Selling or Buying a Home? Understand What Does (and Doesn’t) Get Included in the Sale

Selling or Buying a Home? Understand What Does (and Doesn’t) Get Included in the Sale

Congratulations! Whether you're a buyer and found your house, or a selling and have finally secured a buyer, it's a great feeling. As a buyer and seller agent in central Virginia, a big part of what I do is helping clients determine what they should sell, keep, try to sell or what stays with a property.

In almost all cases where a standard contract is used, (meaning one that is common at either the state or local level), the contract will spell out specific things that are to be left at the property; things like curtain rods, blinds, screens and the like. But just because it's in the contract doesn't mean you have to leave those items behind…as long as both parties agree to a contract modification, anything that is supposed to be sold with a property can be taken by the seller…as long as it is in writing and on the contract.

Likewise, when a buyer moves in, they expect certain things to be left behind that are in the contract boilerplate, and if they are not there on arrival? Expect that the buyer will have recourse (better than that? Do a walk-through after the sellers have vacated and as close to the closing time as possible, and if something is missing, hold up the closing until the issues are resolved).

But what about things that the seller doesn't want, or the buyer does want? Perhaps a seller has, say, a riding lawn mower and is moving to a condo…the seller may offer to sell the mower to the incoming buyer, or they buyer may ask if it can be part of the deal.

In either case, a separate addendum to the contract should be drawn up for the sale of personal property, including a complete description and the price. Neither buyers or sellers should rely on word-of-mouth or a handshake. Hard feelings about a personal property sale misunderstanding can lead to a lot frustration and can sabotage an otherwise smooth transaction.

Something else to watch out for? Say that, as a seller, your grandfather made a custom front door for you. You love it, and plan on taking it with you. Since a front door is one of those things that stays with a property, you need to be sure this is explicitly in the contract as NOT being sold with the home…so that the buyers can make an offer accordingly and make plans to procure a new door, too.