Note what’s in­cluded in sale

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION - AN­DREW WIN­TER An­drew Win­ter hosts Selling Houses Aus­tralia on the Lifestyle Chan­nel

CAR­PETS and cur­tains. This now dated real es­tate phrase was used in prop­erty sale trans­ac­tions in the days of sim­plic­ity, the days of ac­cep­tance and the era when the first per­son you blamed when some­thing went wrong was your­self.

Real es­tate deals in the days of old were all about the plea­sure of selling your home, not all about the profit, record street prices and home stag­ing.

Buy­ing was a beau­ti­ful, quite of­ten naive process. You would se­lect a home you liked, that was it, no real anal­y­sis — you ei­ther liked it or you didn’t.

You might have checked that ter­mites were not feast­ing on its bones and your len­der might have wanted to en­sure it ex­isted be­fore they handed over a pa­per cheque. Other than that — and maybe mum and dad giv­ing a nod of ap­proval — you were good to go.

Not only was the process very trans­par­ent, the home it­self was less “in­te­grated”, less “fully loaded”, cer­tainly not “smart” and if it boasted green cre­den­tials that would re­fer to the colour of the front door!

In that mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment, “car­pets and cur­tains” made to­tal sense and was easy to com­pre­hend.

Most items linked to a home were por­ta­ble, prized by the home­owner and ex­pen­sive to re­place.

The cur­tains and the car­pets were of­ten the only items that would re­main be­hind. Items within the home were ei­ther listed un­der the cat­e­gory of chat­tels or fix­tures and fit­tings and this has not changed even in to­day’s highly com­plex and liti­gious sales mar­kets.

But while the terms have not changed, our homes have evolved con­sid­er­ably and our mod­ern-day de­sire to squeeze ev­ery last dol­lar from a buyer has led to the need to be aware of ex­actly what is and what isn’t within the pur­chase price.

What are the cur­rent car­pets and cur­tains, what are the fix­tures and fit­tings now and what are chat­tels?

To clar­ify, a chat­tel is de­fined as mov­able prop­erty, whereas fix­tures and fit­tings are items ac­tu­ally at­tached in some way to the build­ing.

In the days of old, it was pretty clear-cut and even if the odd light shade was miss­ing on move-in day, you would get a lit­tle an­noyed, but crash­ing con­tracts or go­ing to court would not cross your mind.

To­day’s mar­ket is a very dif­fer­ent place. An agent re­layed a re­cent story to me of how a pur­chaser man­aged to cause so much drama over one part of a home sound sys­tem, al­beit an ex­pen­sive part.

The auc­tion sale was nearly aborted, pur­chaser and ven­dor had so much loathing for each other and the agent was stuck in the mid­dle.

The agent ended up pay­ing for the said items to keep the deal on track. I be­lieve in this in­stance, the dis­crep­ancy came about be­cause although the sound sys­tem in the main was fully in­te­grated in the home, there were also two rather ex­pen­sive free­stand­ing speak­ers. These were not listed any­where as the sellers were in­tend­ing to re­move them, yet the buyer ar­gued they were part of the in­te­grated sound sys­tem. The mis­take made was not list­ing the speak­ers as an ex­cluded chat­tel and pre­sum­ing all par­ties would work that out.

The buyer did ask and was told they were not in­cluded, but noth­ing was ever writ­ten down.

My ad­vice to you as a seller is list ev­ery­thing in­cluded and, bizarrely enough, ex­cluded. This might take ex­tra time but could save you thou­sands and avoid is­sues when you sell.

Many TVs are now fit­ted; do you want to leave those be­hind?

My fi­nal piece of ad­vice re­lates to ei­ther tak­ing pic­tures or list­ing make/model de­tails of items. I have heard of cases of an ap­pli­ance be­ing in­cluded, let’s say a dish­washer. The buyer turns up on mov­ing day to find a con­sid­er­ably in­fe­rior model in its place.

So take the time to list the lot and buy­ers need to clar­ify ex­actly what they are or are not pay­ing for, not­ing model de­tails, too. If you are tempted to ne­go­ti­ate for ex­tras af­ter the sale con­tract has been ex­e­cuted, per­haps on a later in­spec­tion, share this agree­ment in writ­ing with all par­ties as soon as you can.

Agents should be aware of this too, if you haven’t al­ready had ex­pe­ri­ence of this.

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