Lisa M. Corr's Blog
When you’ve gone through the lengthy and tiring process of seeking out, bidding on, and buying a new home and then sell your home, the last thing you want to worry about is cleaning your old house before you leave.
However, there’s multiple reasons you’ll want to ensure your old house is clean before you leave. First, as a common courtesy, you’ll want the new owners of your home to have a good first experience and to maintain your rapport with them after closing day. However, there are also legal and financial issues at play.
If your contract states that your home needs to have been “broom-swept” or some other form of cleaning before you leave, then your new owners could technically postpone closing. Furthermore, some states have laws requiring that homes are cleaned by their previous owners before they move out.
Although it can be difficult to define just how clean a home needs to be, legally speaking, your best option is to do your part to leave the home relatively clean, whether that means cleaning it yourself or hiring a cleaning company.
Legal reasons for cleaning your old house
As mentioned earlier, some states state cleaning requirements in the purchase contract when you sell your home. Their definitions of clean can often be vague, but usually include sweeping floors, wiping down surfaces, stripping nails and hangers from walls, and carrying out all furniture and garbage.
These rules are mostly designed to protect people who purchase a home from getting stuck with bulk items and other surprise issues that they’ll have to pay for.
An exception to this is when your home is sold “as is” or when you have some form of written agreement between you and the new owner that some part f your home will be left as is.
Cleaning your house
The ideal time to clean your house is once you’ve moved everything out. However, if you’re moving over a long distance, you might not be able to return to the house once it’s empty to give it a final cleaning.
In this case, your best option is to have your furniture and boxes packed away neatly in the garage, or in the corner of one room. Doing so will allow you to sweep, clean surfaces, wipe down cabinets, and so on, while your belongings are still in the house.
Just be sure to keep a broom handy once you’ve put everything on the moving truck so you can give one last sweep of the floor before you say goodbye to your old home.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything you’ll want to clean before you move out, so here’s a list to go by:
Sweep all floors
Vacuum all carpets
Wipe down cabinets, shelves
Try to sweep under appliances, oven, etc.
Spray sinks and tubs, leave air freshener in bathroom
Wipe inside of refrigerator, if applicable
Remove all nails from walls
Do a final walkthrough and remove any trash you’ve missed
There are many different ways that you can stay safe around your home. One of your top safety priorities should be to try to prevent a fire from happening at your home. Below, you’ll find some tips to reduce the risk in your home.
Pay Attention To Your Dryer
You need to prevent your dryer from overheating. To do this, clean the lint screens after each and every use. A dryer that overheats can cause a serious fire.
Keep A Fire Extinguisher On Hand
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher accessible. Keep these out of a child’s reach. You’ll want to choose an extinguisher that is rated A-B-C. These extinguishers fight different kinds of fires including those that have been started by liquids, electricity, and combustible materials. You never know what could start a fire in your home. When using an extinguisher, think of the acronym PASS (pull the pin, aim, squeeze, and sweep across the fire.)
Smoke Detectors Are Incredibly Important
A smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of your home. It’s preferable to have these installed outside of and inside of bedrooms. Be sure that you test smoke alarms each month so that you know they’re working properly.
Be Mindful When Burning Candles
When you light a candle, be especially careful. As the candle burns, the temperature of the outside of the glass gets very hot. This can start a fire easily. You’ll also want to keep the candle away from any combustible materials like paper and cloth. It’s a good idea to have the candle on a heat-resistant surface. You should also place candles in a place where they cannot be tipped over by children or pets in the house while lit.
Never Leave Space Heaters On Unattended
Space heaters can be very useful, but you should never leave them on unattended or while you’re sleeping. If you do choose to use a space heater, make sure that it is far away from combustible items like curtains, blankets, or papers.
Keep Matches And Lighters Away From Children
Children get curious and tend to want to play with whatever they can get their hands on. This means that you should keep the matches and lighters in your home locked away in a space that’s preferably high up. This is an important safety measure for any home with kids.
Have A Fire Escape Plan
You and your family should collaborate on a fire escape plan just in case of an emergency. You can even have periodic practice drills, showing children where they need to meet outside the home to have everyone accounted for. Help children to understand what the fire alarm sounds like. Younger folks should also understand that you never go back into a burning building once you have successfully escaped.
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It's amazing how one piece of carefully chosen, strategically placed furniture can drastically improve the look and feel of your kitchen, living room, or any other space in your home.
While it is very satisfying to pick out furniture that delights you every time you look at it, furnishing and decorating your home can take a big bite out of your budget. What many homeowners don't stop to consider, however, is that it is possible to get good deals on nice furniture without depleting your bank account.
Here are a few strategies for accomplishing that.
- Take advantage of sales, discount coupons, and closeouts. When a furniture outlet advertises that they "will not be undersold," it's often worth your while to stop over and take them up on that offer. First, however, it's necessary to know what the competition is charging for the same or very similar furniture. Once you're armed with that information, you're in a good position to pay the lowest possible price. Like any type of shopping, comparing prices will save you money.
- Dispense with your aversion to negotiating. Have you every heard people say "I hate negotiating" or "Negotiating makes me feel uncomfortable?" Are you one of those people? For whatever reason, it's a mind set many people have. The disadvantage of thinking this way, however, is that you may be missing out on chances to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. When you add up the savings and realize all the worthwhile ways you can use that saved money, you may reconsider your position on practicing the art of negotiating!
- Estate sales can potentially be a great source of good quality, reasonably priced furniture, and sometimes you can stumble upon incredible bargains. For obvious reasons, your ability to negotiate the best possible deal increases as the end of the sale approaches. When you play the "waiting game" or tell them you'll come back later or tomorrow, you do run the risk of someone else snatching up that great dresser, coffee table, or antique lamp you had your eye on. Waiting can be a gamble which sometimes (but not always) pays off. There's also an art and science to getting the best deals at antique shows, but effective bargaining requires the right mindset, a little knowledge, and plenty of practice.
- Attending garage sales can also yield great bargains and unique finds. Homeowners holding garage sales are often motivated to liquidate their old furniture --especially if it's a moving sale. If you've ever held a yard sale, yourself, you know that the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is to haul unsold furniture back to the house when the sale is over.
Buying your first house can be scary because, admittedly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong! That's one of the reasons that working with a real estate agent is such a good idea. An experienced agent can guide you through the complicated process of buying a home and help you navigate the potential pitfalls of becoming a new home owner. He or she can also zero in on your priorities and assist you in getting the most for your money. A real estate agent can help you stay on track, find the resources you need, meet closing deadlines, and locate homes that live up to your requirements. In choosing a buyers' agent to assist you in matching your needs (and budget) to the available real estate inventory in your area, three important attributes to look for are experience, knowledge of the real estate market, and negotiating skill.
When it comes to negotiating, the vital truths that many first-time home buyers forget are that "everything's negotiable" (or pretty close to everything) and that the asking price of a property is often not the lowest price a seller is willing to accept. A lot depends, of course, on market conditions and the demand for a particular property, but it pays to have a real estate professional in your corner when making offers. Good agents have a knack for identifying "bargaining chips" that can help you negotiate a lower price, gain concessions from the seller, and potentially save thousands of dollars now and over the term of your mortgage.
One of the biggest things first-time homeowners forget is that "there's more to a house than meets the eye". That insight can be viewed from both a positive and negative perspective.
- The negative side: Even though a real estate listing may look like the house of your dreams, there could easily be hidden problems like termite infestations, plumbing repair issues, structural problems, hidden mold growth, noisy neighbors, and so on. Except for the potential problem of noisy (or nosy) neighbors, a reputable real estate inspector can help you identify a wide range of structural flaws and other "red flags" before you sign on the dotted line.
- The positive side: One key thing that many home buyers don't always consider is the future potential of a house or property. With a little imagination, budgeting, and planning, a less-than-perfect house can be developed into exactly what you and your family want and need. Kitchens can be updated, bathrooms can have new vanities and fixtures installed, porches can be screened in, and backyards can have fences built or hedges planted for improved privacy.