Now that you have found a buyer, scheduled the closing and moved your belongings out, the last thing you want to do is spend a weekend cleaning a home for someone else to enjoy. Besides, would it even matter?
Yes, it DOES matter. The temptation to skip out on cleaning your recently vacated home is strong, but don’t give in to the temptation. Not only is cleaning your about-to-be sold home a common courtesy to the new owner, it could cause trouble at the closing table! Besides, you wouldn’t want to move into a dirty home, would you?
While buyers might forgive you for not cleaning a back corner of the pantry, they won’t be so happy if you leave the house with unswept floors and dusty cabinets, or worse, with trash piled everywhere. In fact, a dirty house could cause a nervous buyer to completely walk away from the contract or worse yet, lead to a lawsuit.
Luckily it is much easier to clean a home once all the furniture is gone. Here are a few tips for cleaning your home once you move out.
Start cleaning at the top
The best time to give your house a good cleaning is before you put it on the market. This way you house shows well and can help you get top dollar. But if you didn’t start early, don’t panic. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time as the saying goes. Start with one room at a time, and work from the top down.
Start with the ceiling fans. They often collect dust on top of the blades. Then wipe down all the walls, clean the cabinet and closet shelves, then sweep the floors and vacuum the carpets. Mop the floors if needed. Clean the air vents.
Pay extra attention to the kitchen. This is often a focal point of the home. Clean the refrigerator (if it is staying). Clean the oven and stove, paying extra attention to any drip pans. Wipe the insides of the cabinets and drawers and clean the pantry. And if you really want to be nice to the new buyers, clean the light fixtures. Those are often missed and are a nice touch.
Make sure your home smells good
The first thing buyers often notice when they walk through a house is any less-than-appealing smells. This could be from a cat or dog, a litter box, garbage, or dinner you cooked the night before. Any strange odors – even temporary ones – will make buyers thing your home is dirty. Be sure and use fresh-smelling cleaners and if necessary, air fresheners to minimize lingering odors. If that doesn’t work, call a deodorization pro – I know some who can help.
Take everything with you when you move
Sellers will often tend to leave personal items behind for a couple of reasons – either they think the new owner may get to use the items (not likely), or they just don’t want to deal with moving the items. But nobody wants your old shower curtain and matching trash can! Unless the buyer specifically asks for something, take everything with you. Make sure to get everything out of the attic, closets and the garage.
Too tired to clean? Hire it done!
Many clients prefer to focus on their new home and don’t want to spend time cleaning their old home, so they prefer to hire someone to clean the home they just vacated. I have cleaning people I can highly recommend that will come in right before closing and do the work for you, while you focus on preparing for your new home. They do a professional job at a very fair price.