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is everything that is left in the house by the seller yours to keep, once you have the keys

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August 17 2011 - Portland
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Answers (9)

Most of the time sellers do not live anything of value in the home they sold.


Aram Arakelyan
Your LA Broker For Life!
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August 28 2011
Profile picture for KevinLUzzle
I once had a seller show up two weeks later and proclaim she was here to pick up her washer and dryer.
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August 24 2011
Profile picture for Lady Chattel
The seller of my house left some stuff I would have liked for them not to......stupid lawn ornaments, empty pots tossed in the woods, etc.....when I bought the house, everything became mine....so I did what I wanted, I put it all at the curb and let the trash man taketh.   If I had found or discovered something of great value......I would return it.  Pay it forward, do the right thing, not the greedy thing.
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August 18 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
I believe that the abandoned property law for Oregon is here. What you actually do and what you need to legally do might be different depending on what the previous owner left and what your contract says. If the last owners did not leave much or it is not of value, I would not give them an opportunity to pick it up and would not store it for them either. I would take photos and then donate the items to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul. If the come by, I would say little and tell them you do not have their items.

If you feel that the items are of great value, I would send a legal notice to whatever address that the escrow company has for them and set a specific amount of time to pick up. You are a new homeowner not a free storage facility so cover your behind, but don't give the previous owners too much leash unless you want to risk being permanent storage for a while. 
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August 18 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
If it was something like a wedding ring that had fallen on the floor; I would think they would want that back.  If it was something like a spare set of keys to their car, I would think they would want that back too.

If it was something like a mop they left when cleaning the kitchen, they probably gave it to you.

Most people know the difference.  And if they don't, they can contact their agent to have the other agent contact the seller, to find out what they would like done with the property, and how it will be picked up.  If they want it mailed and it is small, I'm sure they will reimburse the shipping costs.  If they are close by, they may want to just come by at your convenience to pick it up.

There is an awful lot of stress and rush when moving, and things do get overlooked.  That does not mean they intended to leave something behind, or even know it was left behind.

If you left something in a hotel room, you certainly wouldn't want the maid just taking it home thinking you gave it to her without even taking it to the front desk to have you contacted would you?
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August 18 2011
There is almost certainly a clause in your contract that deals with personal property that would cover the situation.  I think Steve has it right that it must be something of value (at least to you). 

Many times I ask my clients how they would like to be treated an any particular issue if they were the seller instead of the buyer (or vice versa).  Probably a good question to ask yourself.
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August 18 2011
Best to try and get it back to them.  If they say they don't want it, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get it in writing. 
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August 18 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Check the "abandoned property" laws of your state.  In most cases it isn't yours.   
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August 18 2011
I am going to say that's not entirely true. 

what if everything was still in the house?  It's not yours, even if you have the keys.  the seller would be charged a rent back perdiem, until they were able to turn over posession.

On the other hand, what if everything they left behind was trash and you didn't want it.  You would be calling them back to get their stuff, even though you had posession...

I take it they have left something of value, and you would like to keep it.  If they would like it back, I am going to have to say, they will have a better case winning it back.  If they haven't asked for it back, I am not sure what the law will say about your obligation to notify them.  Since you do own that real estate now and it's personal property in it.

Good luck.  I hope it's a winning lottery ticket you found behind the fridge.
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August 18 2011
 
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