People vacating a home are generally expected to leave it in good condition for the next occupants. This is true whether you are talking about homeowners who have sold or renters leaving an apartment as they move on to the next station in life. The question is, what constitutes good condition?
The general rule of thumb is that vacating residents will broom clean on the way out the door. We will explain what that means and how to do it in this post, but keep in mind one very important thing: broom cleaning is contingent upon vacating residents living a generally clean and organized lifestyle. Messy people for whom regular cleaning is not a normal practice may have to do a lot more than just broom clean.
Definition of Broom Clean
The phrase ‘broom clean’ comes from the idea of sweeping the floors on the way out of the house. It is rooted in the belief that sweeping the floors would be the last thing you would do before turning a home over to new occupants. Having said that, ‘broom clean’ has a very clear definition in the real estate world.
Leaving a home broom clean means leaving it with no surface dirt, grime, trash, etc. It does not mean having rugs professionally cleaned or ripping out and replacing the bathtub and sink in order to compensate for hard water stains. Those extra things may be included as contingencies in a purchase offer, but they really do not have anything to do with broom cleaning.
How to Broom Clean
With the definition of broom cleaning out of the way, let’s get to the topic of how to actually do it. The best way to attack broom cleaning is to either go room-by-room or project-by-project. A project-by-project approach would involve choosing a starting place – like washing all the windows for example – then attacking all the floors, all counter spaces, etc. Below are the basics:
- Windows – Windows and sills should be free of any surface dirt, smudges, and grime. Hitting them with window cleaner and a rag should be sufficient.
- Floors – Floors should be free of any surface dirt and debris. Vinyl and tile should be mopped, carpet should be vacuumed, hardwoods should be thoroughly swept.
- Counters – All counter tops should be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner, for obvious reasons. There should be no surface dirt, debris, or food particles left behind.
- Sinks – All sinks (kitchen, bathroom, utility room) should be cleaned with a disinfectant or cleanser. Sinks with stubborn stains might remain stained even after cleaning.
- Tubs and Toilets – Tubs and toilets should be cleaned using a disinfectant or cleanser. Where necessary, vacating residents might have to apply a cleaning product to get rid of hard water stains, lime buildup, etc.
- Appliances – Any appliances remaining in the home should be cleaned with a disinfectant and rag. This includes the refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, microwave, etc.
- Shelving – Any shelving remaining in the house, be it freestanding or integrated, should be dusted and quickly cleaned with a furniture polish. Vacating residents should not leave a layer of dust behind.
- Utility Spaces – Homes with garages, sheds, and other utility spaces require a little extra attention. Those utility spaces should be left clean and swept. Trash and unwanted possessions should not be left behind for new residents to deal with.
Though the list we offer here may seem like quite a bit of work, it really isn’t for homeowners who make a practice of cleaning regularly. A homeowner who is generally neat and clean does all these things as a matter of routine anyway, so broom cleaning on the way out only adds a few more minutes to the moving process.