Westcoe Realtors, Riverside Ca…This question usually pops up when a buyer walks into their newly purchased (and now vacant) home and discovers something that they thought was included in the sale is now missing. Could be a chandelier, or some drapes, or perhaps even some plants from the yard that are no longer there. The point is: Just what can a seller take when they leave the home?

Well, there are a couple of answers to this question, depending on how your purchase contract was worded.

First, the standard real estate purchase contract makes it very clear what is, and is not, included in the purchase price. It begins in paragraph 8 (for those who have a contract in their midst!), but basically, the items included are anything that is permanently attached to the home. Go back to our chandelier example above. If the light was hanging from the ceiling, then it would be considered permanent, and should stay. However, if the light was plugged into a wall outlet, and then the cord/chain was “swagged” from the outlet to the ceiling, down to the light, then it could go with the seller, since it could be easily unplugged.

Other examples of what should stay are plumbing fixtures, ceiling fans (if not swagged), built-in appliances, window screens, window coverings, garage door openers…and the list can go on from here…but hopefully you get the idea.

Secondly however, if your purchase contract stipulates that the seller is excluding a certain item from the purchase, then the seller can take whatever the buyer agrees to let him take. Going back to the chandelier…it should stay unless the contract said something to the effect that “entry chandelier is not included in the sale”, or something like that. Then it is clear that the chandelier is going with the seller.

However, it can still get tricky. What if when the seller listed the property, they told their agent the chandelier was not to be included in the sale, and the listing agent noted same in the MLS listing…but this exclusion of the chandelier was never put in the purchase agreement? What happens then?

Simple…the buyer gets the chandelier! The thing to know here is that it doesn’t matter what the MLS listing says, it only matters what the agreement between the buyer and seller says. The MLS is merely what the seller wants to have happen…the purchase agreement is what the buyer and seller actually agree too. In a case like this, the sellers agent screwed-up by not protecting the seller by making sure the chandelier was excluded, and since two people cannot possess the same item, normally the listing agent coughs up some money for someone to purchase a new chandelier.

So…if you find yourself in this predicament (which we hope you don’t), before you go nuts, read your purchase contract to see what may or may not have been added…and if there is nothing special written by your agent, then paragraph 8 will answer most of your questions about if the seller is entitled to whatever you now find missing! Good luck.

As always, thanks again for reading our blog.