Marion Chase's Blog
When you’ve gone through the lengthy and tiring process of seeking out, bidding on, and buying a new home and then sell your home, the last thing you want to worry about is cleaning your old house before you leave.
However, there’s multiple reasons you’ll want to ensure your old house is clean before you leave. First, as a common courtesy, you’ll want the new owners of your home to have a good first experience and to maintain your rapport with them after closing day. However, there are also legal and financial issues at play.
If your contract states that your home needs to have been “broom-swept” or some other form of cleaning before you leave, then your new owners could technically postpone closing. Furthermore, some states have laws requiring that homes are cleaned by their previous owners before they move out.
Although it can be difficult to define just how clean a home needs to be, legally speaking, your best option is to do your part to leave the home relatively clean, whether that means cleaning it yourself or hiring a cleaning company.
Legal reasons for cleaning your old house
As mentioned earlier, some states state cleaning requirements in the purchase contract when you sell your home. Their definitions of clean can often be vague, but usually include sweeping floors, wiping down surfaces, stripping nails and hangers from walls, and carrying out all furniture and garbage.
These rules are mostly designed to protect people who purchase a home from getting stuck with bulk items and other surprise issues that they’ll have to pay for.
An exception to this is when your home is sold “as is” or when you have some form of written agreement between you and the new owner that some part f your home will be left as is.
Cleaning your house
The ideal time to clean your house is once you’ve moved everything out. However, if you’re moving over a long distance, you might not be able to return to the house once it’s empty to give it a final cleaning.
In this case, your best option is to have your furniture and boxes packed away neatly in the garage, or in the corner of one room. Doing so will allow you to sweep, clean surfaces, wipe down cabinets, and so on, while your belongings are still in the house.
Just be sure to keep a broom handy once you’ve put everything on the moving truck so you can give one last sweep of the floor before you say goodbye to your old home.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything you’ll want to clean before you move out, so here’s a list to go by:
Sweep all floors
Vacuum all carpets
Wipe down cabinets, shelves
Try to sweep under appliances, oven, etc.
Spray sinks and tubs, leave air freshener in bathroom
Wipe inside of refrigerator, if applicable
Remove all nails from walls
Do a final walkthrough and remove any trash you’ve missed
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Mortgage blind spots could be dangerous, especially if you are living on a tight budget. Blind spots are generally tied to unexpected fees and emotions that cause you to overlook what would otherwise be obvious. A common mortgage blind spot has to do with the loan origination process.
Loan processing fees are just the start
Included in loan origination costs are underwriting and processing fees. These fees pay for work that lenders perform to evaluate the financial help of loan requesters. During the evaluation, lenders might also evaluate the condition and financial value of a house.
Loan origination costs aren't the only hidden mortgage fees that could increase the amount of money that you pay to own your home. Total costs of loan origination fees could top one percent of the total price on a house. That's more than $1,500 on a house priced at $150,000.
Then, there is mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance and homeowner's association fees. Other than mortgage insurance costs, these expenses may be more commonly known about. What you may not expect to pay when applying for a mortgage are:
- Mortgage application fees (Depending on the lender, you might be able to negotiate your way out of paying mortgage application fees. This is a time when it might be worth it to let your real estate agent lobby for you, working to gain you a win.)
- Title fees (Similar to how you receive a title on a car, truck, motorcycle or boat that you purchase, you should receive a title to your house after you pay the mortgage off. Title fees are not free. But, this doesn't mean that you have to pay high title fees. You or your real estate agent can shop around for good title fee prices.)
- Courier fees (These fees are associated with closing costs. Although relatively small, courier fees could be easily overlooked when buying a house.)
- Mortgage prepayment fees (To protect their financial investment, some lenders ask homeowners to pay several months of their mortgage in advance. Sign a mortgage that has mortgage prepayment fees stipulated in the writing and you could be hit with late prepayment penalties.)
- Discount points (These fees can be negotiated. Handle these negotiations the right way and you could end up paying lower closing costs.)
- Late fees (As they do with bank account fees, mortgage late fees can add up, reaching into thousands of dollars.)
- Unexpected home inspections (Depending on the lender, you could be hit with fees associated with unexpected home inspections that your mortgage lender makes.)
Financial institutions are in business to earn money, to turn a profit. Unscrupulous financial institutions aren't the only organizations that charge homeowners hidden mortgage fees. Well known and highly respected lenders also tack hidden mortgage fees onto loans.
The only time when you might become aware of hidden mortgage fees is when you are late making a payment. You also might become aware of hidden mortgage fees if you fall behind in your mortgage payments and your loan goes into default.