Jim Valentine: What stays with the house?

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

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In a residential real estate transaction, the focus often transcends from real property to the realm of personal property. The question becomes “What is included in the sale?” On the surface it seems easily determined, what is attached is real property and included and that’s that. It isn’t always that simple.
There are many reasons why personal property becomes a major factor in a sale. Sometimes the items involved are part of the character or ambience of the property. Some are a moving nightmare and better left, or are they? Some are part of the property value while others can be a detriment to the wrong person. There are some standard practices in the industry, but they don’t apply to every transaction. You must make sure in your transaction to protect your personal property interest, if any, whether selling or buying.
One of the most common personal property items included in a sale are refrigerators. They can be the kitchen fridge, garage fridge, or both. It is important, however, to specify in your offer which you are expecting to receive or deliver. There have been times when they weren’t and the garage fridge was in the kitchen when the buyer went to occupy the home.
Hot tubs can also an item of confusion. The initial conversation usually starts with the question of whether it is operable. Then it is a matter of who gets it. Sellers often want to leave them because of the hassle to move them.
A relatively new area of confusion are the video doorbells and smart thermostats. They aren’t cheap and are affixed to the property. Are they a fixture? Likely by method of attachment, but most people save the original and are prone to reinstalling them at the close of escrow. Be careful to specify if you want these items included in your sale, or to detail them as exceptions to the offering if you are keeping them as a seller.
Grandma’s chandelier in the dining room, the valance in the bedroom that matches your bedspread, and other such personal items need to be addressed. They should be excepted from the offering at the time of the listing and you should make sure that the offer, or your counter if necessary, specifies that they aren’t included in the sale. We recommend that you specify if you are replacing them with another, giving a credit, or offering the property with them removed. Like a marriage, it is easier to negotiate a resolution going in than at the divorce.
There are many things outside that can come in to play. The wagon in the landscaping that your family road out West in, the tractor, riding lawn mower, snow blower, dog house, etc. They can make living on the property easier, but they are costly items and it can’t be assumed that they are included, unless they are. Be specific. Sellers in a happy transaction are often prone to leaving many things that they would otherwise take on general principle. Be friendly in your dealings and you may get more than you bargained for.
Horsey items can be tricky. Buyers often don’t want them but want the house, but during the course of escrow their friend mentions wanting the corrals that the seller has since given away. Be clear about what stays. Many times they are portable, not as permanent as they look. Be careful here, be specific.
As you look at a home make notes, or take pictures of personal items in question to verify what was expected to be delivered or withheld. In today’s competitive market people often compromise on what they would allow to remain, or taken in a transaction in an effort to be able to buy a house. Be clear in writing about your expectations, don’t let the onsite conversation be your basis for reliance.
Most hard feelings in real estate transactions come from the personal property element. It is easy to minimize troubles by putting being specific in writing up front.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless. Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704 or dpwtigers@hotmail.com.


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