Clean Up Before Moving Out

You think that by selling your old house, you would be skipping the tedious task of cleaning up when you move out. Well, think again. Of course, the last thing you would want to do is spend the weekend cleaning the place for someone else to enjoy. It’s not just a simple etiquette but it may cause problems with the sale of your home. Check out your contract carefully since some sellers may have insisted (either verbally or written) that they want the place to be spotless clean by the time they move in. You could end up in a lawsuit if you don’t live up to your end of the bargain. During the final walk-through, even when the buyer see just a pile of dirt, could delay closing or even bail on the sale altogether. At the end, your client will be extremely stressed out, and you don’t want to make the day worst.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s buy those cleaning tools and start cleaning up!


To do list #1: Work from top to down

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According to Wendy Wrzos, a certified interior redesign specialist and founder of The Blue Giraffe ( – a home staging and redesign company in New Jersey, she recommends doing a good scrubbing and de-cluttering before putting a house on the market because it can be pretty stressful to do at the last minute.

Start early, to finish early. Don’t panic and try to clean room by room, working from top to down will do the trick. Create a plan for you to finish fast on the tasks.

From dusting the ceiling fans, down to wiping the walls, and then sweep, vacuum and mop. If the refrigerator will stay behind, clean it also, and do a quick clean up to the oven and stove. Schedule these tasks at least a month to two weeks before you move since they can be time consuming. You can line the oven with tinfoil to protect it from future spills. Also check the air vents for dirt or mold, so if you spot any, you could call in a professional to do the work, since it’s not an easy job to clean it up.

Check all the details from one space to the next one. You can always hire a cleaning service if you really don’t have the time and energy to do a good cleaning.


To do list #2: Take a deep breath

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Another thing you need to worry about the final walk-through is the odor of the house. Wrzos says, “The first thing buyers always notice when they walk inside is if your home has any less-than-appealing smells, whether it is cat litter, a wet dog, garbage, or the fish you cooked two nights ago for dinner.”

Strange odors = dirty home. Try to go back into the home for a quick sniff before the final walk-through and bring a friend who might not be as nose-blind to your old home to give you an honest opinion. While air fresheners can actually minimize the lingering odors, it’s still best to know the cause of the foul smell. You can also call a deodorization pro when all else fails to check out.


To do list #3: Take everything with you

Unless the buyer specifically asked you for something to be left in the house, take everything with you. You might think that the new owner may get use of your old stuffs, but McGlone says, “No one wants your old shower curtain and matching trash can.” Double check attics, basements, storage closets, and also the garage for anything you might have missed. It’s best to donate/recycle/toss any belongings that you don’t plan on taking with you.



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