February 17, 2010,
C.T. asks from Chandler, AZ on February 10, 2010
What's Normal to Leave in House When Selling?
We just sold our house a couple weeks ago and closing very soon. My realator NEVER asked us to point out things that were staying or not - we just assumed it would be the window treatments and appliances. Now that we are packing up everything, I called the realator to see if we could take the shelves in the garage with us. She said anything attached to the walls has to stay, so we couldn't take the shelves. Then I got thinking and had to call her about so many other things ATTACHED to the walls! Our baby gate on the stairs, a small coat rack screwed to the wall, my pots and pans rack, and worstly our "under the kitchen cabinets" radio CD player! They all have to stay! IS THIS NORMAL? I am devastated my kitchen radio has to stay, that's like my TV, I thought I would take it! I am so mad at my realator she never said anything about this before! Should I buck up and let everything stay or put up an argument?
A.S. answers from Denver on February 10, 2010
Speaking as a realtor as a few have already mentioned anything attached to the house, stays with the house. Typically appliances stay as well, washer and dryer are negotiable. Shelving, window treatments, etc are all "improvements to the property" and are considered for taxation value. -If your house didn't have shelves, window treatments, appliances, etc, it would be worth less, right? That's where this provision comes from. In CO the top of each of our contracts states in bold letters to consult an attorney if you have any questions about the contract. If something was unclear to you when you signed, you should have consulted the realtor or an attorney. Sorry this is devastating to you, truly. Nothing is more stressful than moving. But keep your eye on the big picture....you want the new house, you want out of the old one. Is it worth getting wound around the axle for something small and replaceable like a CD player?
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D.W. answers from Indianapolis on February 10, 2010
No, this is NOT normal.
But, those are all things that do need to be negotiated in the contract. Usually Refrigerators/Washers and Dryers do not stay unless specified in the contract.
We left a few items (like a shelf we'd installed in the bathroom) and the fireplace utensils they requested. But, we took everything else. A coat rack, especially if decorative, shouldn't be included. Most of the time, the hardware for window treatments are included in the sale (but you shouldn't have to leave the curtains unless they're attached to a track).
I'd put up an argument and read the contract thoroughly. I'd also reach out to another realtor and see what's standard and what they recommend.
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S.S. answers from Saginaw on February 10, 2010
I think it depends. I wouldn't involve the realtor too much more - just do what you feel is reasonable. The under-cabinet CD player I would find tough to leave, personally, even though the realtor is probably right about it. The buyers might kind of expect it to still be there when they move in, but if it isn't, what are they going to do? I think everyone handles this differently - some people strip a house when they leave, and some leave extra junk you end up having to get rid of. My under-cabinet CD player was a Christmas present from my parents. The new owners might not even use it, might use their iPod or want a small TV... you could see if there is a way you can ask them, or you can just do what you feel is right.
I would take the baby gate down and repair the holes nicely, I would probably take the coat rack if I knew where I was going to put it in the new house... I might leave the pots and pans rack, though - it might have been something that attracted them to the house if it made the kitchen look homier or added to the storage possibilities. Garage shelves - if they are brackets screwed to the wall with shelves laid on top, the buyers would probably expect those to still be there. If they are freestanding shelves that just happen to be anchored to the wall, I would take them.
Think of it this way - your pictures are attached to the wall, but you aren't leaving those! And yes, you might leave "window treatments" in general, but if you have favorite curtains that were bought just to match your sofa... you might consider buying something to replace them so you could take the ones you love with you. Buyers can never be 100% sure what is still going to be there once you move out what you consider your personal belongings. They will deal with it, I always have when we have moved.
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H.S. answers from Washington DC on February 10, 2010
You should definitely check your contract. There should be a section called something like "Personal Property and Fixtures" in our sales contract (we're in Northern VA) it's section 9. It will spell out exactly what is to stay anything else you can take.
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M.C. answers from Washington DC on February 10, 2010
Your realtor should have gone over this before the first showing. My first realtor for the sell of my first house didn't go over this, but the realtor for my second house did. She told me that anything we were planning on taking with us - curtains, fixtures, the house water softner - we were to either pack away, put a note on it or a red sticker on. Then a note on the counter that items with red stickers would NOT convey.
I can understand the leaving of the undercounter CD player, from the standpoint that removing it will leave holes in the cabinet.
Each time we moved I learned something new. The first time we moved, I learned about the window treatments - they matched my living room decor, and were a wedding present. I didn't find out about it until after I had packed them and the buyers were doing final walkthrough. The buyers husband threatened to call of the whole deal for breach of contract! I was shocked. I was by myself during the walkthrough with the buyers and their agent. Hubby had gone to pick up the moving truck, and my agent was in route. Their agent just said 'yep, its in the contract and if they're not left, the deal can be broken'. The buyers hubby even pulled out the contract to show me. Luckily for me, when they had marked window treaments, they added a comment in the below section that mentioned 'will leave living room curtain rods'. Which I had left. I used that as my leg to stand on. I appealed to the wife, and agreed to find/unpack the remaining window treatments if I could please keep the living room ones. She finally agreed and her hubby backed down.
Read the purchasing contract carefully, look at every item they checked and any notes in the comment section.
One thing you can do, is write up a list of items that you are wondering about, and ask the realtor to present it to the buyers. It could be that they don't want your pots/pans rack or CD player,and will just toss them. However, if they do say they want them, then, you'll need to leave them.
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D.M. answers from Detroit on February 10, 2010
We've been told that anything that is screwed into the house, walls, ANY surface whatsoever, unless specifially EXCLUDED in the listing, stays with the house. A friend of ours made the seller of his house return a basketball backboard and hoops that had been attached to the roof of the garage. Having said that, ask your realtor to work with you and to ask the buyers of your home to make an exception for certain items. You may find that things like the coat rack won't work in your new home. The radio/CD player is another matter. I would go to the mat on that one. Also, you may have a case for 'misrepresentation' in a court of law if the realtor mislead you. Maybe make a call to the manager of the office where she works. There may be ways to keep some of your things, but I'd get on that right away.
Good luck. D.
S.G. answers from Philadelphia on February 10, 2010
I'm sure real estate laws vary from state to state, but in PA I'm pretty sure that the rule of thumb is what's attached to the house, stays with the house. I remember when we sold our house, our realtor mentioned this and we even went so far as to change our switch plates and outlet covers before we put the house on the market. Anything that we wanted to keep that was attched to the walls (like some of our curtain rods and expensive curtains) we had to write into the agreement as exclusions (meaning that even tho they were part of the house, they wouldn't be staying behind). And I know in PA, appliances stay with the house unless you exclude them in the contract. :(
I don't know what your options are now that your house is already sold. Maybe keep asking around for a different opinion or worst case scenerio, have your realtor contact the new buyer and see if they are dead set on keeping your radio or anything else you really want to take with you.
C.S. answers from Chicago on February 11, 2010
That is absolutely ridiculous! I have never heard of that before. I can understand some window treatments, but radios and coat racks? Those are your personal possessions and are NOT part of the house. So according to what she's saying, if you have a dresser anchored to a wall that that has to stay? Just crazy! I would give the window treatments and MAYBE that shelves. But then definately draw the line there.