Home Buying in Santa Fe>Question Details

Juli Curtis, Home Buyer in Santa Fe, NM

Are sellers at all responsible for cleaning a home before the closing in New Mexico?

Asked by Juli Curtis, Santa Fe, NM Sun May 13, 2012

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I think that in general, most people clean before they close a house just about anywhere. It helps to make it much easier for the new people moving in. It can be really difficult to get everything cleaned up and looking nice since it may take a very long time. However, I have a friend that is moving out of her apartment soon, but she is getting some cleaning services to help get it into better shape for the next owner. http://kathysqualitycleaning.com/Services.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 12, 2014
Hi Juli,
Answers below are very good. Here is a practical example. I recently went to do a walk-thru on the way to closing, as I always do with my clients and for my own purchases, and although the house was not perfect, I suppse it was at least "broom clean". But when I went into the garage, all of the garbage and junk they did not want was in there, filling about a quarter of the single car garage with at least a dozen stuffed trash bags. I called the other agent and told him I was not closing until the garage was completely cleaned out and they did what it took to have it done within an hour. I am pretty sure the agent sent his own handyman over there on his dime to get it done... but I was just glad it was done. Respectable and honorable people leave the home they are selling it as they would like to receive it, but occasionally you run into selfish and thoughtless people. There is something you and your agent can do about it, but as Spencer noted, I would not kill a deal over a dirty house.
Best of luck Juli!


360 Ventures Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
So Juli, basically it comes down to whether your contract calls for anything more than the sellers leaving the property in the same condition as when you saw it. The term "broom clean" is often used.
Since paragraph 20 of your contract also gives you the right to conduct a walk-through inspection within 48 hours of closing to ensure the property is in a similar condition as when you saw it, I urge you to exercise that right. If the property is not in that condition, you can write your objections down and notify the sellers that unless and until these objections are resolved, you will not close.

But let's be honest here. Would a less than "clean" property cause you to back out of the deal? Do you want to back out? If you're getting a good deal, it might be worth not aggravating yourself, the sellers, or the process by making a big to-do about something that will cost you up to $200 to have done by someone of your choosing. On the other hand, if the condition is so egregious or you have buyer's remorse and want to back out, then you can choose not go to closing - but be prepared to back up your objections, with photos of the poor property conditions if possible. Even then you leave yourself open to a lawsuit for "failure to perform" and can risk losing if your contract is not specific about the cleanliness issue. I am not an attorney, and am not giving you legal advice - just my opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
Sellers are responsible to some degree per the terms and conditions of the Realtors Association of New Mexico contract item #19 which Leigh-Jo Anzures quoted the language. The bottom line would be what was agreed in your purchase agreement contract?

If you are not yet under contract to purchase or sell a home and the issue of cleaning is important to you, the language would have to be added and agreed to by the Seller. This is an important reason to have representation from a Realtor.

Emily Medvec, CRS
Santa Fe Properties
Google Voice 505-216-6280 24/7
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
Hi Juli,

It depends if their is something in the contract that specifically refers to "cleaning" of the home. General upkeep/maintenance is a section in a contract. For example, in the purchase agreements I work with, it states:

"19. MAINTENANCE. Seller agrees that until Seller gives possession of the Property to Buyer, the heating, air conditioning, electrical, solar, septic systems, well and well equipment, gutters and downspouts, sprinklers, plumbing systems including the water heater, pool and spa systems, as well as appliances and other mechanical apparatus, will remain in the same condition as the Date of Acceptance, normal wear and tear excepted. Until the Property is delivered, Seller will maintain all structures, landscaping, grounds and pool. Seller agrees to deliver the Property with all debris and personal belongings removed."

Now, if the Buyer visits the home prior to closing and discovers a major stain or something that was not there at the time of your contract, then there could be an issue.

If the parties did not negotiate that the home would be cleaned prior to closing, then cleaning the home it could just be a gesture, not a requirement.

Syan Real Estate
Call/Text: (505) 730-8181
Web Reference: http://www.Syan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
The purchase agreement states 'seller to deliver property with all debris and personal belongings removed' but best to insert "seller to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned when vacated"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
I agree with Ron's answer.

The final walk-through--though not really designed to focus on whether a house has been cleaned--certainly encompasses that element. Now, expections and the situation may vary depending on the conditions of sale. If it's a short sale--with the sellers not being in the best of moods--it's understandable if the house isn't pristine. (But it still should be acceptable.)

On a property that a partner and I just rehabbed, we had a cleaning crew come in (as I'd expect most rehabbers would). Still, it wouldn't surprise me if the buyers choose to have cleaners come in before they move in.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
If your procedures are like ours; you are required to leave it in the repair and condition that the Buyers saw it, when they made their offer.
You would not be expected to bring in a Cleaning Service and have it spick and span; but your standards for cleanliness and self respect would dictate that you want them to have a clean home to move in to.
They will take a "final walk thru" before the escrow closes and fill out a form (probably) indicating that the house is the same as it was.

Good luck and may God bless
and Happy Mother's Day!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 13, 2012
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