personal property vs real property
Often, buyers ask home sellers for personal property such as washers and dryers, refrigerators, lawn equipment, you name it. I have had several issues with personal property in 2019. So much so that I now suggest the buyers just do a bill of sale for $1. When things go wrong take a wild guess who has to fix it much of the time?
I had a seller who had said from the start to leave the fridge as it was an odd size. We put it in the listing agreement. His daughter had packed up the house and the movers took the refrigerator. We always write in the contract that any personal property is left in as-is condition with no warranty, expressed or implied. Of course, the buyers forget all this. The seller could not get to the stored refrigerator and it was packed away in storage for a month. The sellers agreed to pay a sum of money to the buyers to make them stop calling. The sellers decided they needed the refrigerator after all.
Nobody knows exactly how every agent deals with the mishap when MLS says the refrigerator stays but the agent missed including the refrigerator in the offer. I imagine some agents change their phone number and never get out of bed again. Reiterating that MLS says refrigerator stays is no basis to defend the selling agent’s actions. The selling agent is supposed to know that a refrigerator is personal property. It does not convey with the real property. Personal property and real property? Two different things.
A very expensive lesson for some buyer’s agents to learn. What do they do when the buyer says: hey, where is my refrigerator? The seller moved and swiped my refrigerator. You told me the refrigerator stays because MLS says refrigerator stays. And now the refrigerator is gone.
This always ends with, “and I want you to get it back.” Trust me, they do not care how the agent gets that refrigerator, either. The agent can steal it from her neighbor, go get it from the seller, or buy a brand new refrigerator from Lowes as a house-warming present.
I can tell you that I’ve had buyers sign an addendum with the seller agreeing, for example, that the washer and dryer will stay at no consideration and no warranty. Then sure enough, the seller takes it. Well, buyers have a legitimate gripe and should pursue the seller. Most likely the seller’s movers did not pay attention to what stays and what goes and just took everything. They can bring it back.
However, when a buyer is under the impression that because MLS says refrigerator stays yet the buyer’s agent forgot to include it in the offer, somebody is responsible for this. Who do you think it is? Your choices are as follows:
- listing agent
- selling agent
Well, I would say it is the selling agent. (If you agreed with me, you are a smart cookie.) Followed by the buyer because, let’s face it, buyers should read their purchase contracts and take control of the buying situation. It’s their danged house. But we all know they rarely do. They hear what they want to hear.
I noticed when reviewing the paperwork for one of my listing sales recently, a buyer’s agent had asked for the home warranty to cover the refrigerator, washer and dryer. That looked odd and out of place. Sure enough, the buyer’s agent did not ask for the appliances to stay with the property. I let the agent know that perhaps his buyer did not want to start paying for extra home warranty coverage on appliances she does not own.
The agent, realizing the snafu, then said it would be appreciated if the seller left the refrigerator because it looks so cool in the kitchen. Right.