The seller took the kitchen appliances, even though they were listed on the MLS.

I recently represented a seller that had offered to let the kitchen appliances convey with the home.  When the offer came in, it was substantially lower than the asking price and included a home warranty, the washer and dryer, for the seller to insure FHA approval, and for the seller to pay the buyer's pre-paids and closing costs.  The buyer did not ask for the kitchen appliances.  Because the negotiated price was lower than the asking price, the seller took the appliances when she moved out.  The buyer was furious when she did her final walk through, stating that because they were listed on the original MLS, they were to stay.

Buyers, if you negotiate away from the written listing, make sure you add EVERYTHING that you wish to convey with the home.  Ranges, refrigerators, washers and dryers are personal property.  Outdoor sheds that are not bolted to concrete slabs are negotiable items.  A seller does not have to leave them unless it is stated in the contract and agreed upon by both parties.  The only exception to that is if a buyer comes in with an offer that matches the sellers asking done to the last detail.  When any contract goes into negotiation, you are starting from scratch.

This is true in Illinois, anyway.

  • May 05 2011 - Decatur
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Answers (15)

Best Answer

I ALWAYS put all personal property on a "Bill of Sale" and mark it $1 to be paid at closing, even if the seller agrees to leave it.  We have had FHA and other government loan appraisals effected by the items left in the home.  Ridiculous, however, it's the government that the underwriters are dealing with.
  • May 06 2011
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Profile picture for chosenbygod802
I had an experience of just the opposite.  The seller left everything in the house that they could not sell in the estate sale.  Now I have a vintage 1953 electric stove that I have no idea what to do with it.  I want to sell it if possible because I do not like electric stoves.
  • November 11
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
No one is talking about "breach of contract", they are talking about blatant unethical behavior of 4 "professions", including false advertisement, improperly writing of the offer, misrepresentation of the offer and services provided, and abuse of client relations.

Why would one want to waste money talking to a lawyer?  No lawyers are allowed in small claims court!  Of course the seller is not liable...  if the agents don't want to settle and make it "right", they can spend the 30 hours in court and in local board hearings instead.  And they can have the complaints for their business on the Better Bureau website too.

No, it wasn't "negotiated", it wasn't even "discussed".  This is intentional "fraud", and major "errors and omissions".

If the buyers don't take it to court, the agents will just take it as permission to create more false and intentionally misleading advertisements to rip off even more of the general public.

That is like buying a used car with brand new tires when one sees it, but it has absolutely no tread left on any of the tires when one goes to pick it up...  and the sales agent says "you didn't put in your offer that it was to have the new tires on it that you saw, thus those were not the tires for that car and didn't come with the car".  And replacing those tires cost a lot less than replacing the appliances...

Intentionally dishonest and disreputable agents is all that can be said.
  • August 22 2012
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You have to remember that a listing on the MLS is not actually an offer; it is an invitaton for an offer. I understand that this may seem confusing, but there is a difference. The only thing thing that matters is what is written in the actual sales contract. If this was the case, and the contract stated that the appliances were to be included with the real property, then I suggest that you ask the advice of an attorney in order to receive compensation from the seller for breech of contract.

Good luck, I hope that this helps,

Kelly
  • August 22 2012
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Yes, we fully understand the the Realtor "Code of Ethics" means absolutely nothing and is useless to consumers as it only protects "agents"...

Of course the listing agent should be sued for $5k, since it was intentional false advertisement and the agent knew full well that the appliances wouldn't be included in the sale.  And the buyer's agent should be sued for $5k, as the agent intentionally wrote the contract offer WRONG, and didn't advise their client of the issue...  And both of their brokers should be sued for $5k each as the broker is responsible and liable for all the actions of the agents that work under them.  And complaints should be filed with the local board against all 4 of these individuals.  And complaints should be filed with the state licensing department as well.

And people wonder why the word "Realtor" has come to mean something worse than "sleazy used car salesman"?  At least used car sales has decent regulations now, including lemon laws...  When a used house sales woman steals money from a buyer through false advertisement, they call it "negotiations" instead...

It won't hold up in small claims court.
  • August 22 2012
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Yes. If it's not built-in it is personal property in NC. It doesn't sound like the seller could legally take the washer/dryer if they were specifically noted in the contract.  I always add the refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer to the contract. Sounds like your seller could be in trouble. Good luck.
  • August 22 2012
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  • August 22 2012
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
IowninAZ-did you close? If not talk to the attorney and have your realtor talk to the other realtor. Hopefully they were in the contract.....
  • August 21 2012
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Profile picture for iowninAZ
Hello, I actually have a question.  We asked for washer dryer and refridgerator on the contract and the sellers agreed to it but yesterday during my final walkthrough they were gone.  Now what?
  • August 21 2012
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I agree, that the "bill of sale" for listed personal property makes the most sense, and should be don't all the time; but most agents don't seem to explain this well to the clients, nor follow through.

The one confusion is in areas like California where the property taxes are based on the purchase price.  If several thousand dollars of "personal appliances" drove up the sale price and the "bill of sale" for personal property only showed $1, property taxes for as long as a party are in the house are then inflated by the nominal resale value of those appliances.

(This is especially an issue if the appliances were "new" as well as "upper end").
  • May 06 2011
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Because they were not listed on the contract, the seller had an obligation to remove them. Just like an old freezer in the basement no one wants.
  • May 06 2011
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Robin,

I always use a addendum to the contract and refer to it in the contracts comments.  This lists EVERYTHING in the house that the buyer requires to stay.  When the house is sold as furnished we do video walk thru to record what is to stay.  You can never be too careful.

Shawn
  • May 06 2011
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
seller things -->  seller *thinks*
  • May 05 2011
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
This seems to be very common in many parts of the United States, and I've seen comments repeatedly to that effect, not to mention, confused and unhappy buyers here as well.

The buyers assume that since it is stated it is in the listing that it must be included, but as already mentioned, if is not mentioned in the "offer", it is not included.

And as already mentioned, you would think the buyer's agent would say something about it?

I've also seen some unhappy sellers on this issue too!  They think they are selling the appliances for an "extra", but when they try to negotiate the extra, the buyer states that if is not included, they don't want it and aren't willing to pay any extra for it.  And then the seller is stuck trying to liquidate those separately in addition to all the other packing and moving.

And sometimes there is also a misunderstanding of what are "fixtures" (attached).  Some think because of the gas connection that the range is "attached", when as mentioned, it technically is not.

And a similar problem for "window treatments".  It will often be listed in the buyers offer that the window treatments (draperies, blinds, rods, curtains, valances,...) are to be included, but the seller things they are not attached and dirty, thus removes them.

Agents really need to communicate better with their clients on such issues.  Those that have bought before likely know, but they may have forgotten, and first time buyers are often surprised.  Widows or divorcees that are selling are sometimes surprised too.

I've also seen window air conditioning units removed that the buyer thought were "attached fixtures" and the seller thought were portable plug in appliances just placed in the window.  And sometimes the sellers have removed ceiling fans and chandeliers thinking they were "personal property" when the buyer thought they were attached fixtures.

Even earthquake secured shelving has become an issue, or a wall mounted television bracket.  And if the television is mounted to the bracket, is it "attached" and therefore part of the house?

If in doubt, it needs to be spelled out.  If it is not in writing, it is going to be confusing to someone.  (Murphy's law).
  • May 05 2011
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In Minnesota unless there is a 'personal property addendum' as part of the purchase agreement, the presumption is the buyer doesn't want the appliances, gazebo, drapes, window coverings, etc - even if they are listed on MLS. A listing on MLS is an 'offer' of sale and not a binding contract. The purchase agreement is the binding contract.

It's a shame that the buyer had an agent that was not familiar with writing a purchase agreement.
  • May 05 2011
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