By closing, house should be swept, debris removed

STARTING OUT

June 19, 1994|By Dian Hymer

How should a house look when the sellers move out?

It's a major letdown to move into a house you've just purchased and find that it has been left a mess. Although this doesn't happen often, it's an experience you'd like to avoid.

xTC Some purchase contracts include boiler-plate language that states that the property shall be left free of the seller's personal property and debris and shall be broom swept when possession is delivered to the buyers. If your purchase contract doesn't include some sort of similar language in the fine print, be sure that it's added.

Let's say your contract doesn't include a clause providing for the property to be delivered to you broom swept and free of debris. During your inspections of the property, you discover that the sellers have lots of stuff stored under the house, in the garage, in a storage shed in the back yard, in the attic, or in the basement.

You might be wise to include a provision in your inspection contingency removal that covers your concern.

Sellers may attempt to justify leaving old paint cans, doors, or scrap lumber behind if these items were left by the previous sellers when they moved out. Regardless of who was initially responsible for accumulating the clutter, if you don't want it, ask that it be removed.

By the way, you may want the sellers to leave the paint cans containing paint that matches the existing colors of the house. You also might prefer that old doors are left at the house if you think you might restore them someday.

FIRST-TIME TIP: Be prepared for the fact that your new house will probably look a lot different when you move in than it did when you fell in love with it.

Part of the appeal of a home is the decor, a lot of which will be moved out when the seller leaves. A house looks different furnished than it does vacant. Once you've moved your own belongings in and have unpacked, your house will begin to reflect your personality.

If you're shocked at the way your new house looks, not because it has been denuded of furnishings, but because the sellers left their junk behind for you to deal with, call your agent right away.

Or call the sellers directly, if you know how to locate them. Make arrangements for the sellers to remove their left-behinds immediately. If they're unwilling or unable to do so (maybe they've moved out of state), let them know that you'll hire a hauler to remove the debris, but that you'll expect the sellers to pay the bill.

THE CLOSING: Even though sellers are usually only required to leave a house in broom swept condition, some sellers will have the house professionally cleaned as a courtesy to the buyers. You'll probably want the house professionally cleaned before you move in, so find out if the sellers are planning on having this done after they move out. If not, arrange to have cleaners come in before the moving van arrives with your belongings.

Dian Hymer's column is syndicated through Inman News Features. Send questions and comments care of Inman News Features, 5335 College Avenue, No. 25, Oakland, Calif., 94618.

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