Kathy Henne: Don’t Get Personal


Three months ago, you splurged and bought a new microwave. On their birthday, you gave the kids a new super-deluxe swing set and sandbox. For Father’s Day, a new riding lawn mower appeared in the garage. How would you like to give them all away?

When selling your home, you are agreeing to sell the “real estate” you own, which includes the land and any “improvement” on the land, i.e. the house, garage, fence, concrete driveway, deck, and even the inground pool, if you have one. Improvements are often defined as “anything which is permanently affixed to the property,” i.e. drapery rods, built-in dishwasher, garage door opener, attached light fixtures, etc.

Everything else (not attached) is considered “personal” property and is not automatically included with the sale of real estate. A few examples might include drapes, freestanding range, refrigerator, riding lawn mower, etc.

When selling your home, make it clear to your agent what personal property is included in the sale. A statement to this effect can be included in your listing agreement with the agent. Nevertheless, keep in mind that some buyers will make their purchase offer contingent upon your leaving certain items of personal property.

If this happens, don’t be offended. Items other than the real estate may be considered negotiable in the buyer’s mind. If the request is not acceptable to you, you may counter-offer and state that the personal items will not be left with the property. It’s always a great idea to have information in the Multiple Listing Service remarks listing which personal items are staying and which are not staying. It’s better to let the buyers know about the items up front. It will avoid personal property issues later on.

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