Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
When you’ve gone through the lengthy and tiring process of seeking out, bidding on, and buying a new home and then sell your home, the last thing you want to worry about is cleaning your old house before you leave.
However, there’s multiple reasons you’ll want to ensure your old house is clean before you leave. First, as a common courtesy, you’ll want the new owners of your home to have a good first experience and to maintain your rapport with them after closing day. However, there are also legal and financial issues at play.
If your contract states that your home needs to have been “broom-swept” or some other form of cleaning before you leave, then your new owners could technically postpone closing. Furthermore, some states have laws requiring that homes are cleaned by their previous owners before they move out.
Although it can be difficult to define just how clean a home needs to be, legally speaking, your best option is to do your part to leave the home relatively clean, whether that means cleaning it yourself or hiring a cleaning company.
Legal reasons for cleaning your old house
As mentioned earlier, some states state cleaning requirements in the purchase contract when you sell your home. Their definitions of clean can often be vague, but usually include sweeping floors, wiping down surfaces, stripping nails and hangers from walls, and carrying out all furniture and garbage.
These rules are mostly designed to protect people who purchase a home from getting stuck with bulk items and other surprise issues that they’ll have to pay for.
An exception to this is when your home is sold “as is” or when you have some form of written agreement between you and the new owner that some part f your home will be left as is.
Cleaning your house
The ideal time to clean your house is once you’ve moved everything out. However, if you’re moving over a long distance, you might not be able to return to the house once it’s empty to give it a final cleaning.
In this case, your best option is to have your furniture and boxes packed away neatly in the garage, or in the corner of one room. Doing so will allow you to sweep, clean surfaces, wipe down cabinets, and so on, while your belongings are still in the house.
Just be sure to keep a broom handy once you’ve put everything on the moving truck so you can give one last sweep of the floor before you say goodbye to your old home.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything you’ll want to clean before you move out, so here’s a list to go by:
Sweep all floors
Vacuum all carpets
Wipe down cabinets, shelves
Try to sweep under appliances, oven, etc.
Spray sinks and tubs, leave air freshener in bathroom
Wipe inside of refrigerator, if applicable
Remove all nails from walls
Do a final walkthrough and remove any trash you’ve missed
You've thought that now might be one of those times to try a cleanse. Then you think a little bit longer and go, "Nah, maybe next time." But there is a cleanse that doesn't require juicing, drinking exotic drinks, or gut-wrenching reactions: a closet cleanse.
No, that doesn't mean you hide in your closet while you avoid drinking the cleansing elixir, it means clearing out your closet to start fresh.
How to begin a closet cleanse:
Whether it's a change of season, a new season of your life, a new size or just a need for something different, all closet cleanses should begin the same way and flow through until you have just the right clothes, shoes, scarves and other accessories to make your life smooth and your day starts out put-together.
- Review everything in the closet. Pull it out, look at it, try it on. Don’t return it to the closet if it doesn’t fit, you don’t like it, or you don’t wear it.
- Bag up all the items you’ve decided you can’t or won’t wear for giveaway to charity. Don't go back into the bags for things when you have second thoughts. You know you won't wear it, and it merely takes up space.
- Organize the items that are going back into the closet in one of these ways:
- By outfit (matching or coordinating tops and bottoms together with scarves, belts, sweaters or jackets)
- By type (blouse, skirt, slacks, dress, etc.)
- By season (warm weather, cold weather, transitional, layers)
- By style (work, casual, dress, evening, event, etc.)
- Try on every pair of shoes. If they don’t fit, out they go.
- For the ones you keep: check for wear, damage, worn heels, or gaps between the sole and the upper. If any shoes need repair, put them in a bag to take for repair on your next trip out the door. Don’t delay or they will languish in a bag in the bottom of your closet until the next closet cleanse.
- Review your accessories: hats, scarves, gloves, belts. If you've arranged your clothing by the outfit, scarves and belts should already be with their coordinates. Otherwise, hang belts and scarves. Even gloves hang on clipped skirt hangers. Place hats above or on shelves protected from the weight of other articles.
- Finally, tackle those purses and handbags. If handles are cracked or worn, plan to have them repaired, or place them in the giveaway bags. Take care to check each pocket or flap for personal belongings, that hidden $20 or your favorite lipstick. If the purse is too small for everyday use, tuck it away in a box meant for special events only.
With everything tucked back into its place, and all the extra clothing and accessories removed, you’re ready to start the new week cleansed.
If you find that your closet remains too small, it might be time to reach out to your local real estate professional to see if you can find a better fit.
Although you may commit substantial time and resources to clean your home, it may prove to be exceedingly difficult to keep your residence looking spectacular day after day. However, with a home cleaning service at your disposal, you can employ friendly, skilled cleaning professionals to ensure your home will dazzle consistently.
Each home cleaning service is different, and you'll want to know what to ask each professional cleaning company before you hire one. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of hiring a professional cleaning company – here are three questions to ask a home cleaning business.
1. Are you insured and bonded?
When it comes to finding a professional cleaning service, employing a company that provides peace of mind is essential. Thus, if you hire an insured and bonded home cleaning service, you can rest easy knowing that your property and belongings are protected when cleaning professionals visit your residence.
An insured and bonded home cleaning company offers protection in the event that your property is damaged or any of your belongings go missing during a home cleaning. Therefore, you'll know that you are working with a proven home cleaning company that goes the extra mile to safeguard its clients if you choose a professional cleaning service that is insured and bonded.
2. Do you guarantee your services?
Is a home cleaning company open to feedback and suggestions? If not, you may want to search elsewhere for support, and for good reason.
Typically, a professional cleaning company will guarantee its service if its staff feels confident that it can deliver the best support possible during every home cleaning visit.
On the other hand, a home cleaning business that fails to offer guarantees may leave you high and dry. And if this company makes mistakes along the way, you might be stuck dealing with the consequences of these errors.
3. How do you establish your rates?
No one should be forced to break their budget to hire a professional cleaning company. Fortunately, you can find out exactly what it costs to clean a single room in your house or your entire residence if you ask about a home cleaning company's rates.
Usually, a professional cleaning company will be open about its rates and explain exactly what it offers as part of its service packages. In some instances, a home cleaning business may even provide discounts if you agree to multiple cleaning appointments or refer other customers as well.
Understand exactly what types of cleaning services you need so you can find a home cleaning company that will be able to offer the right support. By doing so, you'll be able to shop around for professional cleaning services in your area and find one that matches your budget perfectly.
Devote the necessary time and resources to find a professional cleaning company to enhance the quality and appearance of your residence. With a top-notch home cleaning business at your side, you can improve your house in no time at all.