Don't Hire a Cleaning Lady to Clean Your House on the Day of Closing

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

I've been working a very difficult sale that was supposed to close today. Unfortunately, it didn't.

My clients had already removed all their furnishings and were sleeping on inflatable mattresses. When the closing got rescheduled, they also decided to reschedule their housekeeper to do the final cleaning when there were no mattresses to work around.

cleaning ladyMy clients then remembered they had already scheduled the utility disconnection. I contacted the buyer's agent, who also happens to be the buyer. She told me not to worry. Her utilities were going on today. There would be a seamless transition.

I explained that my seller was leaving town and the cleaning lady would  be coming, so we needed utilities. I was assured there was no problem. You can see where this is going, right?

At 4:20, I get a call from a frantic seller. He had already taken the key from the cleaning lady and had totally forgotten. He wanted to know if I could go over and let her in. Sure, but it will take me 20 minutes to get there.

My husband and I hop in our car and head over. We arrive and the cleaning lady is sitting on a lawn chair under a tree waiting for us. It's 102 degrees here today and she's pregnant. We let her into the house and I ask how long it will be before she's finished. No idea but she'll call me so I can come back to lock up.

dripping waterWe hop back into our car and we're almost home, when I get a call from the cleaning lady. She's panicked. There's no water in the house. This is a 4,000 square foot house that needs to be cleaned for a final walk-thru tomorrow and my client is in a car driving to Maryland. I tell her not to worry, I'll take care of it.

It's now 5:00, I send a text to the agent/buyer and she sends a text that the water doesn't go on until tomorrow. So much for seamless transition.

We turn around. Sure enough no water. What else can we do but knock on neighbor's doors? I walk to the nearest neighbor (did I mention these are one acre lots?), no answer. Then I walk to the next neighbor whose yard is slightly larger than one acre. He's home and yes we can carry buckets of water to my client's house to clean.

Fortunately, the cleaning lady had brought two buckets so we fill those up. My husband carries the buckets across the acre lot to my client's house. Did I mention it's 102 degrees? We decide the best thing to do is just fill the sinks in the house so the cleaning lady doesn't have to carry the buckets of water back and forth. Great idea.

buckets of waterOnly one problem, the bathroom sinks aren't holding the water. That means, water will have to be carried back across a one acre lot several times to clean this house. Fortunately, the pregnant cleaning lady has a younger woman helping her who can carry the water back to the house for her.

After carrying several buckets of water for her, my husband and I decide we'll go to dinner and then come back to lock up. Thinking how long could it be?

We get back to the house at 7:45 p.m. After sitting in the car for about 15 minutes, I go in and ask when she'll be done. She thinks soon. We decide to wait.

At 9:15 p.m., five hours after we had originally left our house, she walks out the door.

The moral of the story...don't hire a cleaning lady to clean your house on the day of closing. Arrange it to be cleaned the day before, when you know you still have water and electricity.

P.S. If you're looking for a Franklin TN REALTOR® who happens to know a fabulous cleaning lady, give Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC a call at (615) 495-0752.

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lenn Harley 06/28/2012 08:04 PM
  2. John McCormack 07/01/2012 12:46 AM
  3. Valerie Zinger 07/01/2012 04:50 AM
  4. Louise Thaxton NMLS 69996 07/01/2012 05:19 AM
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Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

Another good example of all the things that can go wrong when the closing doesn't happpen on the day it was scheduled. Most buyers and sellers cannot understand the calamity until it happens to them.

Jul 01, 2012 01:58 AM #23
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Yikes ... the trials and tribulations of being a real estate agent!  And, IMHO that cleaning lady deserves a big time raise :)

Jul 01, 2012 02:00 AM #24
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Yikes that's dedication for both the cleaning lady and you.  Utilities seem to be one of the biggest sticking points when it comes to finalizing a home sale.

Jul 01, 2012 02:05 AM #25
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
Century 21 New Millennium - Upper Marlboro, MD
A doctor who makes house calls.

Goodness!  I'm sorry after all that it didn't close.  I hope it goes as planned on Tuesday.

Jul 01, 2012 02:25 AM #26
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Thank you for sharing detailed quality information on don't hire a cleaning lady to clean your house on the day of closing.

Jul 01, 2012 02:26 AM #27
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Good grief, Tammy ! The sotries we get to tell can be funny and interesting years later, but they are sure no fun to go through at the time.  At least you figured out what to do, and both the seller and the buyer should be grateful to you for that!

Jul 01, 2012 04:23 AM #28
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Now THAT is a real estate tale that will live in infamy.  Glad it all worked out, but just goes to show that waiting until the last minute to do anything is a bad idea.

Jul 01, 2012 04:44 AM #29
Louise Thaxton NMLS 69996
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp Louisiana NMLS#2289 Equal Housing Lender - Leesville, LA
Military Mtg Specialist - 866-960-9115 VA FHA USDA

Tammie - talk about going the extra mile!  You win the prize - wow, you just never know what will hold up a closing!

Jul 01, 2012 05:21 AM #30
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Tammie ~ What a story!  Your patience paid off but what a hardship for everyone involved, when all of the closing details don't pan out as expected.  Your efforts certainly helped get the job done!!

Jul 01, 2012 05:47 AM #31
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Larry - Thanks for the vote of confidence by subscribing.

Pat - Thanks, I love being included in your favorites. I can see you're the one responsible for the increase in traffic to this post.

Teral - The seller is still chomping at the bit over this.

Carie - I'm with you.

Cindy - As long as the seller has vacated and the house is move-in ready, the timing of the utilities usually doesn't matter.

Stacey-Ann - That's two of us.

John - Thanks for stopping by.

Susan - We do living an exciting life, don't we?

Chris Ann - Agreed.

Louise - I'll know one new thing for the future.

Maureen - My seller will really never know exactly what I did to make this all happen.

Jul 01, 2012 06:13 AM #32
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Tammie- Murphy's law, right?  I can't imagine having carry those buckets of water in any temperature much less 102.  People forget all of the extra things that Realtors do to get the job done.  It's a good thing your seller had the kind of Realtor who doesn't say "not my problem."

Jul 01, 2012 06:16 AM #33
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I came over from Patricia's post.  How frustrating for you and the cleaning lady.  I will remember your story and tell sellers to have the house cleaned the day before close.

Jul 01, 2012 07:01 AM #34
Melissa Brown
Helen Adams Realty - Charlotte, NC
Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale

Tammy, what an ordeal!  I can picture you and your husband carrying the buckets of water.  I hope your client appreciated your efforts!

Jul 01, 2012 10:44 AM #35
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Kathy - I hope he feels so.

Evelyn - Better to be prepared for the day of closing, even if it gets rescheduled.

Melissa - It was quite a sight.

Jul 01, 2012 01:28 PM #36
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Tammie, crazy story, but one that shows how you go above and beyond.                  

Jul 01, 2012 03:53 PM #37
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Sandy - Just trying to get this to the closing table anyway I can.

Jul 02, 2012 12:22 AM #38
Demarco & Marisa
Remax Kings Realty - Riverside, CA
"The Choice is Clear!"

Hi Tammie, way to go above and beyond to ensure that the house is cleaned and delivered correctly. So many times I've had listing agents just drop the ball on us because it was just too difficult. Great job!~Marisa

Jul 02, 2012 09:20 AM #39
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Marisa - I know that buyers look favorably on sellers who go the extra mile. Unfortunately, I had to help a little to get us there.

Jul 02, 2012 11:21 AM #40
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

You lost me when I got to the "carrying buckets of water".... Something would have to give... or somebody!  I don't carry buckets of anything but golf balls!  You are a real trooper! Kathy

Jul 05, 2012 11:21 AM #41
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Kathy - The truth is this was a difficult sale. I was hoping that if my client overlooked anything, the very clean house might make up for it. Well, guess what? It did. The buyer decided to extend grace to a repair the seller thought he had satisfied but had not. If I hadn't carried those buckets of water, who knows what might have happened. The result was the house closed successfully.

Jul 05, 2012 12:59 PM #42
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