MAJOR’S REAL ESTATE TIPS: When Selling a Home, What Goes and What Stays?

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When you’re selling a home, it’s important, in order to ensure a smooth transaction, that you disclose very specifically what goes and what stays.  The general rule is that if something is attached to the property, it stays with the property unless specified as an “exclusion” in the MLS listing.  For example, a dining room chandelier is attached to the house; unless it’s specifically excluded, it is assumed to be included in the sale.  A mirror hanging on a hook would not be assumed included as the hook is attached to the house, not the mirror.  A mirror bolted to the wall would be a different story.

Not addressing items like these can create a world of hurt at a walk-through prior to closing.  Ask me how I know. I brokered the sale of a house in Acton in 1994.  When we went to the walk-through, the sellers had removed the dining room chandelier and had left nothing in its place. The light fixture wasn’t my taste, and I frankly thought nothing of it; assuming something won’t be a problem is almost always a mistake. The buyers loved the chandelier and were furious.  The sellers had never excluded the light fixture, had no right to it and wouldn’t return it.  All this made a transaction that had been pleasant and smooth pretty nasty at the closing table.

Another common issue is window treatments.  Shades, blinds, curtains, drapes, hardware like rods and other decorative hangers…what is included?  Again, anything attached to the house, unless specifically excluded needs to stay. Shades and blinds are attached, so they would need to be listed as “excluded” in the MLS listing if you wanted to take them with you.  Drapes are not attached although I recommend listing them as excluded if you want to take them just so everyone is clear about your intentions. Hardware is sometimes a touchy subject.  If you want to take hardware attached to the wall with you, exclude it and be prepared to patch and touch up the areas where they have been removed.

When you’re dealing with the kind of prices homes command in our area, it’s sometimes surprising that items with a comparatively small dollar figure attached can cause such problems.  Sometimes it’s a family heirloom or just an item you love that can cause conflict.  Be specific and proactive by giving your Realtor a list of the things you want to take with you.  If you’re not sure, ask.  Better to have something on your list than to have it create problems down the road when you’re closer to the closing table!

Helping You Find a Home You Love!

Cheryl Major, RealtorCheryl Major lives in Westford and is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @WestfordAreaRE and on Facebook:

Cheryl is a full time residential Realtor with more than 25 years experience.

Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Real Estate Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article or will be responded to directly.