Congratulations on finding a Windsor property! You love everything about the house including a bunch of extras. It has a great outdoor shed, wonderful window treatments and you can’t say enough about the wonderful antique chandelier in the dining room! It’s more than you hoped for.
The problem is: It just might be more than you hoped for. Before you sign on the dotted line of your purchase agreement, you want to make sure that these extras are included in the price of the home. These fixtures may or may not be staying when the sellers move.
Items normally included in a home sale are those that are attached permanently to the house, such as the cooling and heating system, range, cabinets, that sort of thing. These are all left for the new owner. However, it’s the decorative features that often create problems between the buyer and the seller.
For example, that outdoor shed? The buyer may have no intention of leaving that. The window treatments? Sorry, but they are going as well. And the antique chandelier? That’s a family heirloom and no way will that stay! Buyers often assume that what they see, is often what they get. This is not true! Don’t take any chances! Make sure, when you write your purchase offer, that you indicate what you want to stay. If that’s the shed, window treatments or any light fixtures, make sure it’s in writing! Don’t rely on verbal agreements either. Get it in writing!
Walk through the property and make a list of what you feel should stay with the house. Usually, these items are included in the listing sheet, however, if you are unsure, write it down and confirm. Don’t hesitate to ask, as it is always better to be on the safe side. The last thing you want to see is a missing wood shed in the back yard at your final walk through.
I always suggest making a note of what decorative items you want to stay. Do you like the large custom-made mirror in the entryway? What about the flat screen TV built into the wall? Stainless steel refrigerator or microwave? There have been times where the seller simply forgets to mention that they are taking these items to the agent. Again, double-check. Whatever you want in the house, make sure it is listed prominently on the purchase offer.
Also make sure that you list items that you want removed once the house is sold. Maybe you don’t like the spa or the swing set. If you want it to disappear, include it in the purchase offer. This can also be included on a separate sheet of paper and attached to the contract. Once it is approved, the buyer and seller must sign it.
Once you make an offer, the seller can either agree or disagree with what you want included in the house. They will cross the items off and initial changes. You will now have a chance to counter offer back to the seller. This can often go back and forth but until everyone agrees, the offer is not a contract. All of this will be in writing of course.
Now it’s time for the walk through. Make sure you take your contract and make certain the items you agreed to have stay are there, and the ones you want gone, have been removed. If you find something missing that was to be included, then you have the contract right there. This will give you more power if there is a discrepancy.
While most home sellers are honest, and ready to move on, there are times where things can get a bit messy. Again, this is where you should never assume or rely on an oral contract regarding any real estate transaction. It is simply a recipe for disaster. Take my word for it, buyers and sellers can argue over a very small detail but it can delay the sale or make it collapse completely. So leave no doubts.