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  • Toddler helping dad vacuum the house

    How Clean Should My House Be When I Move Out?



March 2019


Want to move house with a clean conscience? Get a handle on how much cleaning and fixing you should do before you move.

Moving house is hard work and yes, having to clean adds even more to your already long to-do list. There is no avoiding it because leaving a clean house for the next owner or tenant is not only good karma, often it’s a legal obligation.

Working out how much you need to clean can be tricky – particularly when the definition of “clean” can be different from one person to the next. Generally though, there are some guidelines that you can follow whether you’re a renter wanting your bond back or a vendor selling your house.

How clean is clean?

The type of cleaning you do when you’re moving out is more like a spring clean rather than your everyday household chores. It’s not just running around with a duster, vacuum and mop, a ‘moving out’ clean should aim to get rid of ingrained grime and dirt around your home.

So, it’s things like:
  • Cleaning inside the oven and rangehood (and behind the oven, if you can get to it)
  • Washing blinds or curtains
  • Washing windows, inside and out
  • Wiping out the insides of all cupboards and drawers
  • Scrubbing all the grime and scale from wet areas

A deep clean will take you at least a day and a lot of elbow grease! Given the extent of it, many people choose to enlist the help of professional cleaners once all the boxes and furniture have been removed. If you’re unsure about move-out house cleaning costs, shop around and get some quotes.

Don’t forget the garden, either. Outdoor areas should be left neat and tidy – which may mean you have to sweep hard surfaces, mow the grass and pull out weeds.

Selling your home? Here’s what clean means

If settlement day on your home is fast approaching, then you should start thinking about cleaning your house before moving out. You have a legal obligation to hand over the house in the same condition that it was in on auction day or the day a contract was signed in a private sale.

Not only should it be clean, but any breakages or issues that have occurred since the contract was signed will also need to be fixed (as well as any special conditions mentioned in the contract). The buyer has the right to do what’s called a pre-settlement inspection in the few days leading up to settlement – if there’s anything that they think needs fixing or is missing compared to what’s in the contract, they could request a delay in settlement until it’s all fixed.

Remember; it’s nice to be nice! Another person or family will be excited to move into this property and call it their home. Leaving it free of stains, marks and rubbish will help their moving day run as smoothly as possible.

Ending a lease? Here’s what clean means

If the lease is up on your rental and you’re about to move, you’ll want to start cleaning so you can get your bond back. In most states and with most real estate agents, you’ll find that there are rules about leaving the house clean and tidy – otherwise you may have to pay for it to be cleaned.

If you’ve been living in the home for a long time, then the landlord will generally allow for some reasonable wear and tear on the property – such as carpet that is becoming thinner in high-traffic areas or timber window frames that are becoming weather-damaged. These types of things are beyond your control, whereas giving the property a good clean is something you can do.

If you’re unsure about how much detail you need to go into, check your tenancy agreement or with your agent.

Follow our end of lease cleaning checklist to make sure you cover off on all the main areas of the property.

The final word

When you’re moving out, you should leave the property clean and tidy. For renters, this is important if you want your bond back in full; and for vendors, it’s important so that settlement isn’t delayed.



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