Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management)

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Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I would be holding up funds until what was agreed upon was done. 

Jun 03, 2017 05:36 AM
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

Nathan Gesner  that's a tough senario to explain in 1 paragraph.  My feeling is that if the buyer is really unhappy, they can take pictures, then hire a cleaning crew and take the seller to small claims court later.  Our contracts do not state the home will be "clean" just free of debri and personal property.  

Around here a cleaning crew is under $200.  I'd just pay for it as a closing gift and be the buyers hero.  Bummer!


Jun 03, 2017 07:53 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

She's not in compliance with the contract. At that point, I'd leave it to the lawyers.

Jun 03, 2017 06:56 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Our contract says 'free of debris and seller's personal items.' by COE. No more, no less. Anything less and it's a Cure Notice. I don't like to see final walk-through conducted until the very last minute for this reason. The buyers don't have a right to rush the seller out of the home. Sometimes a good idea is to have a professional cleaner who gives you a price break for volume at the ready as a closing gift. And of course all this can be easily remedied by educating everybody well in advance.

Jun 03, 2017 07:47 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

Our contract is essentially "broom" clean ...whatever that this.  I could sweep a broom over a pile of dog crap and smear it across the floor.  Is is broom clean?  Yes, it is your honor.

You bet your sweet banana I would say something.  I recommend all buyers change the locks or re-key them anyway ... so  a locksmith would be standing by when it is time to take possession.

As for the cleaning ... call a cleaning service and move on.

Jun 03, 2017 07:23 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Nathan Gesner The seller owns the property until the paperwork is signed and recorded. I'm sure the buyer will get the keys at the closing. As for the cleaning broom clean is very subjective.

Jun 03, 2017 06:39 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Do and Say??  I insist upon a hold back to have the home professionally cleaned.... saying is not enough... I'd have a bid in hand and the holdback to cover reimbursement of cleaning....

Jun 03, 2017 08:53 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Our contract does not require keys and we have had sellers not provide keys to all doors at closing. We have had sellers not have everything out at a preferred time, but unless agreed to in the contract, short of the house being debris free and broom clean, there is no recourse for sellers that drag their feet or do not do a thorough cleaning.  

We prepare our buyers for this upfront; it may not be ideal, but it may be reality.

Jun 03, 2017 07:45 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

What does your contract say Nathan? Ours allow sellers to occupy the home until the moment of funding and recording. This can be tricky for walk throughs and sometimes requires a buyer to trust the seller will be out. Unlike others here, our contract does not stipulate broom clean. If a buyer wants to ensure a thorough cleaning they have to ask for it in the contract. Many times the seller just cleans it out of homeowner pride and courtesy but if they don't and it is not specifically written in the contract, nothing can be done to force the seller. Many buyers plan to clean it all over again themselves anyway so don't care or they request a professionally cleaning, but not in this hot multiple offer market. -Kasey

Jun 03, 2017 07:24 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

That has happened to several of sales. The last one someone dumps a big pile of trash in front. Called the agent. He said he towed two abandoned cars and trash out. I think they missed this pile. 

Jun 03, 2017 06:37 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Coldwell Banker Realty

Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI NMLS#1483386 nailed this one!

Jun 03, 2017 06:20 AM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

As Dennis Swartz wrote. Our contract specifies the home needs to be broom swept.

Jun 03, 2017 06:08 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Mission accomplished. Now, as to the "fault" is subjective. Use time wisely

Jun 03, 2017 06:03 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Tell them that closing will be delayed until it is done.

Jun 03, 2017 05:55 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Without the "rest of the story", it's hard to know the circumstances.  You didn't say whether you are representing the buyer or the seller.  First instinct response:  If you're representing the seller, I would not initiate any action but see what the buyer requests and go from there. If you're representing the buyer, I'd say insist on cleaning fees withheld at signing.

Jun 03, 2017 05:39 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

What is the outcome expected?

'Do you say anything to the seller?" Yes.
But I would have done so days before. "How can I help?" 

If I were a seller, and someone TOLD me to be vacant and clean two days before I would tell them to go pound sand and could do the opposite.

Sometimes we create our own crisis.

This is little stuff, I would get the property broom clean and call it done.

Jun 03, 2017 05:38 AM
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

Yep, ask for costs or hold the payment up till they perform! Its your place to insist.

Jun 03, 2017 05:34 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Our contracts USED to say it must be broom clean, but has no verbiage now.

Jun 06, 2017 06:46 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Out here the seller doesn't have to be out until close of escrow.  Home doesn't need to be vacant or clean and is usally quite the opposite since it's done within 5 days of closing while the seller is frantically packing up.


I've NEVER had a seller bring in a cleaning crew.  They also don't leave it a pig sty.

Jun 04, 2017 07:51 PM
Theo Shaw
Baird & Warner Residential Real Estate - Evanston, IL
Serving Evanston, IL & Beyond

This is exactly why I say our profession is part juggler and part putting out fires.


Jun 04, 2017 07:05 PM
Kathryn Acciari
Central One Federal Credit Union - Shrewsbury, MA
Mortgage Loan Originator

I would warn the seller that the home is not cleaned as per the purchase & sale agreement. The buyer may not find the home satisfactory and may request money off the price. Same for the keys not being available - the seller will pay one way or the other. 

Jun 04, 2017 01:17 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hope they had a place to move to, most time it is the day after closing for moving.


Jun 04, 2017 09:36 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

This is where you hold some money in escrow and either delay the closing or pay the buyers to remediate their unexpected efforts and expenses.

Jun 04, 2017 05:19 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

No Closing until it's done - the way it directs them in the Contract that THEY signed! THEN, the keys can be handed over after the signing and recordation.

Jun 03, 2017 10:44 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Wow..just reading the answers it shows real estate is local!! Our sellers are to be out the day before closing unless its a lease back or written in the contract to be out earlier. Everything is negotiable.

Jun 03, 2017 10:04 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Nathan Gesner some people we just can't change! We should change our own direction - away from such people.

Jun 03, 2017 09:40 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I represented a seller like this.  We negotiated a two day post settlement occupancy for him to get the remaining crap out and clean.  At a certain point, you can't do anything but tell them that's what the buyer wants.  

If the buyer must move in settlement day, I would imagine a credit to the buyers for cleaning, if required by your contract, would be in order.  Broom clean is all that is required here.  

Jun 03, 2017 06:43 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Up top my clients, but I would at least bluff and walk out of closing to get the sellers attention.

Jun 03, 2017 06:33 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

You will likely not get future busines so tell the seller how she has made it difficult and could have cost the sale.

Jun 03, 2017 06:12 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Most often the sellers here are out the day of closing, maybe even the night before. Houses are left broom clean and the contracts state that. We do walk throughs the morning before closing. As a listing agent my sellers know from when they list, to when it goes under contract to when we get close what is expected of them. When i am on the buyer side, i stay in touch with the listing agent so they know what we expect. 

Jun 03, 2017 05:45 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

What does the contract say?

Perhaps withhold cleaning fees.

Jun 03, 2017 01:44 PM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

What does the contract state?

In my area cleaniless is not guaranteed but the keys are!

Jun 03, 2017 12:27 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

You delay the settlement or escrow funds for the needed work.

Jun 03, 2017 12:08 PM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

If it was part of the agreement, then I'd hire a professional crew to come in and clean.  Then deduct the expense as closing.  If it's not, then I'd do it anyway as a courtesy to the buyers and demonstrate my professionalism.

Jun 03, 2017 11:46 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

If the contract required a clean house and the seller did not clean, she is in breach of contract. I would remind her of this, but some difficult sellers are just that - non cooperative. We often see agents hiring cleaners themselves or even cleaning themselves, but this is beyond the scope of required work. I would hire cleaners and send the bill to the seller - and hope they pay (but don't count on it!),

Jun 03, 2017 11:34 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Here's what I did with a recent similar incident:  called our attorney and updated him on the situation, told the client they'll probably be asked to have funds held back until all set, nicely reminded her that this is why I had suggested not booking them so close to the closing date and then watched it all unfold as anticipated.  It all ended up just fine & I have another tale to help future sellers learn from.

Jun 03, 2017 11:29 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     It's like a Tenant who leaves without paying the last month's rent.  Is it worth the legal cost to pursue it?

    Was there another agent on the Seller's side?  If so, can you go after that agent and their Broker?

  As for the keys, call a Lockmith and change everything out.   (Here in Florida, the Seller gives the keys to the Title Closer, BEFORE they get the Net Proceeds from the sale).

Jun 03, 2017 11:09 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

The contracts here state that the home must be broom swept (subject to interpretation). My experience is that if a Seller hires professionals to clean it upon their exit the Buyer will do the same upon entry. The winners are the cleaning crews. The rules are explained long before closing that personal property will convey if it remains in the home after its occurrence.   

Jun 03, 2017 08:19 AM
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
Serving Coastal San Diego, Veteran's & Seniors

I dco, but ultimately I may have the home cleaned if it's not presentable and of course per contract, they have to provide the keys...or maybe I just provide extra copies off my copy if that becomes a drama.

Jun 03, 2017 07:59 AM
Allie Angeloni
Long Realty - Oro Valley, AZ

There is usually more of a backstory to this particular situation regarding the Seller, which you would know if you represent them, though you might be representing the Buyer, and not know those specifics Nathan Gesner.  I have seen some homes cleaned and some not, and cleaning can mean different things, so that could be subjective.  Our contracts do not use the term, 'broom clean', and I could guess what that meant, but it was a new term to me personally when I read it!  Our contract says, 'the house has to be in substantially the same condition at the end of sale as it was at the beginning of the sale', when it was first viewed.  The keys are turned over here, at recordation, not at signing, also.  

Jun 03, 2017 07:41 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
WEDO Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I would disclose to buyer of current situation. Closing may be delayed to Seller.

Jun 03, 2017 07:30 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

If possible, charge for cleaning expenses or deduct from sale proceeds.

Jun 03, 2017 07:29 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I would explain to the seller that if she doesn't turn over the keys she won't be paid.  Our contract specifies broom clean prior to closing - nothing about being out 2 days before - walk through can be the morning of closing - what does your contract say? If it doesn't say two days out then I can understand the seller taking her own sweet time. 

Jun 03, 2017 07:14 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Like Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI NMLS#1483386  we also had "broom swept" in our commercial real estate contracts.  A

Jun 03, 2017 07:05 AM