When it comes to the purchase of residential real estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, some matters can stall the signing of a contract or even reduce a settlement to hours of prolonged battle.
Those matters frequently turn on the cost of items the value of which often can be calculated in the hundreds of dollars.
Disputes commonly rest on what should have been specified virtually from the moment prospective buyers first see their potential new home.
What is included and what is excluded from the sale all too often is left unsaid until critical junctures are reached. The price of misunderstandings may well be an offer that is withdrawn, a contract that never is executed, a settlement that doesn’t reach a timely conclusion.
It is incumbent on sellers to be crystal clear at the outset about what they don’t plan to leave in their home, preferably in writing.
Some portions of a property ordinarily are beyond dispute — for example, large appliances such as refrigerators, built-ins and lighting fixtures.
Yet even those things that presumably are included can become quagmires of contention — for example, that crystal chandelier bequeathed by Aunt Ethel or the handsome draperies — if the seller has not explicitly excluded them.
Among the other items that sellers sometimes fail to mention and that buyers usually take for granted are the following ones:
- Window air conditioners;
- Wall-mounted electronics such as flat-screen televisions or audio-visual equipment;
- Customized features in closets;
- Components that make outdoor space so inviting, whether plants or grills.
The rule for dealing with what goes with a property is pretty simple: Always disclose, always ask.
Buyers and sellers who don’t follow the rule have only themselves to blame when a transaction gets sidetracked or goes off the rails altogether.
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022