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Like it or not, there is no legal requirement for sellers to leave their homes completely empty and clean for the buyers taking possession. If as a buyer you didn’t include this condition in your purchase agreement, you may be faced with not only dirt and grime to get rid of on your move-in day, but also with some old pieces of furniture and other personal belongings left behind by the buyer. If that’s the case, it’s best to hire a disposal service to remove all that off-putting trash.
If you are taking possession of a home that was left in dirty disarray, you have two options. You can contact your agent, who will contact the seller’s agent, who will contact the sellers, who may or may not be shamed into coming back to collect whatever junk they left behind. But chances are that once the closing has taken place, the sellers are not likely to feel any obligation to do this. So, your second option is to do the cleanup yourself. And here are some tips to help you.
Delay the move-in until the house is ready.
If possible, don’t move in your possessions until you’ve cleared out and cleaned up the new house. The clean-up is so much easier and quicker without your boxes and furniture blocking the way.
But, if you hired professional movers who are on the clock, have them place your belongings together in just a few certain areas, leaving the rest of the house clear.
How to get rid of the previous owner’s stuff.
Inconsiderate sellers will leave all kinds of stuff behind—from clothing and personal belongings to old furniture. The garage, the attic and crawl space are the three areas in particular where you’re most likely to find all kinds of odds and ends that should have been thrown out by the homeowner, probably a long time ago.
This junk may have to be removed by professional disposal services. If that’s the case, see if the previous owner will at pay for these services. Really, it’s the least they could do!
No getting around the cleaning chore!
Unfortunately, it does happen that sellers move out leaving the house dirty. When you move in, you may be faced with gobs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, cobwebs on the walls, and an oven that looks like a bomb went off in it. Yikes!
And here you also have two options. You can hire a cleaning service—they sometimes offer a special deal for a new house cleaning—or you can roll up your sleeves and go at it yourself. If that’s the case, remember to wear rubber gloves and a mask and to get as many friends and relatives as possible to help in order to accomplish this in one day.
Sellers should keep in mind that leaving a house completely empty for the buyers is not that difficult, especially with trash disposal services at their disposal! Plus, staying on good terms with the buyers is of benefit to the sellers—they may need to have their mail forwarded or some messages relayed to their new location. Leaving behind a dirty house with their old clutter is not likely to motivate the new owner to do these favours!