Agent reveals the one spot you must clean before an inspection

Lifestyle Team
·7-min read

Founders of the smash-hit Facebook Mums Who Clean groups Rachael Hallett and Karlie Suttie reveal their fail-safe guide to real estate inspections, with must-hit areas, handy tips and some real real estate insight in this extract from their new book Mums Who Clean.

Mums Who Clean Karlie Suttie (L) and Rachael Hallett (R) rental tips
The Mums Who Clean, Karlie Suttie (L) and Rachael Hallett (R) , have some hot tips for anyone dreading a rental inspection. Photo: Supplied

Rental inspections can be really stressful even when you know your home is clean. Someone comes into your home and literally rates your ability to look after it – and cleaning is obviously a big part of this.

Your lease will spell out any specific obligations you may have, such as organising professional carpet cleaning and pest control. It’s important to read and understand your lease to ensure you know your rights and are meeting your contractual responsibilities. Each state has its own laws, so make sure you’re familiar with them. Knowing your rights is essential when you encounter an issue.

The general aim for a rental inspection is to present a clean and tidy home. Keep in mind that you still need to live there, so there is no need to stop doing your normal activities such as washing clothes and cooking food.

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Presenting well at an inspection has many benefits for both a tenant and a landlord: a tenant gains a positive rental history, and a landlord/agent can easily identify maintenance issues.

If you’ve had a bad run and your place is a mess, you might like to start with the My Home is Out of Control chapter. This will get your home up to a normal, lived-in standard. Then you can follow the instructions in the main room chapters of the book to get each room up to scratch.

Areas to Focus On

Midsection Of A Man Checking Documents Standing Near House With Solar Panels On Roof
These are the spots that matter to real estate agents and landlords. Photo: Getty Images

The hints below give you some areas to focus on, especially if your time is limited.

1. Front door/patio

When an agent comes to inspect your home, this is likely to be the first place they see. If they are waiting for you to open the door (or making sure you’re not home before they let themselves in), they may take a minute or two to look around. This area will mostly require dusting and cobweb removal – especially around the lights.

2. Walls

Having clean walls throughout your home really lifts the overall feeling of cleanliness and gives the impression that the home is well looked after.

3. Skirting boards

Removing dust and scuffs from skirting and architraves is essential. Ensuring this is done not only makes the whole area seem cleaner but also shows your attention to detail.

4. Yard

You may prefer to outsource this, but a quick mow, weed and sweep-up of mess shows a tenant takes pride in the whole property, not just the interior.

5. Floors

Clean and tidy floors are essential. Messy floors make even an otherwise spotless home feel uncared for. Floors are also an excellent way for agents to determine lots of maintenance issues. If the floor material is dirty and difficult to see, a problem might be missed. For example, a leaking shower often shows up on the surrounding floor in the bathroom – if the agent can see it, they will be in a beer position to arrange to have it fixed quickly.

6. Window furnishings

Wiping over blinds is another aspect of cleaning that is often forgotten. This is a great way to show your agent you care for your home. For inspection day, open up the windows and window coverings – this ensures lots of light and air makes its way into the home.

7. Showers

Making sure the glass is clear and the tiles are clean is really important. Showers are one of the more common areas for rental maintenance. If a shower is not cleaned regularly, an agent could easily miss vital maintenance issues like serious mould and leaks.

8. Windows

Clean windows, tracks and windowsills make identifying areas that need maintenance very easy for an agent. Windows can often have leaks, and being able to identify those leaks easily can prevent serious mould or rot issues.

Ensure the sill is wiped to remove dust and any dead insects.

9. Exhaust fans and/or rangehood

If these go uncleaned they can often break. Tenants sometimes don’t realise that their failure to keep up with cleaning could lead to them becoming responsible for any damage.

10. Sliding door tracks

Keeping sliding door tracks vacuumed can prolong the life of the sliding door. Sliding door rollers can wear, so keeping the track free of debris helps them roll well and means they will require maintenance less oen.

If the tracks are full of dirt and debris, the agent may believe any problem with the door is simply an issue of cleanliness, rather than something that requires repair.

Agent’s Tips for Inspections

For lease and leased sign on a black display outside of a residential building
Insider tips for the rental inspection. Photo: Getty Images

Even though having a completely spotless home for an inspection is not necessary, it does make an agent’s job easier and a tenant more attractive to a landlord. Most agents can tell the difference between a home that is generally well cared for and one that has been cleaned up specifically for the inspection.

Agents often look at exhaust fans. These are regularly forgotten, and the amount of grease and dust in them is a good indicator of how well a tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities.

Dead insects, dirt and dust in windowsills, especially next to the front door, can influence the overall clean feeling of a home.

Inspection cleaning checklist:

  • WHOLE HOME – light fittings, ceiling fans, walls, windows, window furnishings, doors, skirting boards, architraves, floors; remove rubbish and dust; place dirty washing in hampers

  • KITCHEN – exhaust fan/rangehood, oven, stove, cabinet exteriors, sink, tapware, splashback, benchtops; load the dishwasher or wash the dishes if possible

  • BEDROOMS – make the bed or pull the covers up; remove clothes and other items from floor

  • BATHROOMS – exhaust fan, tapware, basin/s, shower glass, shower screen tracks/frame, shower tiles and grout, shower corners (surface mould), drain grate, bath interior

  • TOILETS – toilet exterior, toilet bowl interior, toilet seat, toilet-roll holder

  • LAUNDRY – exhaust fan, tub/trough, cabinet exteriors, benchtops

  • LIVING ROOM – ensure floor is clear

  • DINING ROOM – ensure floor is clear

  • OUTSIDE – cobwebs, dust, flooring/decking, paths, lawns, weeding

While you aren’t being judged for the cleanliness of your personal items, it’s a good idea to have them put away in appropriate places. This will help your home look and feel tidy, and it will allow the agent to access all areas and make any maintenance decisions.

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Vacate/end of lease cleaning checklist:

  • WHOLE HOME – ceilings, light fittings, ceiling fans, ducts, walls, windows (including windowsills), window furnishings, flyscreens, doors, door handles, skirting boards, architraves, floors (including grout)

  • KITCHEN – exhaust/rangehood, oven, stove, dishwasher, cabinet interiors, cabinet and kickboard exteriors, sink, tapware, splashback, benchtops

  • BEDROOMS – interior of all wardrobes

  • BATHROOMS – exhaust fan, tapware, basin/s, inside vanity and any cabinets, shower screen, shower curtain, shower tracks/frame, shower tiles and grout, shower base, drain grates, bath interior

  • TOILETS – toilet exterior, toilet bowl interior, toilet seat, toilet-roll holder

  • LAUNDRY – exhaust fan, tub/trough, interior of all cabinets, exterior of all cabinets and kickboards, benchtops

  • LIVING ROOM – as per whole home

  • DINING ROOM – as per whole home

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

This is an extract from Mums Who Clean by Rachael Hallett & Karlie Suttie. Mums Who Clean was published by Ebury Australia on 2 February 2021, RRP $29.99.

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