You see a lot of bad behavior in the real estate world, and one of the things that never fails to surprise/horrify me is the appalling condition of the home that so many sellers are willing to leave to their buyers. While it’s true that from a legal perspective, “broom-swept” is often the acceptable condition upon transfer, there’s a reason why the smartest sellers leave sparkling homes for their buyers.
First, What’s So Often Left Behind
Most people are relatively conscientious. But even these sellers often leave behind old paint and even older cleaning supplies. The rationalization is that these were the items left behind for them, so they’re leaving them behind for the new buyers too – “just incase” they might need it (never mind the fact that the paint or cleaning supplies may be decades old). Another common rationale? Moving is exhausting!
Don’t leave this kind of clutter behind for your buyers. There are companies that specialize in responsibly disposing of paint and old cleaning supplies. Use them or ask me for a recommendation for your area. For a modest sum, compared to the hassle of doing it yourself, they’ll come often same or next day and pick it up for you. But either way, don’t underestimate how much “stuff” one small closet can hold.
I did a deep clean of my father’s house recently, who by all accounts is averse to clutter. In one of the smallest hall closets that looked fairly empty, I found seven boxes worth of junk that that hadn’t been touched, along with cleaning supplies that had been moved three separate times and then been left untouched since 1974. On that same note, it’s easy to assume an empty house is a quick and simple clean. It’s surprising how much time and effort deep cleaning drawers, cabinetry, trim and lighting really takes. Paying for a professional move out clean is expensive but is worth it. There’s nothing worse than spending a million dollars for a new home only to have to clean the previous residents’ soap scum from the bathroom drawers before you can put your things away in your ‘new’ home.
The Benefit of Making an Effort
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the sellers who seem to inherently understand the value of leaving their home as welcoming as possible. These are the people who don’t just deep clean, they also leave behind helpful instructions, labeled paint cans they’ve checked to see aren’t dried out, even replacement light bulbs. And while it may be simply because they enjoyed many wonderful years in this home and hope the same for the buyers, there’s another benefit.
Buyers walking into this for a pre-closing walk-through are completely dazzled. It usually sets up a hitch-free closing during a time when emotions are often running high. Many buyers can feel anxiety and tension during the closing process, and this is a such a gracious way to help diffuse those emotions.
Real estate transactions are truly all about the experience, and that starts from the very first time a prospective buyer sets eyes on a home and continues until the keys are in hand. Making these experiences as rewarding and considerate as possible makes the process more efficient and enjoyable for everyone arrived.