Buyers and sellers often have different ideas of what should be included with the purchase of a home. Often, there are conversations or emails that go back and forth between agents and their clients prior to writing a Purchase Agreement. Once a Purchase Agreement is written, it constitutes the entire agreement between the buyer and seller, which means everything must be written into the Purchase Agreement. No verbal agreements, previous emails, or text messages are part of the Purchase Agreement between the buyer and seller.
The Purchase Agreement has a paragraph describing items that are always included, unless they are specifically listed as an exclusion. Some examples of the inclusions are; plants, lawn watering systems, window blinds, curtains and rods, towel bars, water softener, TV wall mounts, wall and ceiling mounted speakers, mirrors, air-conditioning equipment, built-in appliances, work benches, and shelving. We tell our sellers that anything attached to the home is included in the sale.
On a recent transaction, a seller had listed their home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for $300,000 and included the kitchen appliances and the washer and dryer. The buyer’s agent submitted an offer for $280,000 that the buyer signed, without asking for any appliances, and the seller accepted the offer. Before the closing the seller sold the washer and dryer. During the walk through the buyer was upset that they were gone. The seller stated he didn’t know the buyer wanted them and he planned to include them if the house sold for $300,000. The buyer had no recourse with the seller as the washer and dryer were not listed in the Purchase Agreement.
In another transaction, the seller removed a work bench and shelving in the garage and at the walk through the buyer noticed they were gone. The seller was given the option to return them or pay the buyers $700 to replace them, so he brought them back to the house.
Sometimes sellers like to leave additional items that are not attached to the house or written into the Purchase Agreement, like paint, stain, construction materials, garden tools, patio furniture, etc. This can also create a problem at the walk through, because in most cases the buyers don’t want anything left behind that they may have to dispose of.
An experienced real estate agent can help you decide what personal property items to include or exclude in a Purchase Agreement.
Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.