What Does “Broom Clean” Really Mean?


Five years ago, I wrote a post called What is Broom Clean?  And now that I’ve been in the business that much longer and seen more during those years, it’s time for a refresher on the subject…. As I mentioned in my previous blog, it is clearly stated in the Purchase and Sale (P&S) Agreement – which is generally signed two weeks after the offer has been accepted and the home inspection has taken place – that “the Seller shall deliver possession of the Premises in broom clean condition, free of all debris, personal effects and other tangible items which are not sold to Buyer or left on the Premises with Buyer’s prior written permission.”

In practice, however, this term becomes quite subjective and open to interpretation. Some sellers are fastidious and get their homes deep cleaned once they’ve moved out so the house sparkles and is spotless. But others not only leave their homes with items that they say “go with the house” (i.e. items that were there when they moved in) but they also leave their homes in not so clean condition. And this can create quite a problem during the walk through and at the closing table, to say the least. Believe me, I’ve experienced it first hand….

So here’s my recommendation on broom clean, and I’ll keep it short and sweet – Follow the Golden Rule! “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” If you would want the kitchen drawers and cabinets dust- and dirt-free when moving into a home, then do that for your buyers. And if you have a question about particular items, ask in advance. For example, what if there is a door that was removed from a doorway 25 years ago and has been stored in the attic ever since? Instead of just leaving the door there saying that it “goes with the house” so that the buyers will have to ultimately deal with it, ask them if they would like you to leave it for them. My strong hunch is that the answer will be a resounding “NO thank you.” Isn’t that the way you would like to be treated if you were the buyer? And isn’t that kind of clean and uncluttered condition the way in which you would like to receive your new house?

Sometimes it can get confusing though, especially if you know the buyers aren’t moving in immediately because they are renovating sections of the house. In those situations, sellers may rightly think the house doesn’t really need to be broom clean because of all of the dust and mess that will be created during the renovations. But the bottom line is that it still does need to be broom clean, and before you make that assumption, ask the buyers. I can assure you that all of you will be happier in the long run….

What are your thoughts on this subject? When you sold your last house did you follow the golden rule with regard to the broom clean condition of the house? And did it make for a successful walk through? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.