Have you ever heard of ‘broom clean’ condition? It’s 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 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, bathroom mirrors, towel bars, curtain rods, TV wall mounts, shelves attached to the walls like floating shelves, and blinds. In addition, it is not uncommon for buyers to ask for draperies and so make sure you know what items they asked to have stay, above and beyond, what is written in as a default in the contract.
Paint: If you are a seller, you aren’t required to repaint, however, it’s nice to patch any holes left from items such as 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 smoother 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 there is an agreement to the contrary, 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, cabinets, washers/dryers, dishwashers and even attics & crawlspaces. If you want to leave anything extra behind like paint, extra materials, etc…run that by me first and I will check with the buyers agent because those items should not stay unless they want them. Leaving behind what was there when you bought the property is not okay without making sure the new owners want those items.
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 the day before closing or the day of closing to make sure nothing was damaged when you moved out or has stopped working. Think of the walkthrough as a mini inspection. 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.
If the buyers are not getting possession at closing they still may do a walkthrough to check on any inspection repairs or just make sure the home is being kept in the same or better condition as when they first saw it. It can be nerve wracking to close on a home you don’t get to move into right away.
The last items to leave for buyers are garage door opener(s) and keys as well as any alarm or garage keypad codes. Those can be collected at closing or left securely in the home.
If you remember one thing, it’s to leave the home in the same condition you would be happy to receive it in. Happy Selling!