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Subject: Built-ins, chandeliers, furnishings, carpet - if you think it should be left with the home, get it in writing.
You bought the house, in part, because of the beautiful built-ins (or at least you thought they were built-ins), the gorgeous draperies, which just happened to match your furnishings, and the magnificent chandelier in the dining room.
When you moved in, however, the built-ins had disappeared along with the chandelier and the draperies. Adding insult to injury, the large potted ficus trees that had cast an elegant shade across the patio had been removed with no replacement (not to mention the coordinated shower curtains and Roman shades in the bath or the dyed-to-match rug in the entry hall).
The extras you had fallen in love with were all gone. How could this be?
It can and does happen in home sales. A buyer falls in love with a variety of little details only to arrive on moving day and find them gone.
If you've got your heart set on particulars, there's only one way to ensure that you get everything you're expecting: Get it in writing. Ask your realtor to specify exactly what you want included in the sale, and to itemize it all in your purchase agreement.
When you're preparing the purchase agreement, be sure to look beyond what you consider to be "part" of the house. Once upon a time buyers could assume that lighting fixtures, built-ins, major appliances, landscaping and other appendages came with the package. However, today, many of those special items may be questionable in terms of what stays and what goes. Sellers often take designer items with them. Since disputes over this issue can get sticky, you'll be a happier buyer if you resolve any questions before escrow closes.
Just remember to follow this rule: Don't assume that anything is included. Bookshelves may give the appearance of being built-ins but in fact can turn out to be separate pieces of furniture custom-designed for a space. On the other hand, sellers sometimes do pull out bona fide built-ins and take them with them. The lesson is: Whether they are built-in or not, don't assume they'll stay with the house. Stipulate that they will stay.
It's not unusual for sellers to take along favorite lighting fixtures, landscaping features, draperies coordinated with furnishings, and other special items that may have appeared to be designer accouterments or features of the home. Major appliances such as refrigerators, washers and dryers can also become a point of dispute.
Stipulating exactly what you want in the purchase agreement will eliminate any chance of disappointment and disagreement when you move in.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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