

But it is important to declutter your house before a deep clean. It will make the cleaning faster and better. Don't have shelves full of knick-knacks, a room full of children's toys and games, boxes of belongings that are going into storage, or tangles of cords for electronic devices. One way to get rid of cords is to invest in wireless internet. Put away personal papers, prescription meds, and valuables like jewelry or cash. 

Whenever you have people working in your home, don't distract them. Let them do their work uninterrupted. Don't demonstrate any overt distrust or judgemental attitude. Tell them when they do good work. Ask if there is anything they need. I have blogged about the best way to treat people you are paying to do work in your home, whether landscapers, painters, electricians, plumbers or ... housecleaners! 

Get the look, get the  book

A home on the market needs to sparkle. It has to be unquestionably clean to build buyer confidence that the property has been properly maintained in every detail. I recommend hiring help to do serious cleaning. 

If you struggle to maintain a life-work balance, and then add to that the stress of selling a home, it makes sense to hire a professional cleaner. It's the kind of thing that will help you stay calm, keep your home clean on an ongoing basis, and add to the enjoyment of your decluttered and staged home.     

Whether you are a homeowner who is selling, a real estate agent, a decorator, or a do-it-yourselfer, you're bound to learn new tips about home care, home values, home decor, and staging a property for sale. Don't leave without downloading my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar.