After living in a place for some amount of time, there are bound to be a few damaged areas here and there. When you move out, you’ll need to do some maintenance and repairs. If you are selling your home, the repairs need to be done to keep the buyer happy — and they may have even been requested by the buyer during negotiations. For renters, the repairs are generally required by the landlord to receive your security deposit back.

You may be able to do some repairs on your own, but for the sake of convenience, lack of experience/knowledge, or repair guidelines in your lease, some repairs may need professional help. The information below is meant to provide insight into some of the more common move-out repairs and what you can do about them.

Carpet Stains

If you are a pet owner, you have small children, or you are on the messier side, it is fairly common to have to deal with carpet stains. The best thing to do with stains is to tackle them immediately after they occur, but in some cases, you may not notice them until you start emptying the house. Below are some options for getting rid of carpet stains:

  • Commercial stain remover: There are numerous types of commercial stain remover to choose from. Some of the options are specifically for different types of stains (e.g for pets, for red wine, etc.);

  • Baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet, work the baking soda into the stained area, and leave it there for 15 to 30 minutes. Once the appropriate time has passed, vacuum the baking soda up;

  • Dish soap: Create a mixture of ¼ teaspoon of dish soap and one cup of warm water and apply it to the stained area. Dab the area with a dry washcloth and reapply as necessary;

  • Rent a carpet cleaner: You can rent a commercial carpet cleaner from most grocery stores or hardware stores;

  • Professional carpet cleaning: In some cases, your stain removal efforts may not be enough and you may need to hire a professional carpet cleaning service to take care of the stain for you.

Drywall Damage

As you take down paintings or decor off the walls and you move furniture out, it is fairly common to see some drywall damage. Small holes are relatively easy to fix on your own, but larger holes may require some outside help. Consider the following drywall repair methods:

  • Small holes: For small holes, use repair putty or spackle. Some putty or spackle comes in convenient tubes for easy application, in other cases, you may need a putty knife;

  • Large holes: There are hole repair kits and wire mesh pads that you can use to patch medium-sized to large-sized holes. You will generally need putty, spackle, a putty knife, and sandpaper. You will also need to match the paint and paint over the hole once it is repaired. Large holes are a little more difficult and if you don’t have the necessary tools, you need to match the drywall texture, or you simply don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, you may want to utilize professional drywall services.

Paint Chips or Damage

Paint begins to chip and wear over time. If you are the cause of the paint chipping or damaging, your landlord may require you to attend to it, but if it is just normal wear that occurs, you may not be responsible. As for homeowners, paint chips or damage can be one of the first things that potential buyers notice.

If you plan to do this on your own, you will need the following tools:

  • Paint scraper;

  • Wire brush;

  • Sandpaper;

  • Paintbrush or roller;

  • Dropcloths;

  • Primer;

  • Paint.

Be sure to scrape away any peeling paint, paint chips, or other paint damage using the scraper, wire brush, and sandpaper. Once the area is even with the rest of the paint, you can prime it, and paint over it. This can be a time-consuming and tedious process, so if you need extensive interior painting done, you may want to take advantage of professional painting services.

Scratches on Hardwood

If you have pets, or you are generally the host for different family or friend events, then you may have some scratches that need attending to. You may be able to fill in small scratches on the hardwood with wood putty and a stain marker, but large deep scratches will need more drastic measures. If you don’t have the time, or you don’t feel comfortable doing so, it may be a good idea to hire a professional to come sand down floors and re-stain them to fix severe scratches on the hardwood.

Scuff Marks

Scuff marks appear from bumping into walls, moving furniture, and dragging your feet. The good thing is that most scuff marks are relatively easy to manage. Your approach towards removing scuff marks should change based on the surface where the scuff mark is located (wall, floors, etc.) but some options for removing scuff marks include:

  • Hot water and a washcloth;

  • School erasers;

  • Dish soap and water mixture (1:1 ratio);

  • Dampened melamine sponges;

  • Microfiber cloths;

  • Baking soda and a washcloth;

  • WD-40.

Vents, Heating, and AC Maintenance

While not all houses have AC, all home systems are classified as HVAC. From time to time, these systems need minor or major maintenance. If the home you are moving out of is a rental, you will generally only be required to replace the air filters before leaving. But if you own your home, you should consider the following:

  • Look for any leaks in connectors, vents, or drain lines and patch them;

  • Look for any corrosion on wires or terminals in your HVAC system and replace or scrub away the corroded areas;

  • Get rid of dirt and debris that collects in your HVAC systems.

You may be able to do some of these on your own, but HVAC systems are expensive and HVAC maintenance should generally be performed by a licensed HVAC technician.

Exterior Dirt and Damage

Exterior dirt and damage can come from a variety of sources from weather to pests. As long as something you did isn’t the cause for the exterior dirt or damage, tenants will not generally be responsible for managing exterior issues — the same cannot be said for homeowners.

Your house will generally collect dirt on the sides, stairways, your roof, and your windows. Take a hose or pressure washer to any dirt and grime to keep it clean of debris for the next resident. If a hose won’t do the trick and you don’t have a pressure washer, you may want to consider power and pressure washing services to take care of it for you.

Wood rot is another unfortunate reality. While small amounts of wood rot can be repaired by the average DIYer by simply replacing the rotted area with new wood, you likely will need to utilize wood rot repair services to take care of any serious issues

Paint fades over time — especially when it is outdoors and exposed to the elements. As the exterior paint on your house begins to fade, peel, or chip, you want to take care of it immediately because paint acts as a protectant from your siding — especially for those who have wood siding. If you feel comfortable, jump into painting on your own. If you do not, you may want to look into professional exterior painting services.

Although it isn’t considered “damage,” renters are often responsible for yard upkeep and individuals selling or renting their home will want to take care of necessary yard work as well. Be sure to mow the lawn and do any necessary weeding or trimming before moving.

General Dirtiness

Most landlords require their tenants to clean the entire home before departure, and it is a common courtesy for individuals selling their home (or renting it out) to do some general cleaning as well. You can hire a commercial cleaning service to take care of this for you, or you can do the cleaning yourself. You should do the following in all areas of the home:

  • Wipe down surfaces;

  • Dust;

  • Vacuum or sweep;

  • Mop;

  • Clean the glass and mirrors;

  • Clean blinds;

  • Get rid of cobwebs

  • Clean light fixtures and replace burnt-out lightbulbs.

There are also room-specific cleaning you should do — these include:

  • Cleaning out and wiping down the fridge and freezer;

  • Vacuuming and wiping down cabinets and built-ins;

  • Cleaning out and wiping down microwaves, ovens, and stovetops;

  • Clean out hair and debris from any drains.