Are Real Estate Appliances Included With the House?

Is-your-refrigerator-runningA thorn in the side of many Sacramento real estate agents is when home sellers and buyers decide to include personal property such as a refrigerator, washer or dryer in the purchase contract and make the real estate appliances included with the house. Other buyers sometimes go after after furniture. A funny story: I was guilty myself once of asking the seller in the purchase contract to give me her dining room table, and she refused. Then, when we were up against closing, she suddenly discovered the table would not fit into her new home and desperately wanted to leave the table behind.

What made you think I wanted the table? I asked, completely spacing out that I had previously demanded it. I didn’t want the table. I asked for it so I would have something to give up in exchange for a better price. Her stinkin’ table was ugly, too. I would have had to pay somebody to drag it out of the house or post it on Craigslist as a free item to the first person to come get it.

Leaving the appliances behind or taking the appliances with you is a double-edged sword. You’d think a buyer would be happy, for example, to possess a free and working washer and dryer, but not everybody is thrilled if a seller leaves behind the washer and dryer. I had a home in Elk Grove close a few weeks ago in which those appliances were not addressed in the purchase contract and the seller left them for the buyers. The buyers made a big stink and didn’t appreciate the gift. Too bad, so sad, as we used to say as kids.

On the other hand, if a buyer seriously lusts after the refrigerator, it should be noted in the purchase contract by checking the box that the refrigerator stays unless, of course, the seller doesn’t want to leave it. Then it could become the contention point during negotiations. That seller might suddenly arch her back against the ‘frig, arms spread, palms down: uh uh, this is my cheesy poof. During multiple offers, if one offer demands the refrigerator and the other does not, the seller might gravitate toward the buyer who is willing to purchase her own danged refrigerator.

Every transaction is different. If the MLS listing notes that the refrigerator stays but the seller takes it, there is not much a buyer can do about it. A buyer cannot rely on MLS notes. The court says if you want that refrigerator, you better get the transfer of that refrigerator in writing. A refrigerator is personal property, it is not a fixture and it does not automatically convey with the house.


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