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Selling Your House? Here’s What You Can and Can’t Leave Behind

Leave It Behind or Take It With You?

So your home is off the market and you’re off to your next adventure. Awesome! Before you go, though, you’ll have to pack up your belongings. That might make you wonder what you can leave at the house and what you really should take with you, even though you might want to leave it behind.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get ready to close the door for the final time.

You Can Leave Device- or Repair-Specific Items

Unless the buyer specifically says otherwise, go ahead and leave behind items such as:

  • Appliance manuals and warranty information
  • Air filters for the HVAC system
  • Leftover floor tiles
  • Extra cabinet hardware
  • Extra pieces of siding

It’s usually ok to leave these types of items because they can actually help the buyer, not be a hassle to them. Even so, use your best judgment. For example, a buyer might really appreciate having three or four extra pieces of siding in case they catch a rock in the lawn mower and put a hole in the siding one day. But it’s probably not a good idea to leave a stack of 50 pieces of siding. That’s overkill and a burden to the buyer.

What About Your Old Paint Cans and Samples?

Paint must be disposed of properly, not just thrown in the trash. So, you don’t necessarily want to leave old paint behind for the buyer, because they might want to repaint the house in their own colors, and then they would need to figure out how to get rid of your old paint.

It’s a good idea to ask the buyers in advance (through their agent) if they want you to leave the paint behind. If they say no, then you should take it upon yourself to dispose of the pain properly.

In General, Don’t Leave Anything Behind Without Asking

Aside from the helpful items above, you should plan on removing pretty much everything. Of course, you can always communicate with the buyer’s agent and find out if there is anything the buyers specifically want to keep, and if they say yes, then you can leave those items.

To ensure you don’t miss anything during your cleanup:

  • Go through each room and look through all the cabinets, drawers and closets
  • Don’t forget to look in the attic, basement or overhead garage storage areas
  • Have someone else in the family go through the rooms too, just in case you missed anything

Remember, Minnesota and Wisconsin real estate contracts require sellers to remove all debris and personal property. If you aren’t sure about what to do with a certain item, ask your Realtor.

The Final Cleanup

Many purchase agreements use the phrase “broom-clean condition” or something similar. This basically means that you as the seller should take care to leave the home in a condition that is reasonably clean and doesn’t need to be cleaned very much when the new owner moves in. Keep in mind, this is in the purchase agreement, which is a contract, so it’s a requirement.

Here are the basic things you should do as part of your final cleanup:

  • Sweep and vacuum all floors, including the floors in the closets and storage spaces
  • Thoroughly wipe down cabinets and counters
  • Clean all kitchen appliances, including the inside of the microwave, inside the fridge and freezer and inside the oven
  • Clean all the bathrooms, including the toilets, sinks, showers and vanities
  • Sweep the garage floor
  • Do whatever you can to remove pet stains and odors

Lawns and Driveways

If you sell during a Minnesota/Wisconsin winter, consider clearing the driveway and sidewalk one final time before closing. And if it’s summer, mow the lawn a couple of days before closing. Either way, you’re doing a major courtesy for the new owners of the home you loved so much.

Ready to Sell?

If you’re thinking about selling your home, Servion Realty can help. Contact a Servion Realtor for assistance in everything from photos to moving tips to getting that house listed and sold.

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