How Clean Should You Leave a Home When You Move Out?

When you sell and close your home and it is finally time to pull all of your life’s belongings out and move on, there is an unspoken expectation of how clean the house should be left. Many a home seller asks the question: how clean should it be left/how clean is clean enough/how clean is socially/morally/etiquette-ly acceptable?

Most real estate home purchase contracts will include a clause that states the home must at least be what is called broom clean. Generally, this means that the seller needs to leave all walls and the ceilings bare along with sweeping up after everything is removed from the home. Even this terminology is vague and leaves very much room for interpretation. Some states, California for example, leave out the expected condition of the home at turnover except to say it needs to be in the same physical condition as when the offer was made and accepted and all belongings and debris should be removed at move out.

The best way to determine what is best for the particular sell of your home, is to consult the actual purchase contract. Look for anything that would state the extent of expected cleanliness the home should be left in. If you are unsure if your purchase contract says anything about cleaning at move out it is a good idea to ask your real estate agent.

What do you do if there is nothing stated about expected cleaning?

If the wording is very vague or there just doesn’t seem to be anything at all in the purchase contract about expected cleaning of the home it is a great time to ask yourself, “What would I expect or hope for if I was the buyer?”

The best rule of thumb is to simply leave the home in the condition you would hope to receive it in yourself. How would you like to be greeted when you walked in the door to your brand new home? What would you expect to walk into when you first open the front door? Just because the deal on the home purchase has already gone through does not mean you won’t burn a bridge that could have been useful In the future if you leave the home in poor condition.

Tip: Moving is long and tiring work, especially if you have a large home full of belongings or a large family to move. You will want to start right away on the packing process as soon as the purchase is made so that you can then move on to the cleaning process and ultimately the enjoying your next home process. After packing and moving all of your things out of the home you will be pretty tired so hiring a professional to come in and clean after all of your things are out is a great way to take care of the cleaning if you can afford to.


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