Personal Property As Part Of A Sale: Hammering Out An Acceptable Contract
Trying to sell a house in a buyer's market can be frustrating for sellers, and many times the sellers will throw in extras to get the house to sell or the buyers will ask for more advantages and benefits as part of the sale. For example, a buyer might say that if you leave the container fruit trees in the backyard (instead of taking them with you to your new home), they'll buy the house at your asking price. These are not to be taken lightly because you have to look at how parting with whatever the buyer is asking for will impact you. Sometimes the requests can be shocking, too, and you have to get your real estate agent and a good real estate lawyer to draw up a specific contract that makes you comfortable with the sale, if you still decide to sell to the people who made the request.
Is It Replaceable?
Throwing in the refrigerator or the washer and dryer, for example, isn't such an unusual thing. These are replaceable items that are found in most homes, and it's normal for a buyer to hope to get those already included. Other items, such as the new TV you bought, are a little more questionable and can seem annoying, especially if the TV is your dream TV. Still, it's replaceable, and if you can get extra money as part of the sale — see the next section — it may be worth it.
Yet other requests are more alarming. For example, if the buyer decides he or she wants your pet, too. It wouldn't be a bad thing to back out of that sale if you consider the pet to be part of your family. However, if you still want to sell to this buyer but don't want to part with the pet, you need your agent and a lawyer to draw up a contract with an acceptable substitute or discount in home price.
Are the Buyers Offering Additional Money for the Property?
Sometimes buyers will see kitchen appliances in the home and ask, if they increase the price they're willing to pay, would you leave the appliances in the kitchen as part of the house sale. If the appliances are old, or if they're going to be awkward for you to take with you, this could be a good deal. You get to buy new appliances with extra money.
But sometimes buyers ask for the appliances or other items because they want a sweeter deal, and they don't offer extra money as part of the sale price. In this case, you'd have to be careful when drawing up the house sale contract because you're technically losing money. You'd have to use part of your original asking price to buy new appliances in your new home, and that's not what a lot of people want to do. You may need to negotiate some sort of middle price that gets you some extra money while still giving the buyers the deal that will make them take the home.
How Does This Make You Feel?
One thing that a lot of people tend to dismiss is how the request to leave personal property with the buyer makes the seller feel. Often people are told that it's more important to get the house to sell instead of worrying about electronic equipment or appliances. But sometimes the request, even if it seems reasonable, doesn't sit right with the seller. Perhaps the buyer threw the condition in at the last minute when you weren't expecting it, or perhaps the buyer was clearly using the request for the seller's TV, for example, as an ego boost (as in "You have no choice but to give me your TV because it's a buyer's market and I think you're desperate to sell").
If the request makes you feel uneasy or even ill, you don't have to acquiesce. If you're already partway into the contract process, you may need to consult a real estate lawyer about adjusting the contract or fending off the offending request.