But I Thought That Came With The House!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Crescent City Living LLC

There is nothing more disheartening to a home buyer or seller than to have a dispute arise right before closing about what is actually included in the sale of a house. Usually, this comes up during the final walk through when the buyer discovers that an item they thought was part of the contract has been removed by the seller.

Most sellers are not trying to be underhanded when they move out of a home, but often they don’t realize what is actually in the Louisiana purchase agreement that the buyer expects to find when they take possession of their new house.

Purchase agreement inclusions

While you can review that entire portion of the purchase agreement above, let’s go a little more in-depth about items that seem to cause the most disputes between buyers and sellers and lead to hard feelings at the closing table.

Installed speakers or sound systems

More than once, I have had a seller remove speakers that were wired into a wall or ceiling without realizing that they were violating the terms of the purchase agreement. If you have built-in speakers in your home (including outdoor speakers) that you don’t plan to make a part of the sale, it’s important to be sure that your contract specifically excludes those items.

The same goes for any built-in surround sound system or stereo systems. Adding a couple of lines of clarification to the purchase agreement can keep this from becoming an issue. Even better, be sure that your agent knows up front what is/is not included in the sale so it can be addressed in your property disclosure that the buyer must read and sign.

washing machine

All installed appliances

Even if an appliance is not advertised in the MLS as being included in the sale, if a dispute arises a mediator will be forced to stand by what is in the executed contract between the buyer or seller. Don’t leave any room for misinterpretation! Exclude the washer and dryer that are going to your new home and be sure you remember to address not only the refrigerator in the kitchen, but that extra refrigerator or freezer that’s hanging out in the garage as well.

Ceiling fans

I know…who takes a ceiling fan? People do it all of the time. If a particular ceiling fan is not included in the sale, my advice is always to remove and replace it before the house goes on the market. Don’t let a squabble over such an inexpensive item derail your closing at the last minute.

Lighting fixtures and bathroom mirrors

Just like ceiling fans, these are attached items that are part of the property sale. Again, if you plan to take Aunt Martha’s crystal chandelier with you when you move, it’s better to replace it before the first buyer ever walks through the door. Too many times, people will dig in their heels over a lighting fixture or a mirror that is just perfect for the bathroom and end up in a nasty argument over who it belongs to. If it was not excluded in the contract, a seller will be forced to either return the item or pay the buyer for replacement. Believe me, you would much rather replace that light fixture ahead of time than get stuck trying to negotiate a fair value right before the closing.


curtainsAll window coverings, blinds and associated hardware

I make it a habit to go over window coverings with all of my sellers in detail because these seem to be the things that cause the most trouble for people. Unless you have specifically excluded them, every curtain, blind, shade, rod, shutter and valence is assumed to be a part of the sale.

Plan on taking those custom curtains that match your bedspread? It needs to be in the contract. Can’t live without those curtain rods with the fleur-de-lis finials on them? Change those rods before the house goes on the market to avoid any misunderstandings caused by doing it right before you move.

What about items not listed in the contract?

Buyers should be aware that if there are any other items they want to include in the sale, it must be part of the contract. Don’t be surprised when the patio furniture, the BBQ grill, the potted plants and porch swing are gone if you have not negotiated that into your purchase from the seller.

Every item that causes a deviation from the standard contract language needs to be addressed – no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

Remember, in a real estate sale if it’s not in writing, it’s not real!


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Terri and Lisa | The West Bank Living Team For more information about home buying or selling on the West Bank of New Orleans, or relocating to or from NAS JRB New Orleans, please contact the West Bank Living Team. It would be our pleasure to have the opportunity to assist you with any of your real estate needs and have a little fun while doing it!

Originally published at West Bank Living


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jane Peters 05/14/2010 12:28 AM
  2. Michelle Minch 05/15/2010 03:09 PM
  3. Mary Kay Hopkins 05/24/2010 08:42 AM
  4. Kathryn Maguire 05/24/2010 08:44 AM
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Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

Great post!  These problems surface regularly in many transactions.  It's important to "nip" any problems in the bud to avoid last minute disputes regarding Seller-perceived exclusions.

May 13, 2010 12:11 PM #8
Chris Wechner
CW Health Inc - Waterford, MI

I like the way you word the PA..."The Louisiana Purchase Agreement"

It probably feels that way to a whole lot of buyers.  (Of course, you're from Lousiana...So...It really IS a LA PA.)

May 13, 2010 12:40 PM #9
Lori Gilmore
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Joliet, IL
Realtor - Will County Illinois

Lisa,  I sit on the grievance committee for our association and recently heard a complaint submitted by a buyer because the LISTING AGENT removed personal property included in the purchase contract because "the seller said she could" -- Talk about a mess!

May 13, 2010 07:58 PM #10
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Lynda/Wayne, often, the buyers and sellers are so excited that the fine print goes by in a blur. 

Marcie, definitely...thus, the reason I wrote this :)

Jeff, I've heard about disputes over landscaping as well.  How attached to that rose bush ARE you to go to the trouble of digging it up and moving it?!?

Rob, thanks!

J. Philip, I'm trying to head them off at the pass ;)

Susan, that is one of the most important parts of the conversation during the listing appointment.  I have shown sellers the purchase agreement so that they know from the beginning what the standard contract includes and we work from there to document any exclusions.

Pamela, awww...you are making me blush :-)

Tom, everything needs to be spelled out.  It can be a pain if there are lots of extras/exclusions, but it's worth it when there are no misunderstandings.

LOL @ Chris!

Lori, really?  REALLY?  That's more than a mess...wow.

May 13, 2010 08:29 PM #11
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Excellent post, Lisa.  The Devil lives in the details...  And so do we.  hmm...

May 13, 2010 11:34 PM #12
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

This is  an excellent post, Lisa, worthy of a reblog.  Our new California purchase agreements not have specific wording for attached audio components as excluded, and itemized appliances that you can check off. 

You have disabled your reblog option.


May 13, 2010 11:54 PM #13
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

I hear your wheels spinning, Lane :)

Jane, I assumed that a blog about Louisiana purchase agreements wouldn't be of interest to reblog.  I'll be happy to change that for you!

May 14, 2010 12:14 AM #14
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

Thank you.  This is not specific to Louisiana.  Thanks.  I reblogged.

May 14, 2010 12:29 AM #15
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors - Austin, TX
Realtor-Canyon Creek- NW, Austin TX Homes For Sale

Good morning Lisa,

Every state varies concerning what is considered "the property". It's always good to read the purchase agreement where it usually clearly states what the property consists of! When in doubt your agent needs to clarify and spell out ..we have a non-realty addendum that addresses these issues and is part of the contract.


May 14, 2010 08:36 AM #16
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Thank you, Jane!

Dorie, at the end of the section pictured, there is a place to include non-realty items that will be included in the sale but are not given value in the appraisal.  That's where we throw in the stuff like the grill or the patio furniture - right within the contract.

May 14, 2010 01:02 PM #17
Kim Darling
Keller Williams Westland Realty - Fresno, CA
CRS,GRI, "Your Home Team" Fresno/Clovis Real Estat

Thanks Lisa, great post.  When I go on a listing appointment, we go on a walk through the house to make sure they don't plan on taking anything that should stay.  I then recommend that they replace that ceiling fan now, or take down those drapes, etc.  I also tell them, if something comes up that they forgot to let me know immediately.  I tell them once we are in contract, it's difficult, not impossible, but difficult to address things at that time.  Alos, even when it's in writing, people tend to "forget".  Buyers so often are on information overload, that they don't fully digest what the fine print says about exclusions and are overwhelmed and don't completely process it.  Better to remove beforehand for sure!!!

May 17, 2010 09:48 PM #18
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Kim, the buyer being on overload is a wonderful point.  Often, I find that they think many things stay that are personal property of the seller.  Removing those items to avoid any misunderstanding is absolutely the best solution.

May 18, 2010 12:22 AM #19
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

Believe it or not, the bathroom mirror was my biggest fight at closing.  The seller took it and we assumed it was included... 

May 18, 2010 02:10 AM #20
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

"Every item that causes a deviation from the standard contract language needs to be addressed - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant."

Well written and documented post that applies to everyone everywhere! Great job my friend!

May 18, 2010 08:02 AM #21
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Judy, well, in Louisiana, it IS included.  Is that not the case in your contracts?

Russell, thank you :)

May 18, 2010 09:12 PM #22
Amanda Hall
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Well done, Lisa!  I'm your biggest fan and you know it.  :)

I'm re-blogging this too...I can add a little Texas twang and it will make plenty of sense here.  I have written on this topic many times and ended up deleting it all because I couldn't make the words fit on the page like they do in my brain.

T H A N K    Y O U!

May 19, 2010 09:20 PM #23
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Hi Mandy :)

May 19, 2010 11:00 PM #24
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Lisa, good topic how often is a mirror missing that should have not been removed. Get it in writing.

May 23, 2010 03:36 PM #25
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA

Lisa, thanks for this VERY important and critical topic.  A definite reblog.

May 24, 2010 08:24 AM #26
Georgie Hunter R(S)
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Boy this is sure a good topic!  How many times have we had to smooth feathers over speakers and stereo equipment?

May 25, 2010 01:24 AM #27
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Lisa Heindel

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