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As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

What Is the Definition of Broom Clean When Selling Your House or Condo?

The tools to get your house broom clean

When you’re selling your home in Massachusetts the purchase and sale contract usually calls for the house or condo you’re selling to be left in “broom clean condition”

What exactly does that mean?  What is the expectation for the condition the property should be left in?

What should a seller do before leaving their house for the last time?

“Broom clean” means that your property should be emptied of everything and at a minimum swept clean after your belongings have been moved.  If you think the buyers might want that table, or your old yard equipment, or the washing machine you had intended to take with you – ask your agent to find out if the buyers want the items.  The old cans of paint?  Even if they match the colors on your walls the buyers may not be interested and in fact may be upset to be left with them. Don’t leave anything in your house unless you’ve cleared it specifically with the buyers. 

One common exception to the rule are old house parts.  Doors stored in the basement that have been removed from rooms upstairs or old pieces of trim removed in a remodeling for example are usually best left in the house – and many buyers will assume that those items will remain.  It’s not a bad idea to have your agent check with the buyers if you’re unsure.

It’s not a bad idea to go room by room for a final check.  Open up every drawer and cabinet, the washer and dryer, the dishwasher, etc. When my family moved we once left our games in the playroom cabinet and another time a last minute load of laundry was inadvertently left in the dryer.

“Broom clean” does not mean that you have to scrub your house down – but it’s awfully nice if you do.  Your contractual responsibility is to leave the house swept and empty of all possessions. However, many times a seller – who’s often too tired to clean after moving – will have house cleaners in for a last polishing after their move.  It’s a very nice gesture and will be appreciated by your buyers.

Categories: Seller Info

  1. Iris

    Yes, it *would* be appreciated. However, since I used to clean my head off when I sold or moved and then had to do it all over again when I moved into the new place, I don’t do it anymore. I only have so much life energy, too. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Bolton

    Hi Iris ~ Sorry to hear you’ve had bad experiences. I had just one and it was partly my own fault. I figured that the seller had already moved most of her possessions so how bad could it be? I didn’t do a walk-through and as a real estate agent I should have known better. The place was a horrible mess and I was boggled that the seller had sat across the table from me knowing how she had left the place.

    I still make sure my place is spic and span when I move – even if I have to have cleaners come in. That being said no question it’s a challenge – especially when the move and the closing are taking place on the same day.

    May your next home be spotless when you walk in the door the first time!!


  3. Marissa

    I have a question – we rented our house and made the sure the property was broom swept and clean. The tenant calls after 4 months and said that something fell behind the washer dryer and they had to move it and it was dirty, and according our contract – which provided for “broom swept” facilities – the house was NOT broom swept! I did not even think to move the washer/dryer to clean behind as we never moved it in the two years we lived there! Were we suppose to move the washer/dryer which they requested us to leave, and clean behind it?

  4. Tasha


    I recently move out of this house.. I left a couple of things in bath & upper cabinet in bathroom. I wish would known this. I clean the entire house and they still said the house was fithy..

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