Have you ever heard of ‘broom clean condition’? Well, ‘broom clean’ is the standard real estate lingo for the condition in which a property needs to be left when a seller or tenant moves out. Here are guidelines to help you know what to clean when it’s time to move out:
Fixtures - If you are a seller, anything attached to the walls other than artwork should stay (this includes TV mounts).
If you are a renter, take anything you put up with you.
Paint - If you are a seller, you aren’t legally required to repaint, however, you should 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.
If you are a tenant, ask your landlord if you are required to patch or touch up paint. Chances are, your landlord will repaint the apartment between the old and the new tenant, but you want to get in writing what you’re responsible for so the landlord doesn’t charge your security deposit for failing to patch and paint. That said, if you painted the apartment with or without your landlord’s permission, you should paint it back to the original color (unless your landlord says otherwise). If anything, consider touching up tiny areas with products such as the Mr Clean Magic Eraser.
Nails – remove nails from the walls. If you put up frames, art, mirrors, or anything that requires nails, make sure to remove them. Go the extra step and spackle the area to remove the small holes that remain.
Odds and Ends – unless you’ve cleared it specifically with the landlord, empty all your possessions from the apartment, as well as food from the fridge and emptying the trash before leaving for the last time.
Appliances – your landlord or new buyer will most likely do a thorough check of all the appliances that were included with the property as soon as you’ve moved out. Make sure everything is in working condition. If something is broken and needs to be fixed, let the landlord know before you move out.
Cleaning Service – while you aren’t required to clean, it’s common courtesy to either hire a cleaning service to clean the day you move out or clean the home yourself once all of your belongings are out.
For tenants – in the case that the unit is in good condition, the security deposit should be returned. However, if there are burn marks on the carpet or big holes in the wall, that is unacceptable and the landlord will deduct from the security deposit.
For sellers – the buyers will check the property at the final walk through which usually occurs the night before closing or the day of closing to make sure nothing was damaged when you moved out or stopped working between the insepction and closing. If damage did occur, the buyers can delay closing until you fix the damage or require you to put money into escrow for the repairs to be done after closing.
Remember, the home doesn’t have to be in pristine condition. Just put yourself in your landlord or buyer’s shoes. Think about what would make you satisfied if you were inspecting the apartment after someone else has moved out.
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