A couple buying an existing home, walked through the house right before closing, to find the oven, refrigerator, and shower floor were not cleaned to their expectations. When they arrived at closing the sellers were notified and there was a heated discussion. The buyers wanted compensation to hire a cleaning company, and the sellers felt it wasn’t a big deal because it was a self-cleaning oven and it would take less than an hour to clean the refrigerator and shower floor, they had simply run out of time to finish cleaning.
The sellers agreed to go back to the house after closing to clean, but the buyers wanted the sellers to write a check, just in case they weren’t happy with the cleaning. The buyers wanted to meet the sellers at the house and check their work before the check would be released to the sellers.
The sellers felt that was completely unreasonable and refused to write a check and felt the buyers should trust them. Ultimately the buyers agreed to close and decided they would clean it themselves, as they didn’t want the sellers back in the house.
Normally at closing, the buyers and sellers sign documents in the same room, but in this case, the agents decided to have them in separate rooms to avoid any additional conflict. By the end of the closing the buyers and sellers calmed down, shook hands, and wished each other well.
There is nothing in the purchase agreement that says how clean a house should be unless it is added. It only states that the buyer has the right to do a walk through prior to closing to verify that the home is in the same condition as when the purchase agreement was written. If the house was clean when the purchase agreement was written, there is an assumption that it will be clean on the day of closing.
Everyone has different expectations when it comes to a clean house, but unless you are buying a vacant home, it is not unreasonable to expect the home to be clean enough to cook a pizza and use the bathrooms on the day of closing.
Closing a home should be a fun and exciting experience for both the buyer and seller, as both parties are moving on to a new phase in life. It is important to work with an experienced agent to ensure a successful closing, even when problems arise.
Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.