Moving Madness: How Clean Should You Leave Your Home?

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So, you have sold your house. Congratulations! As you focus on prepping for your new home, packing and moving, cleaning your old home may be on the bottom of your to-do list. “Many sellers are unsure of how clean they need to leave their former property,” says Patricia Bell, President of Gloria Nilson Realtors, Real Living, who explains that some purchase contracts demand the house be “broom swept.” But what is broom swept? And what do you do if your legal contract has no cleaning stipulations? Read on to find out.

“While the language behind the term ‘broom swept’ is somewhat vague, the phrase basically means the seller is required to sweep the floor, walls and ceiling before locking the door for the final time,” explains Bell. Of course, some sellers go beyond this and give the home a good scrub-down, but many do not. “Real estate contracts often state that the home should be left in the same condition it was in when the offer was accepted, meaning if you make a big moving mess, you should clean it up—along with all of your personal property,” says Bell. Make sure to read your purchase contract thoroughly to determine exactly how clean your home should be.

“Many sellers hire a cleaning service to go to work on their homes after they are out,” says Bell. After packing and moving, sellers are often exhausted and would rather pay someone else to do a good job getting their home ready for its next inhabitants. “Buyers will be cleaning the home before moving in anyway,” notes Bell. However, the following are some things you should pay attention to when cleaning your home for the final time:

• Sweep and vacuum all floors
• Shampoo/clean all carpets
• Clean all kitchen appliances that will be left on location (inside of fridge and oven, etc.)
• Clean bathrooms as best you can, including flooring, tubs, sinks and toilets
• Empty out garage and attic
• Wipe down counters and surfaces
• Throw away any and all personal belongings you aren’t bringing with you

The bottom line is that you should clean your home to the extent you would like your next home to be cleaned before your arrival. “Sometimes when a contract states the home is to be sold ‘As Is,’ sellers may take this to mean they don’t have to clean before they leave,” explains Bell. “While you don’t need to freshly mow the lawn or power wash the windows, leaving your home in disarray will put out bad energy and can create an unstable relationship with your buyer.

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