List ev­ery item when selling

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page -

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, and if, some­thing went wrong, the first per­son you blamed 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 may have checked that ter­mites were not feast­ing on its bones, and your len­der may have wanted to en­sure it ex­isted be­fore they handed over a pa­per cheque, other than that – and maybe a nod of ap­proval from the mum and dad – you were good to go.

Not only was the process very trans­par­ent the home it­self was a 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, 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 even 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’s 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 may 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 us say a dish­washer per­haps – the buyer turns up on mov­ing day to find a con­sid­er­ably in­fe­rior model in its place, don’t laugh it can and does hap­pen!

So take the time to list the lot, buy­ers you need to clar­ify ex­actly what you are or are not pay­ing for, en­sur­ing you note 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.

Pic­ture: THINKSTOCK

CHECK­LIST: When selling or buy­ing, en­sure you un­der­stand all the items in­cluded in the sale, this also re­lates to home theatre sys­tems and wall-mounted tele­vi­sions.

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