Room-by-Room Guide to Declutter Your House Before Selling

canstockphoto50869378Clutter—it’s a word that makes many of us shudder, and we like it even less when we’re preparing to sell our home. However, mastering clutter is one of the best things you can do to help buyers see your house as a place they can call home. Clutter and piles make spaces look smaller and can hide your home’s more attractive features.

If you’re looking to sell your home this year, why not start it off right with a resolution to de-clutter? We know that this can feel daunting, so we’ve broken it down into a room-by-room guide. When you approach de-cluttering in smaller chunks it’s easier—plus, we’re sure you’ll be so pleased with the results that you’ll look forward to getting through the whole list.

 

Entryway & Hallways

The entryway is the first thing a potential buyer will see, so make sure it’s welcoming and not overwhelming.

  • Corral coats, scarves, and other outerwear
  • Store shoes and boots out of sight
  • Remove mail, newspapers, and other clutter (or keep them neatly displayed in an attractive organizer)
  • Eliminate random clutter in hallways
  • Tastefully display art, candles, or other decor to accentuate your home’s positives
  • Remove excessive family photos and other personal items

Kitchen

Often called the heart of the home, the kitchen sees a lot of action. Make sure all an interested buyer sees is how they can make their gourmet dreams come true.

  • Keep counters neat and tidy
  • Never leave dishes in the sink or dripping on the rack
  • Store small appliances in cupboards, or box away for moving if not needed
  • Box up extra items from crowded cupboards and drawers, so you can nicely display your best items (buyers will open doors and look!)
  • Organize all cupboards and displays
  • Remove photos and schoolwork from the fridge
  • Put items that point to trouble (like drain cleaner or ant powder) out of sight
  • Place sponges, scrubbers, and towels in a bin under the sink

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are supposed to be our sanctuaries, but too often they become dumping spots for everything that has nowhere else to go. Turn yours back into a sanctuary before buyers take a look.

  • Clear out off-season clothing from drawers and closets—an overstuffed closet appears smaller.
  • Tidy your bedside table and remove any medications, personal care items, or cluttered charging stations
  • Select only one or two family photos to display
  • Make the bed every day—and spruce up existing (or splurge!) on new linens, duvet, and pillows to make the room look fresh and appealing
  • Dust any ceiling fans and other hard-to-reach nooks to make sure the room glows

Living & Family Rooms

Make sure potential buyers don’t have to look past piles of clutter to envision themselves relaxing in your space.

  • Clear out piles of magazines, newspapers, books, and hobby materials
  • Make any displays on mantels or tables simple, clean, and devoid of personal effects and photos—less is more
  • Make sure the room has ample lighting day and night, rearrange light fixtures or add a lamp if needed
  • Check drapes and blinds for dust and get them cleaned, if needed
  • Corral remotes and other electronic gadgets in a cupboard, drawer, or attractive bin or basket
  • If you have little ones, organize toys into one section of the room and use bins or other attractive containers to keep them under control

Bathrooms

Just because these rooms are functional, it doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful.

  • Clean out your drawers and cabinets—remove any outdated or unused toiletries, medicine, or personal care equipment
  • Tastefully display only the essentials in the medicine cabinet or drawers
  • Pack up rarely used perfumes and jewelry
  • Add fresh drawer liners
  • Organize cleaning items in a safe, unobtrusive spot
  • Remove multiple soap and shampoo bottles from shower shelves
  • Get rid of damp towels, washcloths, loofahs, etc.
  • Make sure towels are displayed neatly on a shelf or in a basket

Laundry Room

A well-appointed laundry room can be the difference between like and love for some home buyers. Make the right impression in yours.

  • Don’t leave any laundry (clean or dirty) in piles or otherwise on display
  • If you leave out items to air dry, make sure to put them away before a tour
  • Neatly organize detergents, spot removers, and other supplies
  • Put function on display by arranging equipment, detergents, drying racks, and laundry baskets in an attractive manner that show how easy it is to access everything
  • Wipe down the washer and dryer—make sure no lint or dust is showing
  • Throw lint and other items like dryer sheets in a trash can with a lid

Basement or Garage

These are places where we like to hide things that are unsightly or have no other place to call home. But you want potential buyers to see possibility, not defeat, when they enter yours.

  • Properly dispose of opened cans of paint (unless buyers could use it for touch-ups), stain, pest repellent, and other chemicals
  • Organize tools and box up large items if not currently in use
  • Sort through all those old boxes of what-nots and donate unneeded items—organize the rest in neatly-stacked bins
  • Throw out anything that’s musty or shows signs of mold and mildew
  • Dust everything
  • Organize sports equipment neatly, storing as much as possible in bins
  • Add shelves to better corral miscellaneous odds and ends

Decluttering isn’t fun, but you’ll be happy you did it when you’re calling the moving truck. Get obstacles out of the way so buyers can see what a gem your home is!

5 Reasons 2018 Is a Great Time to Buy a House

canstockphoto19233900A new year, a new home—why not? Well, if you’ve been thinking of purchasing a home, 2018 is primed to be a great year for finding (and financing) your dream home. There’s been a lot in the news about how 2017 was a fantastic seller’s market, but the field is leveling as we begin this new year. Find out the top five reasons buying a home should be one of your 2018 new year’s resolutions.

  1. Rates are on the rise.

Mortgage interest rates are still looking good, so don’t fret over rumors about rising rates. But don’t completely ignore them either. It’s true that rates are creeping up, but they’re not exploding. However, everyone is predicting that the year could end with rates inching close to 5%, so the sooner the better for locking in the lowest rate this year.

  1. There should be more homes to choose from.

It’s been pretty slim pickings across the Wasatch Front, but things are looking up. This means more than just a better selection of potential dream homes—it also means you might have more room to negotiate on price and other perks when you put together an offer.

  1. Prices are starting to level off.

Rising prices are good news for sellers and a reassuring indication that the economy is doing well. But they’re not what you want to see when you’re looking to buy. Fortunately, all signs point to a stabilization in the market when it comes to home prices. This means that there will be fewer homes going for (or above) asking price, which means you have a better chance of getting the most house for your money.

  1. Mortgage interest is still a write-off.

While this shouldn’t be the reason you buy, it’s one of the better benefits. In the wake of the new tax bill many people feared that the mortgage interest deduction was going to be a thing of the past. Fortunately, that’s not the case, at least if you buy a home for under $750,000. If you’re a young professional without many tax write-offs, this deduction can be mighty tempting—and why wouldn’t you want to put a few extra dollars in your pocket with an investment that lets you lock in your monthly housing cost and build equity?

  1. It’s cheaper than renting.

Just like home prices, rents have skyrocketed in recent years. With millennials putting off home purchases, the demand for prime rental real estate has been higher than ever. But, as successful millennial professionals are looking for ways to invest (not to mention how to cut monthly costs), home ownership is looking more appealing. Last year Salt Lake County rents were up 6.5% from 2016, with one-bedroom apartments easily going for a grand per month. It’s increases like these that make mortgage payments look attractive—most people can afford two or three bedrooms for as much (or maybe even less) than they’ve been paying for rent.

Buying a home is a big decision, but sometimes all the stars align to let you know the time is right to act. In 2018, there are a lot of home-buying stars shining in the sky. So if you want to save on rent, find a nice tax deduction, and start building equity in a solid investment, put house shopping on your 2018 to-do list.

The Utah Guide: What to Wear on the Slopes, in the Carpool, or at the Office All Winter Long

canstockphoto5783270Whether you plan to hit Sundance or simply need to make it through the cold Utah winter without sacrificing your fashion sense, we’ve got the insider info you need. Dressing properly for Utah’s frigid weather is the key to making the most of the season all winter long.

 

Winter Wardrobe Essentials

The most important thing to remember (and this is very important) is that staying warm is the ultimate goal of winter fashion in Utah. It doesn’t matter how fabulous you look if your teeth are chattering. Before you can even think about style, here’s a look at the winter wardrobe essentials you need to keep from shivering:

    • Foundation garments (not the church kind or the Spanx kind!). These are more about warmth and wicking than sucking in your post-holiday tummy. If you plan to hit the slopes or ice rink you want foundation-wear that provides both insulation and protection from sweat. Look for items made of Polypropylene, which is a hydrophobic fabric that practically scares moisture away.

 

  • Layering basics. When the temps dip below freezing, it’s time to start layering. Depending on your lifestyle you may be going from inside to outside all day long, or spend prolonged periods in the elements. Either way, layering is your friend. Look at mixing lightweight tees and tanks with heavier shirts or vests. Mix up your materials—cotton is breathable while flannel keeps you toasty warm.

 

    • A cozy sweater (or five!). We can’t overemphasize the glorious role sweaters play in winter Utah fashion. They’re the perfect top layer and nothing makes you feel more comfy and warm than soft folds of wool, cashmere, angora, or any other favorite sweater material. We recommend a nice, oversize bulky one for layering plus a finer, fitted one for dressier or less-frigid occasions.

 

  • Good boots. If this one feels like a trick, it is. Winter certainly requires boots, but we don’t expect you to survive the wide array of winter activities in just one pair. Your best bet is one solid, utilitarian, waterproof snow boot and one more stylish pair. Whether you prefer a bootie or a tall fashion boot, you won’t regret having a chic pair to wear on days when the sun is shining.

 

  • The right coat (which, let’s admit it, is probably two coats – at least!). We finally arrive at the crowning outer layer. The one that shields you from rain, snow, and sleet. Because winter activities vary, we strongly suggest a practical snow jacket (puffers are very in) and a nice, wool coat for work or a night out on the town. If you’re a coat addict and must have more than two, check out our recommendations below for finding winter fashion treasures at a steal.
  • Warm accessories. These are some of our favorite winter wear essentials. Scarves, gloves, and hats add protection and panache to any winter outfit. Best of all, you can find them on the cheap so stocking up is totally affordable. If you’re glued to your smartphone, be sure to find tech-friendly gloves that work with touchscreens.

 

Function vs. Fashion

Ah, here’s the rub—especially if you plan to hit the swanky soirees of Sundance this winter. How to choose between function (not freezing your rear off) and fashion (looking like you fit right in with the Hollywood set). Fortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo (or, winter). If you’re thinking about sacrificing warmth for haute couture, keep these simple rules in mind:

 

  • Traction is a must. You don’t want to slip and ruin your entrance and your outfit. No matter how fancy the event, don’t sacrifice a snow- and ice-friendly sole.
  • Skin is a no-no. It’s the winter in Utah not a beach in Hawaii. No one expects you to show a lot of skin, and no one will be impressed by your sacrifice when it’s 19 degrees outside. Instead of bare legs, go for textured tights, and if you must wear that strapless number, layer a button-up or sheer long-sleeved top underneath. Warm and chic trumps cold and exposed every time.
  • Steal from celebs. If you want to know the key to facing the elements and still looking like you stepped off a runway, pore over pics of models and celebs at past events in Park City, Aspen, and Telluride. They’re not wearing LBDs, but they are rocking it in bulky boots, funky coats, and not-so-ugly Christmas sweaters.

 

 

Secrets to Bolster Your Winter Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank

No winter wardrobe is complete without a few new items, but you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to sizzle on the slopes this season. Utahns love a bargain, and we’ve got the cold weather clothing hookups you need. Check out our favorite spots to nab quality winter fashions for less than retail.

 

Strut your Stuff

We know it’s hard to balance style and substance in the chilly winter months, but we hope our guide helps you have your most fashionable Utah winter yet! If you use any of our tips—or have a favorite winter look we missed—snap a pic and share it in the comments.

Staging Ideas for the Autumn

Autumn is a wonderful time of year and is a great time to sell a home. Help make your listing sell faster with these 4 staging ideas.

  1. Include autumn scents. A subtle scent of apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon, or something autumny can help make your home inviting. When using scents in your home, be mindful of how strong the smell is as it may turn potential buyers away.potion-2217630_640
  1. Lighten up. Take advantage of natural light by opening drapes and blinds and letting sunlight brighten your rooms and make them inviting. If more light is needed, you can use floor and tabletop lamps to add more light into a room.
  1. Groom your yard. Great curb appeal is important when selling your home and, with the leaves falling from the trees, it is important you take some time to rake up leaves and trim any overgrown or dead plants. Especially around your home’s windows and porches as they may distract and overshadow your home’s beauty.
  1. Decorate for the season. Right now mums and other fall decor are excellent props to brighten up a porch or deck. Pumpkins can add a fun seasonal touch and color to your outside; however, remember not to go overboard on the decor.

If you have any other staging questions, talk with your realtor for more tips and tricks to help make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Listing with Real Estate Agent or For Sale by Owner

canstockphoto1159557Many homeowners contemplate their options when deciding to list including employing a real estate agent or going it alone and listing for sale by owner (FSBO). Both scenarios have their benefits and challenges. It all comes down to getting the most bang for your buck.

In fact, the National Association for Realtors reports that an agent could sell your house for 13 percent more than you could. It is true that the average selling price in 2014 for FSBO was $208,700 compared to $235,000 for agent-assisted home sales. However, roughly nine percent of FSBO homes are mobile or manufactured homes which have a lower selling price point regardless of agent status.

So what is a seller to do? Evaluate what exactly a realtor brings to the table and then decide if you can manage all of what they do on your own. Ask yourself:

  1. Can I do all of the negotiating?

At first glance you might be thinking, “What’s so great about that? I can negotiate just as well. I got the salesman down $1,500 on the price of my car.” But many don’t realize how many people are involved in the real estate transaction process. If you decide to list FSBO, you can expect to work with all potential buyers, all of their agents, in some state’s the buyers’ attorneys, home inspection companies, appraisers and banks. For some, paying the agent’s small commission ends up pays for itself right here.

 

  1. Can I ensure exposure for my home and listing?

There’s no denying that the internet gets results. You can’t afford not to have a solid strategy ready to promote your new listing when 92 percent of buyers search online listings. The days when putting up a sign and listing in the paper would work are over. Real estate professionals use multiple listing services and employ numerous marketing strategies to get your listing the exposure it needs.

 

  1. Can I handle all of the paperwork aiding in a smooth sale process?

Minus a lot of signatures of course. The paperwork involved in a real estate transaction has increased over the years as industry regulations and disclosures have become mandatory. An experienced agent will not only know what paper work you need but can act according to ensure an error-free, successful and smooth closing.

 

  1. What about buyers’ perceptions?

Oftentimes buyers see FSBO as the chance to get a steal-of-a-deal. You could get taken advantage of unless you have the necessary skills needed in selling your home. Another consideration, the majority of buyers will be represented by an agent of their own. This means that if you are saddled with paying the buyer’s agents commission you are only saving 3 percent.

 

  1. Can I afford not to have an expert in my corner?

All of those people mentioned earlier that you might have to deal with are on the buyer’s side. They are looking out for the buyer’s best interest. Can you afford not to have someone looking out for your best interest?

Pioneer Day

canstockphoto15021349One particular date in the calendar of every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints or Mormons as they are referred to around the world is July 24. One question people who happen to be in the state of Utah at that period keep asking is, what is so special about July 24th or what is the story behind this remembrance day?
July 24th is celebrated by not just the Mormons, but it is also a state holiday in Utah. This particular day which has been tagged Pioneers day which is celebrated in Utah and beyond Utah has an interesting story surrounding it. The events which dates as far back February 24th, 1846, reveals that members who were later referred to pioneers of the Latter Day Saints started a dangerous journey led by Brigham Young while searching for shelter after being chased away from their homes in the town of Nauvoo, Illinois due to constant harassment and persecution by extremist. This led them to embark on this dangerous journey of over a thousand miles, and this took them about 18 long months to arrive at the Salt Lake valley.
On getting to Salt Lake Valley which is in Salt Lake city in the state of Utah today, they decided to settle there and built a tabernacle. According to Brigham Young who was the successor to the faith founder, Joseph Smith, I ascended and crossed over the Big Mountain . . . So that I could have a view of a portion of Salt Lake Valley. The Spirit of Light rested upon me and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the Saints would find protection and safety. So, Brigham Young and the pioneer decided to settle in Salt Lake Valley. According to studies and reports from the church, the pioneers arrived at Salt Lake valley between July 22- 24th, 1847. By the end of 1846, the Latter Day Saints had formed a community with a total number of around 2000 pioneers. With words about their final settlement being spread across the world by Mormon missionaries, the number continued to increase with Mormon from England and other parts of America relocating to the city. By the end of 1850, the number settlers in Utah Valley was already approaching 11,000.
Every 24th of July in Mormon County in Salt Lake City, thousands of Mormons travel from around the world to join in the celebration of the Pioneer Day which is to remember the sufferings and sacrifices of the pioneers. Mormons in Utah celebrate the day by attending sunrise service, musical performance while some Mormon try to reenter Salt Lake Valley with the use of handcart as a way to remember the entry of the pioneers into Salt Lake Valley in July 24.

5 Tips to Cope with Springing Forward

Despite the controversy surrounding the need for day light savings, the time change is sure to affect your sleep. Waking up Monday morning might not be so easy for those of us who have to spring forward by moving our clocks up one hour.
Here are a few ideas to help you smooth the transition:

Spring Forward

  1. Start early
    Although the time change is scheduled for 2 a.m. Sunday morning, starting early may help. Reduce the disruption to your workweek and give yourself more time to adjust by resetting one of your clocks at the beginning of the weekend. Do your best to eat, sleep and wake according to that clock. Just make sure not to confuse activities and events for the wrong time.
  2. Exercise
    Regular exercise releases chemicals and hormones our bodies need. Specifically, the release of serotonin in the brain helps us adjust to time and sleep changes. We recommend exercising outdoors and early in the day if possible. Try a brisk morning walk or jog.
  3. Nap
    Taking naps can be helpful in adjusting. However, try to avoid taking long naps especially late in the day. If you find yourself overwhelmingly tires around 3 p.m., try taking a walk around the block to help energize you for the remainder of the day.
  4. Avoid alcohol
    The consumption of alcohol interferes with normal sleep cycles, so just imagine the detriment it causes with adjusting to new sleep schedules. Avoid relying on a nightcap to fall asleep. You can learn more about natural sleep aids here.
  5. Lighten up
    Your body’s circadian rhythm controls your sleep cycle. The right combination of light and dark helps you readjust and fall asleep more soundly and on your own. Brighten your mornings by opening up the shades. Try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes outside during the day. Help your body wind down in the evening by dimming the lights.

History of Mountain Green

Located 16 miles up the Weber River from Ogden, a quiet and cozy Morgan County town thrives. Mountain Green is home to the Browning Arms Company world headquarters and your very own Mountain Green Realtor, Cade Erickson.

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Conflict of 1825
Two major fur-trading companies began to explore Utah in the spring of 1825 to identify the region’s beaver supply. Johnson Gardner led American trappers westward along the Strawberry River into Weber Canyon. In the meantime, their British rivals from Hudson’s Bay Company traveled southward along the Green River. The two parties primarily steered clear of each other until they met at present Mountain Green.

In May, the two groups set up camp less than 100 yards from each other. Both groups claimed they had rights to the area. The American trappers believed the site to be in United States territory while the British claimed the area was under joint control of both governments. Naturally, tension filled the rival camps and both parties prepared to fight for territorial rights.

Peter Skene Ogden, leader of the British trappers, began to lose the battle when Gardner told Ogden’s men that they had no further obligation to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Gardner then offered each trapper high wages and cheap goods to switch sides. The offer was hard to refuse since Ogden’s men were underpaid and overcharged. Although Ogden tried to claim and punish the men for desertion, he eventually admitted defeat and gave the call to abandon the camp.

Settlement

After the conflict, Mormon pioneers arrived to Morgan County in the 1850s. By that time, they found that the Mountain Green area belonged to Ben Simon. He and his brother traded with the Shoshone in the area for more than 20 years before the Mexican government granted Simon use of the land for grazing cattle. With permission from Simon and local Native Americans, settlers George W. Higley and Gordon Beckstead moved to Mountain Green. They named settlement “Mountain Green” for the areas abundant green grass and scenic landscape. By 1877, the population reached 150 people. However, the 1880 census showed only 75 residents. Rumor has it that many families left the area due to fear of conflict with Native Americans.

Present-day

The Ogden-based Browning Arms Company needed space for a rural test-firing facility. As such, they purchased a farm in Mountain Green in 1961. By 1968, the company moved its executive offices, research and development, sales and data processing to the new location.

In 1971, a volunteer fire department was established. The Mountain Green Fire District formed due to the need for faster response times than what the county fire station could provide.

Today Mountain Green remains unincorporated and largely underdeveloped. In 2003, the population was approximated at 4,000 residents. The city provides an elementary school while older students attend Morgan Middle and High Schools.

9 Steps For Moving Into Your New Home

Adjusting to new life changes and getting back into a normal routine is often challenging. This is true for adapting to a new life in a new house. Whether it is a preowned home or new build, this list will help smooth the transition of one of your life’s most significant changes: moving into a new home.canstockphoto6009263

1. Change the locks

When the closing is over and you have gotten the keys to your new house, it’s time to buy and install new locks on all exterior doors. Previous owners, realtors and anyone that provided maintenance on the house could all have a set of keys to the current locks.

2. Change your address

First start by contacting the local post office and ask what you need to do for a change of address. Next contact all creditors, magazine subscriptions and anyone else that you could miss an issue or bill.

3. Set Up Utilities

This can be as simple as contacting the previous owners for the utilities companies’ contact information when you’re moving into a preowned home. You will want to have the basic services in your name before you move in these include electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage, cable, internet and possibly telephone.

4. Locate Necessary Features (main breaker, water shut offs, smoke detectors, etc)

In case of an emergency, you need to know where the main circuit breaker is located along with the location of the water shut offs. Make sure that you understand the labeling on the breaker. Label it yourself before moving in if it is unlabeled.

5. Clean, Clean, Clean

One you have the utilities turned on, you are ready to start freshening up your new home. Some folks may leave the home clean for you and some may not. In either case, it’s always a good idea to wipe out cupboards, sweep and mop floors, wash the windows and baseboards.

6. Fresh coat of paint

Once you have everything spic-and- span, you can apply a fresh coat of paint. This will be much easier to do before all of your furniture and belongings are moved in. Remember that you can always hire professionals if you are short on time.

7. Install new switch plates and other mismatched items

Preowned homes have likely gone through many renovations which can leave mismatched, dirty or discolored outlet cover plates. You also could find rusted, damaged or missing air vent covers. Replacing all of these to match creates a cleaner feel and newness to the home.

8. Install window treatments

Whether you are updating the current window treatments or installing new ones, having something up on the windows will not only give your privacy, but that added last-minute finishing touch.

9. And of course, send out new contact information

When you are all done prepping and moving into your new home you can send out new contact information to family and friends. You also can invite everyone over for a house-warming party to show off your new home!

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell – Inside and Out

Every seller wants to sell her home for top dollar, but it’s not just luck that makes that happen. It takes careful preparation and minding the details to get your home ready to sell. Here is how you can turn your home into an irresistible and marketable one:

What to do outside your home:
Home with for sale sign in front yard

    • It’s all about curb appeal
      Outstanding curb appeal leads to lasting first impressions. Prospective buyers will easily recall your great home when deciding which property they want to purchase.
    • Improve landscaping
      Your home’s landscape is the key to fantastic curb appeal. Start by mowing the lawn, pruning the bushes, weeding the garden and planting flowers, to give buyers the immaculate lawn they are looking for.
    • Tidy up and clean
      Next, you will want to tidy up and clean the exterior of your home. Potential buyers will see a sloppy exterior and could think that you neglected the interior maintenance as well. You can start by cleaning the gutters and pressure washing the exterior of your home.
    • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the door
      Choosing a color that contrasts the exterior color of your home will make your front door pop. This popping contrast ensures that your home stands out in home seekers minds. You also should replace worn and faded house numbers while displaying a newly purchased welcome mat.


What to do inside your home:

    • Organization is key
      Just as outstanding curb appeal is the key to getting your home ready outside, organization is the interior’s secret weapon. An unorganized home leads buyers to believe that there is not enough storage space or that the property is too small. Tidy up to highlight all the space your home has to offer.
    • De-clutter and Depersonalize
      Getting rid of clutter helps with the organization, but take it a step further and depersonalize. Packing up family heirlooms and antiques allows buyers to envision living in the home with their own belongings. We recommend getting a storage unit for extra furniture, knickknacks, photos and other personal items.
    • Everything needs to sparkle
      Clean you home until it shines. From top to bottom, from floor to ceiling fan and everything in between must be spotless. This also will help eliminate bad odors along with hiding the litter box and spraying air neutralizer.