Personal property can become a major issue in the sale of real estate. In the eyes of the law there are two types of property. Chattel, which is just a fancy word for any property other than real estate, and Real Property, which of course means real estate and the permanent improvements upon it (buildings, etc).
Before selling a house it should be determined what personal property is going to be sold with the house. Things to consider are appliances, window coverings, swing sets, remote controls to the garage door openers, yard decorations, or any other item that you as a seller want to leave with the house. Just as importantly is to make clear what items are not staying with the house. For example you might have a portable kitchen island in the kitchen. When buyers see it they may not realize that it is not attached to the house and would therefore assume that it is staying. Disclosing upfront what items are not included can save a lot of headaches later on.
As a buyer you need to make it clear in the purchase agreement what personal property you are asking to be included in the sale. Whether the seller is offering it or not does not mean you can not ask for it. The opposite is true as well; just because a seller is offering something does not mean that it is included unless it is specified in the purchase agreement. An agent once brought me an offer on a house I had listed. I presented it to my sellers and they accepted it. After the closing the buyer's agent called and said his client was complaining that the sellers took the refrigerator. I informed him that the refrigerator was not part of the sale since it was not in the purchase agreement. This agent said he assumed it was included because it was offered with the house in the MLS. I would have hated to have been him and had to explain to his clients that because of his error they now needed to go buy a refrigerator.
The next time you are planning on entering into a real estate transaction be sure to know what you are selling or buying and to make it clear in the purchase agreement.
Trumm Team - Alliance Real Estate, Omaha, NE