A Real Estate Contract is a legal document between a seller and a buyer which outlines the home purchase terms. This real estate contract comes with strings attached that effect both the buyer and the seller. Please read what your purchase contract includes and don’t let the seller steal your stuff!
Seller stealing personal property story…
I went to check the house for the home buyer. We always do a “walk-thru” prior to closing for my buyer client because an an Exclusive Buyers Agent, that is our job. The house should be in the exact same condition as the real estate contract stipulates and everything that is included in the real estate contract should still be in the house.
OMGosh! Where is the refrigerator? That double door stainless steel top-of the line expensive refrigerator is gone. Missing. I start looking around and notice that the ceiling fans are different. The designer fans that were there originally are now replaced with $25 “Cheapo Specials”.
Wait, there is more… the new Moen spigot/faucet in the kitchen sink is replaced with “cheapo” nickel plated junk…the empty box is still on the counter. Did the seller not read the real estate contract?
Listing agent sees no problem with swapping good stuff for junk…
I immediately placed a call to the listing agent to let him know that we had a problem with missing refrigerator and other issues. I expected him to be shocked. Instead, he says “So what? you still have ceiling fans and a spigot, and the seller did not INTEND to leave the refrigerator… so whats the problem?
Read what the Real Estate Contract says:
When the Real Estate Contract includes a refrigerator…than that refrigerator that the buyer originally saw needs to stay. The refrigerator is part of the real estate contract. End of subject.
When the home buyer sees the house with the fancy fans and shiny spigot and decides to buy the house, the seller cannot then strip out what he wants. In addition, if the contract is silent on certain items that are attached to the house like a light fixture or built in’s, that must also stay with the house. The real estate contract does not give the seller permission to disassemble the house.
Now, what can a buyer do?
• Postpone the closing until the stolen goods are returned and/or replaced.
• Take a money credit for the difference in the loss of value of the sellers theft or the replacement cost of a new same kind of refrigerator and other goods.
• Place a sufficient amount of sellers proceeds from the sale in the title company’s escrow account to be used to remedy the situation with the balance of the money account to be returned to the seller when the problem is fixed.
What buyer should not do:
You should not do nothing, close as scheduled and take the sellers word that they will bring the stuff back tomorrow. Your stuff is probably packed on the moving van already crossing the county line. A Real Estate Closing is the end to a real estate contract, so nothing is guaranteed after closing. Are you still going to trust the seller?
End of story: Yes the buyer got $$ compensated for fans and spigot. The refrigerator was returned. The listing agent bought the sellers a new refrigerator. All this ONLY because the buyer had a real buyers agent advocating for their best interest. You should too…
If you buy a home through an Exclusive Buyers Agent, rest assured that they know what is in the real estate contract and will not let the home seller steal your stuff. Call us 407-539-1053.