Q: After my offer for a Westchester home was accepted, my agent informed me that the sellers wanted to keep the dining room chandelier and sconces and replace them with building-grade fixtures. That seems so strange. I thought fixtures were part of the house. I don't want to lose this house to a couple of sconces and a chandelier, but it seems petty packing them up and taking them away. What if the sellers decide to get more items out of the house before closing?
A: Sellers are under no obligation to include chandeliers or sconces in the sale, but should have their intentions clear before listing the property.
Selling a home is an emotional process – sellers may feel attached to equipment they have carefully selected and want to hold onto. But a buyer also makes an emotional decision, which is partly based on the furnishings in the rooms. Find out later that these things weren't really part of the house and you may feel cheated.
"I lost a chandelier deal," said Marcene Hedayati, the principal agent at Corcoran Legends Realty in Tarrytown, New York, adding that the listing agent should discuss these types of details with the seller before the house goes on sale comes. "Half the time, these problems arise from a lack of communication."
In a typical sale, anything attached to walls, floors, or ceilings – including appliances, medicine cabinets, and lights – stays in the house. However, a seller is not required to adhere to this standard.
Now that you are at the negotiating table, ask for more information as everything is negotiable and nothing will be accepted. Generally, blinds and blinds are included in a sale, but curtains are not. But a seller might feel attached to these Roman colors and decide to wrap them up. If so, then you should know before signing the contract and they will need to be replaced with a building alternative. Devices usually stay, but double-check them especially if the items are brand new or good quality. A mounted flat panel television is generally considered a personal item. However, if the seller takes it off, the wall needs to be repaired.
On the flip side, sellers may have items they'd prefer to leave behind, like an old swing, piano, or pool table – items that are unwieldy and may no longer be used. If the seller wants to unload such an item, consider it a bargaining chip: swap a few sconces for an unwanted trampoline and everyone will be happy.
Kimberly Renzi, Associate Broker at Redfin in Westchester, said, "I've seen buyers accept this and never play pool or piano, but they have it in the house."
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