Broom Clean: How to Ensure a Smooth Closing & Transition
So, your house has sold. Congratulations! What an exciting time and a wonderful end to what has probably been a stressful, time-consuming journey. Now that the ink is drying on the documents, you might wonder what happens next? Moreover, you may have been told to leave your home in "broom-clean" condition for the new owners, but what does that even mean?
When preparing your home for the buyers, we like to think the Golden Rule is a great guideline. In other words, leave the house in the condition that you'd like to find it in if you were the buyer. That probably means going a bit beyond just broom-clean. We think that a "deep clean" is far more appropriate. What does deep cleaning entail?
- Scrub all the appliances inside and out.
- Clean bathrooms until they sparkle.
- Wipe down cabinets and shelves.
- Thorough vacuum and mop all floors.
- Clean out every closet, crawl space, attic, basement, garden shed and garage.
- Don't just assume that the new owners want any old paint, tile and parts you have on hand. Ask them.
- Check and double-check every nook and cranny for anything you may have left behind.
- Few people will argue if you want to go the extra mile and patch and paint any nail holes!
If your home was staged, decluttered and deep cleaned to prepare it for the market, there shouldn't be too much additional work other than moving out. If there is, many sellers enjoy the peace of mind of hiring a cleaning service to do a thorough deep clean.
The sales contract should include or exclude any questionable items to clarify what is going and staying. This process helps determine what is part of the "real property" and what is considered your "personal property." Most contracts will indicate that anything affixed to the house is included in the sale. That said, things that tend to cause contentious exchanges between buyers and sellers include mantelpieces, built-in cabinetry and shelving, large light fixtures, mirrors, ceiling fans, integrated speakers and A/V equipment, security cameras, outdoor furniture or décor, grills and outdoor kitchen equipment, above ground pools and spas, playsets, basketball hoops and so on.
When in doubt, ask and play nice. A home sale isn't finalized until the buyer's walk-throughout. If things are missing, the buyers and their agent can work with attorneys to draft a hold-back agreement to ensure they are compensated appropriately. The last thing you want to see is your entire sale derailed during this late stage of the game!
As you pack up your belongings, you'll want to gather up all your keys, key codes and automatic openers for the house, gates, any auxiliary buildings, amenity spaces, mailboxes and so on. Any warranties, owner's manuals and repair contracts you have for the appliances and fixtures should be left behind, as well as any HOA directories and paperwork. Turning off or transferring utilities can vary by municipality, so check with your agent for what works best.
Lastly, submit your change of address to the post office and enjoy your next chapter!