Have you ever heard of ‘the cleaning expectations’? Well, ‘the cleaning expectations’ is the condition in which a property legally needs to be left when a seller moves out. Here are guidelines to help you know what the legal requirements are in terms of how the property should be left:
Fixtures: Anything attached to the walls other than artwork should stay which includes all light fixtures, curtain rods, shelves attached to the walls like floating shelves, and blinds. In addition, all curtains stay. TV mounts are up for debate so if you’re a seller and want to take them with you let me know so we can talk to the buyer about it.
Paint: If you are a seller, you aren’t legally required to repaint, however, it’s nice to patch any holes left from items such as TV mounts, artwork, etc., and it’s generally considered common courtesy to touch up the paint to cover any patches, scuffs, or knicks in the paint. Consider touching up tiny spots and marks with products such as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. While you aren’t required to do this by law, it makes for a smother final walk through and helps avoid potential problems.
Nails: remove nails from the walls. If you put up frames, art, mirrors, or anything that requires nails, make sure to remove them. If you have time, go the extra step and spackle the area to remove the small holes that remain. Again, you aren’t required to patch the holes by law, but it’s a common courtesy many sellers undertake.
Odds and Ends: unless you’ve cleared it specifically with the other party, empty ALL your possessions from the home including any storage areas, as well as food from the fridge/freezer and empty the trash before leaving for the last time. Double check all cabinets before you leave for the last time as we often find items left behind in drawers and cabinets.
Appliances: the buyer will most likely do a thorough check of all the appliances that were included with the property so make sure everything is in working condition. If something is broken and needs to be fixed, let me know ASAP.
Buyers thoroughly check the property at the final walk through, which usually occurs about 3 days before closing to make sure nothing was damaged when you moved out or stopped working between the Inspection and closing. Think of the walk through as a mini inspection. The buyer will likely test all of the appliances again, check all cabinets and drawers to make sure they are empty, test all windows again, etc. If damage did occur while moving out or between the inspection and closing, the buyers can delay closing until you fix the damage, require you to put money into escrow for the repairs to be done after closing or cancel the contract and walk away. That’s why it’s important to leave the property clean and in good condition.
Remember, the home doesn’t have to be in pristine condition, but put yourself in your buyer’s shoes; think about what would make you satisfied if you were inspecting the home after someone else has moved out.
Questions about the cleaning expectation and what to leave versus what to take with you? Contact me at andi(at)andidyer.com or call: 360.734.6479
This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR’s viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.