I have run into this a few times over the years, the gap between the expectation of cleanliness between buyer and seller is not specifically mentioned in the contract and can cause a problem.
Many times, buyers and sellers are extremely busy moving from one dwelling to another and there is a wide variance for the cleanliness of a home that a seller will leave for the buyer. Some sellers will consider that the home needs to be in immaculate condition and other sellers will do the minimum possible in order to sell the house. People live in their homes with varying degrees of order and have different standards.
A good clue is when a buyer first steps into a prospective home. Now, if they proceed to purchase the home, the home should be in the equivalent condition that it was in at the time of the first viewing. If there are pets, or the house is smoky from cigarette smoke and the buyer expects these issues to be remedied prior to the closing, it must be addressed in the offer! For instance, one could write in, "Carpet to be professionally cleaned prior to close."
Mainly, I advise my buyers upfront that the sellers may not have the same idea of what is clean and just to be prepared for a range of cleanliness when you walk through it prior to close.
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