Does the Playground Equipment Stay with the House? How To Avoid Disputes

Real Estate Agent with Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827

Realtors, buyers and sellers should be very specific about what stays with the house.

In real estate sales sometimes each side can interpret differently what stays with the house and what does not. It’s always better to avoid a dispute than win one.

Disputes can arise over;

  • Which appliances stay?
  • What is considered attached to the house?
  • Can expensive light fixtures be taken out and replaced with basic fixtures?
  • Is home theater equipment expected to remain?
  • Do sheds and mini barns remain?
  • How about above ground pools and the sand pit left behind?
  • Ponds and the hole left behind?
  • Outdoor playgrounds?
  • Television brackets and the holes left behind?
  • And the list goes on.

Some standard real estate contracts have many items preprinted and special care needs to be taken to review and cross out what the boiler plate contract assumes sellers will always concede.

Some contracts leave it to the buyer to explicitly list what their expectations are.

Stripped or Not Stripped?

Buyers don’t want to find out in pre-closing walkthrough that the house was “stripped”. Sellers don’t want to be accused of “stripping the house” when they thought they were taking their own personal possessions.

Learning The Hard Way

I learned this the hard way when my client sold the outdoor playground to a third party. Luckily the buyers were doing their pre-closing walkthrough when the buyer of the playground showed up to haul it off. The playground was not specifically requested in the contract, but there was language in the standard contract about “play sets attached to the property,” and the buyer did not specifically ask for the equipment.playset

As you can see in the pictures, it’s ambiguous if the play set is attached. The equipment is lying on the ground and has some stabilization pins. There aren’t any posts driven underground, and it’s not concreted into a foundation.

The pictures are dark because I had to run out and address the problem the night before closing. We presented the situation the following day to an attorney who also agreed it is borderline but said the pins could be argued as a form of attachment.

Fortunately the buyers and their very reasonable Realtor agreed to let the seller sell the play set; otherwise it could have led to a rough ride. Everyone had the right attitude.

Since then our Realtor Association changed the standard contract making the requested items less automatic in favor of the buyer.




Posted by



Dave Halpern, Realtor

The Dave Halpern Real Estate Group

Keller Williams Realty Louisville East


(502) 664-7827



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Comments (6)

Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Glad everything worked out for all parties!  It is SO important to let the buyers know what the exclusions are PRIOR to the writing of an offer.  Ideally, if something is going to be taken --like grandma's chandelier...better to take it down and put up something else before going on the market.

May 16, 2011 05:05 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This is a good reminder to not take what is in the house as being SOLD with the house.  I love when sellers have their "exceptions" clearly stated.  Nice to have had the contracts changed to clear up these ambiguities!

May 16, 2011 05:22 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

If it isn't going to convey with the property, get it out of there before putting it in the MLS!

This is an example of a listing agent's failure to manage the listing and the buyer's agent's failure to manage the offer.

Silence on the part of the listing and selling agents didn't make the matter disappear.

May 16, 2011 10:42 PM
Elizabeth Byrne
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Arlington Virginia Real Estate

Dave, good advice from Lenn. Why not pack all possessions the seller wants to keep, so there is no doubt what conveys. Or at least, spell it out in a contract.

May 17, 2011 02:44 PM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Sonja - It is ideal to remove the not-to-remain items prior to listing.

Carla - After this event occurred, I got much better at listing out the exceptions. The Realtor Association had just changed the standard contract to be extremely buyer friendly and caught many Realtors off guard.

Lenn - After this occurrence, 1.5 years ago, I immediately implemented a new form in my listing packet. It lists out items that sellers will leave or stay. It really helps orient the sellers to their responsibilities.

Elizabeth - You are right. It needs to be addressed in advance, one way or another.

May 17, 2011 03:34 PM


Aug 14, 2016 06:26 AM