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House Cleaning After the Sale – What’s Required?

filed under: For Sellers posted on May 12th, 2014

Cleaning up after sellingNearly 4.6 million homes have been sold each month so far this year, the National Association of Realtors reports. If you’ve just sold your house, then you’ll need to clean it up for the buyer to take possession. But how much clean up is necessary? These tips will help you understand your obligation and plan your clean up efforts:

Purchase Contracts

Some states issue a Purchase and Sale Agreement that is signed within two weeks of accepting an offer, reports Home Sales by Lisa. This document outlines the condition you must leave the house in. Often it says you must leave it “broom clean.” Any personal items not included in the sale must be removed.

The buyer can ask you to come back and clean the house if you haven’t done a thorough job. They may not bother if you leave a few hangers in the closets, but an old grill on the patio and paint cans in the garage will get you a call back to remove those items.

Clean Up Options

By the time your house has sold, you’re ready to move on. You could hire a service to come in and do the clean up. Your realtor has names of companies and individuals to recommend. Take the items you want to keep and they will dispose of the rest. If you have a number of items that you want to sell or give away, then make it a project and plan it out over a few days.

Sorting Through It All

Rent a dumpster to save on trips to the landfill. Even the smallest container holds several pickup loads. When you’re finished, the service hauls the full container away. Sort through your items and create a pile to be disposed of and another pile to give away or sell. Click here to find a container rental service near you.

Freecycle is an organization working to minimize the number of items put in landfills. It maintains forums where people can list items to give away or items wanted for free. If you have boxes of craft materials, a school teacher would love to have them. Several bags of topsoil, peat moss, and miscellaneous garden tools? A local community garden group could use them. Freecycle is a good way to recycle items by giving them to people that will really “use them up” and not just throw them away.

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are alternatives, but they often have restrictions and require items to be cleaned and presentable. Freecycle people take items “as is.” I Dream of Clean lists several organizations that benefit from your unwanted items. The list includes:

  • Cell Phones For Soldiers – refurbishes cell phones and gives them to active-duty soldiers
  • Shoes2Share – collects shoes for people and sends them overseas
  • Dress for Success – collects clothing that is used by people for work or interviewing

Final Cleaning Day

Your last day at your old house is a day to make the home “broom clean” for the buyer. Your final touches to the house should include:

  • vacuum all carpets
  • clean the stove top, oven and refrigerator
  • remove everything from kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers
  • scrub sinks, tubs and toilets
  • mop tile and vinyl floors
  • remove any toxic items such as paint and cleaners
  • take all trash with you when you leave

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