Getting to ready to move out of your rented home can be exciting and also a little stressful. How much of your security deposit will you get back? What is the Property Manager/Owner expecting the condition of the home to be in? How can you get a head start on repairs and cleaning? Is there a guide to follow?
Here are some easy tips on how to prepare for moving out and how to increase your probability of keeping your security deposit.
5 Weeks Out
Start making repairs around the home. Replace broken blinds, tighten loose fixtures, change burned out light bulbs etc… Although you will be paying for some of the materials, you are saving your deposit because a Landlord will not only deduct the cost to purchase the item but also the labor to install or repair it.
4 Weeks Out
Wash all exterior windows, spruce up the landscape, flower/mulch beds, trim hedges and trees
3 Weeks Out
Wash all blinds in the home. My favorite trick is to take the blinds down, place them in the bathtub (fully extended) and spray with Scrubbing Bubbles. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and simply rinse off. Hang them back up to dry and voila!
Give all the base boards a good scrubbing. Again, my go to cleaner is Scrubbing Bubbles. You will have to touch up the baseboards again during your final clean but this will save a lot of time. Don’t forget the bathroom baseboards!
2 Weeks Out
Clean the interior of all windows. Give the inside of cabinets and the pantry a good wipe down.
1 Week Out
Clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, and vents.
Patch any holes left from pictures hung, TVs mounted on the walls, mirrors, etc… If you have the exact match paint available, it is recommended to do some light touch up paint as well. However, be careful, if the paint is not exact, the Landlord could charge you for having to repaint blotchy paint.
Deep clean the oven and refrigerator (if it is not yours). Don’t forget to pull the stove and refrigerator out and clean the sides and back behind them. Replace stove inserts if you were unable to clean them back to “like new” condition.
Clean light switches and tops of outlets. Scrub all doors and door jambs down to get rid of any finger prints or dust. Wash the front door as well (inside and outside!).
Check to make sure all smoke alarms have functional batteries and are installed properly.
Final lawn mowing. You will need to schedule this based on the weather and how fast your lawn typically grows.
Second to Last Day
If you have rooms that have been completely cleared of all your personal belongings then you can begin to finish them out. Start by doing a final dust on ceiling fans, tops of door jambs, and window sills. Then take a vacuum hose and really clean out the space where your flooring and baseboards meet. Ensure to also vacuum the top ledge of the baseboards as well. Complete a detailed vacuum/mopping of the room and then shut the door to cordon it off.
Deep clean any bathrooms not necessary for the last two days. Clean shower doors, tubs, around the toilet and at the base, under sinks, behind medicine cabinets, etc… Wipe down the mirror, ensure faucets are free of dirt and soap scum, and the sink is clean. A little touch that I like to do is fold the toilet paper into a little triangle (like the hotels do). To me, it says someone was here and took the time to clean. Finish up with the floor.
Final Clean / Last Day
On the final day, it is best to complete your cleaning after all the items have been removed from the property. Deep clean any bathrooms that are still dirty. Vacuum rooms, sweep and mop floors, and take your final photos of the home.
Return keys to Landlord!
Remember, in the state of Texas, Landlords have 30 days to account for and/or return your security deposit from the day that you hand over the keys. You must provide your forwarding address as well.
Article by Alexandra Scanlon; Owner/Operator of Allegiance Property Management
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