Sellers Taking Personal Property -

A real estate contract between a seller and a buyer to purchase a home comes with strings attached…please read what your purchase contract includes and know your rights so that you DON’T LET THE HOME SELLER STEAL YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY.

Things like this do happen….

I went to do a “walk-thru” prior to closing for my buyer client because, as an Exclusive Buyers Agent, it is my job to make sure the house is in the same condition as contracted for and everything is working as expected.

Lo and behold!  The refrigerator is missing…the expensive double door stainless steel top-of-the-line fridge was gone! I looked around and also notice that the nice “Hunter” ceiling fans are now replaced with” $29 Cheapo” ceiling fans…and if that is not bad enough…sellers even took the MOEN (top-of-the-line) spigot/faucet out of the kitchen sink and replaced it with bottom-of-the-line plated nickel.  I would probably not have noticed that part, except they left the empty box on the counter.

I quickly called the listing agent to let them know that we had a problem…the response from the agent was:  “So what? The seller did not INTEND to leave the refrigerator and the house still has ceiling fans and a spigot… so what’s the problem?”

The problem is this:  When a buyer’s purchase contractincludes a refrigerator…that means the same refrigerator that the buyers saw (and fell in love with) needs to stay….the buyer is BUYING it as part of the purchase price…end of subject.

Also, if the sellers house has nice “Hunter” fans and a fancy spigot when the buyer sees the house and makes the decision to buy,  the seller then cannot replace it with junk. (Unless that was spelled out in the homebuying contract). In addition, even if it is not specifically mentioned in the real estate purchase contract, but attached to the house like a light fixture or built in shelves etc, it must stay with the house too. The seller simply cannot disassemble the house.

So what can a buyer do when a homebuying real estate contract includes personal property and  seller tries to steal their stuff?

  • Postpone the closing until the stolen goods are returned and/or replaced.
  • Take a $ credit $ for the difference in the loss of value of the substitutions and the replacement cost of a new same kind of refrigerator.
  • Place a sufficient amount of sellers “proceeds from the sale” money 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 you should not do is… do nothing, “close” 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 an end to the contractnothing in the contract is enforceable after the closing, so read what you “paid for” in your purchase contract, know your rights and Don’t let the Home Seller steal your stuff! 

Copyright @ Buyers Broker of Florida 2011 “Don’t let the Home Seller Steal your Stuff!”