Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leaving A House To The New Owners

This is a post on how a house should be left to the new owners.

It should  be left this way. But in our experience, it rarely is left this way.

For starters, before a house is even listed on the market, there is a certain level of cleaning that should take place.

Baseboards should be wiped clean. Light switch plates should be wiped clean. Hand rails should be wiped clean. And if the curtains are dirty, with dusty rods, these should be washed and hung up again...clean. Free of suspicious stains. Clean.

After the house is emptied, touch up the walls if at all possible. This is where all of those leftover paint cans hanging around in the storage really come in handy. It takes minutes to do, but it goes a long way to make the house look better.

As cupboards and drawers are emptied, have a bucket of Lysol and a sponge handy. Wipe down the drawers and shelves. And while you are at it, wipe down the cabinets and door and drawer fronts, too. Counter tops? Yes, wipe them down. That should go without saying. You'd think.

Realtors will tell you the floors should be swept before you leave. Yes, they should. And the carpets should be vacuumed as well. Yes, yes they should.

If you have panelled doors in your home, then you are probably aware that they can get just as dirty as your light switch plates. The handles need to be cleaned regularly, the bevelled edges need to be dusted, and the whole thing needs to be wiped down regularly. Regularly.

Bathrooms are tricky, because you obviously will need to use it right until you move out. But if you've been maintaining a certain level of weekly cleaning, then this job should be fast. A swish of cleaner in the toilet, a wipe down of the sinks and showers and tubs with a Chlorox wipe. And if you've been regularly cleaning and scrubbing your bath rooms on a weekly basis, this should suffice. There are some big "if"s in this paragraph.

We all know that moving is a huge job, and packing up all your possessions is a time consuming affair. But you really shouldn't neglect your lawn and garden. If you've been spending any amount of time in your yard, then you know what it needs. It might take an hour on a Saturday to pull a few weeds.

And if the bushes are so overgrown that you cannot walk down the sidewalk to get to the front door without getting scratched and poked? Yes, take care of that. How is an owner expected to get their belongings indoors in one piece?

It's probably too much trouble to wash windows before you leave. Hopefully, you've had clean windows all along to help the sale of your house. On moving day, you probably only need to clean the front door, the doggie smudges on the back patio door, and wipe down a few mirrors. That's not too much to ask, is it?

A few fresh flowers cut from the garden for the new owners...just a nice way to say "Hope you are happy in your new home. I know this house is probably the BIGGEST financial investment you may make in your lifetime, and we tried hard to make it look like it was worth it for you."

And that is how a house should be left for the new owners.

That's all I'm going to say about that. ;)


  1. Yes, That is how it SHOULD be! I leave my house in better shape that it ever has been in; however, that has not been the case for any home that we have bought. Two years ago, we bought a home that is approximately 30 years old and I can honestly say that it has had VERY LIITLE done to it in it's lifetime. The past 2 years have been non-stop home improvements. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel your pain.

    1. I hear you, Arlene! I will say that when we moved in to our house in Pittsburgh, it was spotless. Those owners knew how to love and care for houses!

  2. Your buyers were lucky. I'm sure the extra touch of the beautiful cut flowers brightened an always-stressful move. You live by the Golden Rule. Sadly, I think fewer and fewer people today know or care what that means. I hope you love your new home! M.L.

  3. My wife and i are going to be moving and listing our house within the next year and this post gave us a good list of things to clean when the time comes. We weren't messy people but it is just always easier to prepare when you have a list. By the way, it looks as though you left your house in immaculate shape.