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Seller Did not Clean House Before They Left

seller did not clean house

An age-old question, does a seller have to clean a house before they leave? This question is up for debate but it all depends on what was in the contract at the time of closing.

If it was stated in the contract that the seller has to leave the home clean or move-in condition “broom clean” then the seller is obligated to do so based on the contract. However, there’s a caveat to this contingency.

Broom clean is a real estate term used to describe the condition in which a seller or tenant must leave a home. The term is open to interpretation because we all have a different idea of what clean should be. At a minimum, the home should be free of any excess stuff like personal items, the floors should be swept and vacuumed as needed, etc.

Are you supposed to clean a house before closing?

Most laws will state that the home probably needs to be reasonably clean. So what does reasonably clean means?

Since everyone has a different idea of what home cleanliness should feel and look like, it’s hard to say what a clean house is.

However, common things should be done like mopping the floors, taking all your belongings with you, dusting and emptying the refrigerator, etc.

You should try to do the things that you know should be done when selling a house. You want to make sure the property is in such a state that you would want to accept it.

What you don’t want to do is deceive the buyer into thinking they are getting this beautiful house and then you move out and within the stress of packing you end up leaving a mess.

In most if not all cases that is just not the right way to do things. You wouldn’t want someone to do that to you, would you?

How would you feel if you were in that situation and the seller did not clean the house and left you a mess before you moved in?

I am pretty certain that you wouldn’t be the happiest new homeowner. You’re probably thinking I finally received the keys to my dream home that I’ve been wanting for so long and you get to the front door, turn the lock and you are confronted with a mess you have to clean.

Not a good way to start your new journey.

Although, there isn’t a law stating how clean you need to leave a house after you sell it. You want to make sure you do the best you can to leave it presentable.

If you are the buyer, unless it’s in the real estate contract, there is not much you can do about receiving a messy home.

You can go to a small claims court however, you need to decide if it’s worth the time and resources.

List of items to clean after selling a home

Remove all nails from walls and patch holes

You’ve been living in your house for a number of years, you’ve hung pictures, clocks, mounted TVs, you name it you’ve punched holes into the walls. now that you sold the home you need to go through and fix these things that way you leave the home in great condition for the buyer.

Repaint when necessary

If you have a lot of chips on your walls, old paint, and the home needs to be updated with some fresh paint. Go to your local hardware store, get the paint and spend a day or two touching up the home and making sure it’s nice and presentable for the buyer.

Dust ceiling fans

One of the items in your home that collects the most dust is ceiling fans. Take the time to dust them. It will make a huge difference when the buyer and agent are doing the final walkthrough.

Clean out cabinets and drawers

One huge thing that’s overlooked when moving because you are in a frenzy and you’re trying to get to your new house, is that you overlook cleaning cabinets and drawers. Take the time to go through your drawers in your bathroom and your kitchen and clean out all the stuff that’s in there. Also, dust and wipe it out with a wet cloth to make sure it’s nice and clean.

Clean sinks tubs showers and toilets

Please don’t overlook these areas when cleaning your home before you move out. Roll up your sleeves and get these parts of your home nice and clean for your potential buyers.

Clean and dust baseboards

Like ceiling fans, baseboards gather a lot of dust and they really look bad after years of neglect. However, you’re in luck we have a quick and easy fix. Again go to your local home goods store and buy a baseboard cleaner. With a towel and some hard work, you can get them cleaned in a matter of hours. It will make your home look so much cleaner when your baseboards are not full of dust and grime.

Take out the trash

Last but not least take out all the trash inside and out of the home. You definitely don’t want your new buyer driving up to their new home and seeing a bunch of trash sitting outside waiting for them.

Professional cleaning before selling your house

If you are not sure how much to clean a house after moving out? Hire a professional cleaner. As we said above a seller does not have to clean the house before they leave unless it’s stated somewhere in the contract.

However, that doesn’t mean they need to leave your new house messy because you didn’t buy the home as-is.

If you were buying the home as-is, you would expect to have somewhat of a mess and the price would reflect that. Well, you are paying full price and you expect to get your money’s worth, right?

So if you’re selling your home and you’re too busy and you don’t have time to clean. Your best option would be to hire a cleaning company. Fees may range between $200 and $300 depending on the size of the home.


The seller did not clean the house before they left, what do you do? It isn’t much you can do if it wasn’t in the contract when you were closing on the house. However, the seller should at least leave the home in a broom clean condition.

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