Not sure what is supposed to stay when you’ve sold your house?
When you sell a lot of houses you tend to have some pretty amazing stories about items that weren’t clear to the sellers…..how about these?
- The sellers moved the water bed and forgot they carpeted around it….so a big hole without carpet was in the master bedroom for our walk through before signing to buy.
- The buyers drove up to discover all the rose bushes were missing….the sellers said they thought they were theirs because they planted them in honor of their Mom years ago (this happened twice….both my sellers blamed it on Mom)
- The front door was not the leaded glass door that was there when they bought it…it was a much cheaper door. The seller wanted the old door for the new house but forgot to tell anyone.
- The curtains in a guest room were the same color…but not the eyelet fabric….the seller told me this a few weeks after closing bragging that the buyer hadn’t even noticed that she took the curtains…..when the buyer called me years later to sell the house for her she pointed out that she would leave the same curtains that were up in that room and would not be replacing them with eyelet fabric.
- All the curtains were gone and holes in the wall from where the curtain rods had been.
- All the curtains and rods were gone and the holes patched.
- The gas logs in the fireplace had been removed (by the seller…..caution….this could be a gas leak).
- The lamppost light in the front flower bed was bent from the seller trying to dig it up as the buyers drove up to their new house.
- No floor molding or tile was behind the desk the seller removed from the kitchen (it was personal property but once again….they had installed the tile floors around the desk that they decided was a personal item later).
- An older black stove was in the kitchen instead of the new black double oven stove that had originally been in the house when the buyer wrote the offer.
If it’s attached, it probably stays…unless you have something in the contract specifically stating it doesn’t stay.
In Texas, all appliances….except the refrigerator. That means dishwasher, stove, microwave. Your washer and dryer are yours unless you agreed in a Non-Realty Items addendum to leave them or sell them to the buyers.
Your faucets, the disposal under the sink, the water softener, chandelier, light fixtures and fans are the new buyers. The mirrors above the bathroom sinks stay. If you have cabinets in the bathrooms, kitchen, utility room and garage….they stay. Even shelves can become an issue if you remove them. This does not mean replace them with cheaper versions before closing….the items that were in the house when the buyer saw the house must be in the house at closing.
The curtains and rods stay…unless you have agreed in the contract that you are allowed to take them. The lampshades on the chandelier remain with the house.
The fireplace screen remains—unless you have agreed in the contract that it does not stay.
Per the Texas Earnest Money Contract: “The house, garage and all other fixtures and improvements including appliances, valances, screens, shutters, awnings, wall to wall carpeting, mirrors, ceiling fans, attic fans mail boxes, television antennas, mounts and brackets for televisions and speakers, heating and air conditioning units, security and fire detection equipment, wiring, plumbing and lighting fixtures, chandeliers, water softener system, kitchen equipment, garage door openers, cleaning equipment, shrubbery, landscaping, outdoor cooking equipment, and all other property owned by the seller and attached to the above described real property.”
“Accessories: window air conditioning units, stove, fireplace screens, curtains and rods, blinds, window shades, draperies and rods, door keys, mailbox keys, above ground pool equipment and maintenance accessories, artificial fireplace logs, and controls for garage doors, entry gates, and other improvements and accessories”.
Mirrors are considered realty items if they are attached above sinks. Always check before you buy if a beautiful mirror is staying….just because it is attached to the wall doesn’t mean the seller is leaving it. Lots of homes have room for large mirrors in closets and bathrooms that could be considered “personal property”……always ask if there is a question…and add a “Non-Realty Items Addendum” to avoid problems later if you believe it could be questionable later.
Brackets for television and speakers can be tricky…..if the seller has a huge TV in the living room and you aren’t planning on putting a TV there….discuss this during your option period. Know before you close if wires are going to be left dangling from the ceiling from the surround sound speakers the seller removed or if you will have a huge bracket for a TV that you didn’t want to hang on that particular wall. The seller may prefer to take the TV bracket and patch the hole for you…..these items can (and should) be negotiated before closing day.
I got a phone call last year from an agent that was walking the property with her buyer before the buyer went to sign the final papers to purchase. Her question? “Where are the surround sound speakers?” This was the first discussion about speakers…..clearly, from the contract, they were not sold with the house. I assume that was a long ride to the title company for that agent and buyer.
Once your house is under contract…if something breaks before closing it needs to be repaired. I recommend you tell your Realtor and buyer the item broke and you are repairing it. If it didn’t work when you put the house on the market….put this information in your sellers disclosure.
The number one reason why Sellers gets sued after closing is for not disclosing items properly on their sellers disclosure….so carefully fill the seller’s disclosure out correctly. If something is in the house that you want (Mom’s Roses, a chandelier, a mirror above a sink, curtains and rods)….if possible, remove them before you put them on the market. If that isn’t possible….make sure in your MLS write up that that item is discussed and THEN make sure it is written in the contract as not remaining.
When it’s all said and done….the happiest Sellers and Buyers are those who are informed.