Broom clean condition is a term often used in the sale of residential real estate. It describes the condition of a home at the transfer from the seller to the buyer in a contract to purchase and/or a purchase and sale contract.
Unfortunately, broom clean condition is open to interpretation. There is no legal definition for broom clean condition. It often leaves home sellers scratching their heads because they are not sure how much to clean their homes. Alternately, buyers believe the home should have been left in better condition than it was.
At the bare minimum, broom clean means carpets are vacuumed, floors swept, counters and surfaces wiped and free of any dirt and debris.
Broom clean does not mean a deep clean. It certainly does not mean it should be to the level of professional cleaning.
Though many home sellers, who take much pride in their home, opt to have a professional cleaning on their to do list prior to closing. It is certainly a great gesture towards the buyers, but not necessary by contract.
A good rule of thumb is to leave your home the way you would like it left if you were walking into it as a buyer.
Unfortunately for home buyers, do not expect the home to eat of the floor clean and move-in ready when you do your final walkthrough.
Expect the home will not have trash and debris and the condition of carpets, counters, light fixtures to be much how you saw them when you last viewed the home.
Plan on doing a deep, thorough clean of your home on your own when you first move in. Or, if it is in your budget hire a professional cleaning crew.
It all boils down to…. what does your contract say?
Many home buyers and sellers will just quickly peruse a contract and not fully understand the depth of the contract. When a problem arises, it all falls back to the contract. A real estate purchase and sale contract is a legal and binding contract.
Most purchase and sales contracts in Massachusetts state the property is to be left in broom clean condition. The contract will go further and state that the property should be free of all personal belongings and debris.
As a home buyer, if your contract does not have any language regarding the condition of the property, have your attorney add language discussing the condition the home should be in at delivery..
We discussed broom clean. But take it a step further.
Personal belongings and debris. Obviously, you are taking your stuff with you. But debris, this could be excess paint cans, building supplies, playground set, etc.. If it isn’t nailed down it should probably leave the property prior to closing.
To avoid last-minute closing issues, check with the buyer before leaving anything, including paint cans. Don’t assume anything. Personally, I wouldn’t want the burden of having to dispose of every dried-out paint can that you have ever used on your house. Get rid of it yourself.
Sellers don’t use the closing as an opportunity to leave behind unwanted items that are difficult to remove. It will only lead to trouble.
Both home sellers and home buyers should set their expectations of what broom clean condition means so there is no disappointment come closing day.