Personal Property vs Real Property
Question: I am a little unsure what must stay with the home and what I can take when I sell. For instance, I made some custom draperies that I would like to take so I can use them at the next home.
Answer: That is a good question to ask as it often causes problems if the buyer is expecting to find draperies when then take over the home after the sale and they are missing. Generally, window treatments will stay with the home. Since draperies are sized for the windows in the home and are usually not of any value to take away, they will stay with the home. In your case you have the ability to remake them to fit somewhere else. So, you can take them but you will want to be sure to explicitly state in the contract and on the MLS that they are excluded from the sale. Then the buyer is not caught off guard and surprised when they are missing. Everything in real estate is based on contracts and is written so that there is no confusion. In the purchase contract the buyer can specify that they want the stove, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer and anything else they would like to include in the purchase. When you review the contract for the purchase of a home you will want to carefully look at all those stipulations. You may want to take the washer and dryer and not include it in the sale, but if you miss that request and sign the contract, then the washer and dryer become the property of the buyer. It can cause quite a problem if that is discovered later and you do not want to leave those items behind. The contracts have been changed recently to try to eliminate those issues but nothing is perfect. It is good to clarify with the buyer what is staying and what is going. You are taking your wall mounted flat screen TV but are you leaving the bracket to hold a TV? Maybe the new buyer would rather it be taken down and the wall patched. Maybe the new buyer would like to purchase the system completely. What about the surround sound speakers mounted on the walls? The key is to make NO assumptions but to discuss those items with the buyer so that both the buyer and the seller's expectations are properly set. Years ago we represented the buyer on a sale and the home had a beautiful chandelier. When we did the walk through the chandelier had been replaced with an ordinary chandelier. We asked what happened to the beautiful chandelier and the seller indicated that the chandelier had been in the family for decades and it was a very expensive Tiffany chandelier worth approximately $10,000. The chandelier had not been excluded in any of the paperwork. The buyers were gracious and allowed the seller to take the Tiffany chandelier. They could have pressed the point and likely won their case that it had not been excluded and they bought the house because of the chandelier and wanted it put back. The seller was fortunate in this case since they did not follow a correct procedure in the contract but through the generosity of the buyer were allowed to keep the keepsake. The best procedure is at the time a listing agreement is accepted the seller indicates those items that will be excluded from the sale so that it is clear from the beginning. If that is not the case, then when an offer comes in a counter must be made that excludes those items and it must be agreed to by the buyer. The objective is NO surprises and a complete understanding of what stays and what goes. Finding out at the walk through can be very stressful and argumentative. Put it in writing from the start and the finish will be a lot smoother.