Vacating a House: ‘Broom Clean’ or Professionally Cleaned?

Vacating a House - 'Broom Clean' or Professionally CleanedIt has been a long and arduous process of selling your home and finding a replacement. The paperwork is complete, the lawyers have been paid, keys have been exchanged, and now you’re standing at the front door watching the truck pull away with all of your worldly possessions. Your last remaining task is to clean the house in anticipation of its new owners’ arrival. Ironically, you find yourself wondering whether a ‘broom clean’ house is clean enough.

Those of us who have been in this position find ourselves torn. On the one hand, we know that the new owners are likely to make a significant mess during the moving and unpacking process. There really is no point in making sure the house is immaculately clean in light of the dirt that is most surely coming. On the other hand, we also don’t want to leave the future occupants with a mess.

Feelings of guilt and remorse aside, the question of broom clean versus professionally cleaned has more to do with legal obligations than anything else. If the sales contract between the two parties calls for professional cleaning, so be it. Those vacating the house really don’t have a choice in the matter. In the absence of such a provision, however, the general understanding is that someone vacating a house will leave it broom clean. The problem is, there is no hard and fast definition of ‘broom clean’.

Think Like You’re Preparing for Guests

In the years we have been in business, My Divine Concierge has helped countless people pack up their homes and move to a new location. As part of that process, we have left teams behind to clean the vacated properties. It has been our experience that a good rule of thumb defining ‘broom clean’ is to clean as though you were expecting out-of-town guests for the holidays.

In all likelihood, you would not have the carpets professionally steam-cleaned. You would not pull the refrigerator out from the kitchen wall and clean underneath. You would not scrub the grout in the shower or on the bathroom floor to make it look as clean as it was the day it was installed. You should, however, do the following:

  • Carpets – Carpets should be vacuumed thoroughly. Use the appropriate attachment on your vacuum to run along baseboards and around door frames. If there are cobwebs on the ceiling, this is as good a time as any to get them, too.
  • Other Floors – Ceramic, linoleum, and wood floors should also be cleaned commensurate with how dirty they are. If there is no visible dirt or residue, a simple sweeping will do. However, you might need a damp mop if there are spots of dirt and debris here and there.
  • Counter Tops – The counters should be wiped down with a rag and a mild cleaning agent. While you’re at it, give the sink a quick wipe down along with the top of the stove and the front of the refrigerator. You are just looking to remove any visible surface dirt.

Though we’ve only given three suggestions here, you should get the point. You want to do enough cleaning to remove surface dirt that you wouldn’t want your out-of-town guests to see next time they came for an extended stay. Treat the new owners of your home the same way.

One last thing to consider within the definition of broom clean is this: do not leave behind anything that is not included in the sales contract. In other words, take that old ratty sofa to the dump yourself; do not leave it in the basement for the new owner to deal with. This is important. Why? Because far too many homeowners leave trash behind that has to be handled by the new the occupants of the property. Not only is this rude, but it’s also not right.

My Divine Concierge can help you pack up and broom clean your house in anticipation of a move. Packing and moving assistance is just one of the many services we offer.

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