An important component of any real estate transaction is the personal property items that are included in the sale.
Personal property is everything from the humidifier on your furnace to the basketball hoop in your driveway. When I list your home, I ask you to complete a detailed checklist of personal property items. It is important to be specific when conveying personal property. If we tell the buyer what is included and it is clearly stated in the contract, we should have no problem. However, people get funny about “stuff” and it is important to get it right.
Here are a few tips for a successful sale of your house AND your personal property:
- Specify the number of each item if it exceeds one. (If you have two fireplaces with gas logs, note that there are TWO. If only one fireplace has gas logs, state ONE.)
- If something is attached, built-in, or IN your house that the buyer may assume stays and it’s excluded, does not work or you have never used it, please make this clear on the Personal Property Rider. If the hot tub is “as is,” make that clear upfront.
- If you want to exclude something from your sale that a buyer might assume stays with the house, you have two options:
Remove it before buyers see it. (BEST option)
Clearly state what is excluded in the listing. (I can do this and want you to prove it.)
This can be a light fixture, built-in bookcase, fluorescent lights in your workshop, TVs mounted on the wall, mirrors, etc.
- What else might you consider removing?
Anything that does not work and you do not intend to fix or replace it.
Anything that does not belong to you that the buyer might assume stays.
(Your brother’s workbench? Aunt Mary’s wall sconces?)
- If you rent something (i.e. water softener, security system), make sure this is clearly stated and arrange to have the rental contract transferred to the buyer (if they agree) or have it removed prior to closing.
- Be prepared for buyers to ask for your stuff. Cool bar stools, a piano, that sectional that fits perfectly, the pool table, weight machines, portable sauna, patio furniture, tables and chairs, lawnmower, snow blower, swingset…they may ask for it! I advise against playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with personal belongings until we get the deal done. Think about what you may be willing to leave or sell. Keep in mind that used stuff does not usually fetch a high price and the buyer will hope you just “throw it in.”
- Don’t let an asset turn into a liability. If you want to leave your pool table and the buyer wants it, perfect! If the buyer doesn’t want it and you have nowhere for it in your next home, be prepared to remove it. I can offer recommendations for this! Keep reading...
When I present the buyer’s offer to you, I will ask you to carefully review the personal property to be sure it is correct. I will check everything else in the contract but I need you to verify that the personal property is correct. Once you give it up, it is not a good idea to take it back later in negotiations.
If you want to offer any of your belongings to the buyer, let me know. Please make a detailed list. If you are selling them, determine prices. If you are hosting an estate sale, it is a good idea to offer the items to your buyers first. They will appreciate it.
If you DO include additional items or sell stuff to your buyer, create a separate agreement. Mortgage lenders and appraisers do not like to see furniture, etc. on real estate contracts and it may impact the appraisal, loan approval, and processing.
- Don’t let your sale revolve around STUFF. We need to sell the real estate and keep the focus on getting to the closing. If we can work out something with your personal items that makes everyone happy, that is great and I will help you however I can.
I am sure you can understand why this is so important. No one wants to show up at the final walkthrough and find out that the refrigerator is missing or there is a pile of stuff left for the buyer to get rid of before they can move in. (I guarantee this will hold up the closing and the buyer will want big $$$ to deal with this issue.) Please let me know if you have any questions.
I have seen it all and will guide you every step of the way to ensure a drama-free closing experience!