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July 23, 2016

Deal Killer: When Sellers Try to Take Too Much

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Deal Killer: When Sellers Try to Take Too Much

Some sellers want to take more with them than a favorite light fixture or curtain rod. They may want to move entire rooms to their new home.

Read more: 'Real Estate's Version of Road Rage'

That’s what Cindy Jones, a real estate broker in Woodbridge, Va., recently encountered when she saw a listing that noted the seller wanted to take the entire kitchen with them.

"How do you explain to the underwriter that the kitchen doesn't come with the house and expect to get a loan that includes the value of a kitchen?" she wrote in a recent post on ActiveRain.com.

The Los Angeles Times recently featured an article on sellers who may want to take too much with them when they move, and how it can derail a deal. In some cases, sellers don’t tell their agent of their intentions beforehand.

For example, Lenn Harley, a broker in the Washington area at Homefinders.com, says she had a transaction once where the seller removed a crystal chandelier prior to closing. Her buyers noticed the switch during their pre-closing walk through, and ended up receiving a $2,500 credit for the missing chandelier.

Other agents share that some sellers try to swap in inexpensive fixtures, for example, for a higher priced one in the final hour. Others say they’ve had clients try to dig up plants and trees from the yard that they wanted to take with them when they moved. Mark Arlow of Keller Williams in Savannah, Ga., said he had a client who wanted to move the home’s front door with him. It was the door to the family farm where he had grown up.

"When they sold the farm, they kept the front door as a reminder of the farm, and now the door goes with them wherever they go," Arlow said.

It's hard to guess what sellers are planning on retaining from their home, so real estate professionals must have upfront conversations with sellers about what stays with the house. If home owners plan to take a certain fixture with them, they may be better off removing and replacing it prior to the home being listed. 

After all, "when a seller starts keeping things that should stay with the house, I guarantee that the contract negotiations will be painful," says Eve Alexander of Windermere Real Estate in Orlando, Fla.

Source: “Some Home Sellers Want to Take Everything, Including Kitchen Sink,” Los Angeles Times (Jan. 4, 2015)