Special offer

I know it's "Yours" but please DON'T take it! - Dee Langley, Charlotte,NC

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker NC# 264393 SC#81758

Dee Langley Charlotte, NCLike many Realtors we ask before we list your home "Mr & Mrs Seller is there anything you are taking with you that does not go with the house?"  We ask this question for a reason.  I usually share with my sellers if there is something they are taking with them, PLEASE take it down, box it up, get it out of sight because . . .


Meaning that gorgeous mirror in the bathroom, the beautiful sconce in the hall, those ornate curtain rods you had custom made those items you adore so much will be just as adored by your buyer!  If you leave it up it will be the whole reason the buyer chose your house over all the others!

This happened to me this week!!! I asked my sellers "Is there anything in the house that isn't going to stay with the house?"  They simply said "No".  Now this is a difficult time in their lives.  They had come to the decision to short sell their home.  This is not an easy decision.  This decision should always be taking under advisement from a local Realtor, attorney, and tax professional.  But due to the hard nature of this decision they simply forgot that a family light fixture was still in the home.

Fast Forward 3 months.  We receive the offer on the home.  We proceed to the bank.  Fast forward another 2 months.  The sellers get approval to short sell their home.  HOORAY!Dee Langley Charlotte, NC

My out of town clients come back into town to sign paperwork and pick up their other belongings out of the home.  They take the family light fixture.  In passing they let me know that they are taking the light fixture.  I immediately go into you can not take the light fixture without permission.  I reminded them of the conversation we had 5 months earlier. 

They explained to me the importance of said light fixture.  I immediately get on the phone with the other agent and you guessed it. . . The Buyers bought the house because of the family light fixture.

Now here we are trying desperately to replace this light fixture one week before closing.


I send this friendly reminder out that in the state of North Carolina.  If you attach it to your house it goes with the house!

Hopefully this little illustration can help you keep this from happening to your clients!

Posted by

Thank you,

Dee Langley





Comments (57)

Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Properties Northwest - Park Ridge, IL
Making Today's Dreams Tomorrow's Reality!

I had this exact scenario occur my first year in the business.  The buyer (my client) loved the dining room chandelier which was a family heirloom and was excluded from the sale.  Buyer knew that, was stubborn and insisted he would only buy if that fixure was included -- so we got into discussion over a light fixture and during that time another, higher offer surfaced sans the requirement for the treasured family heirloom chandelier and they took that offer and then informed us.  He lost the house.

I had warned the buyer about this possibility and only, after the fact, did he realize the error especially given the sentimental value of the item he wanted.  SO ... fast forward to today.  I tell this story often and suggest exactly what is recounted in Dee's blog post -- tell clients if you think it makes the room look so much better, then the prospective buyers will also.  Parting remarks on that subject which seem to work everytime now are ... "take it out before you show it, replace it with something tasteful and put it in a box labeled 'old shoes.' No one will be the wiser or ask for it."  After a good chuckle over the picture of a box labeled "old shoes", that seems to work 100% of the time.  I guess that would be hard to do with a sentimental washer or dryer, however!  :)

Mar 08, 2012 10:31 PM
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES mitch@prostead.com - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Hi Dee! A common problem, have one right now with a bathroom mirror. What they say today doesn't always mean that's what they'll do tomorrow, just like those price adjustments they promise every 30 days! :-)

Mar 08, 2012 10:47 PM
Deana "Dee" Brummett
Coldwell Banker - Fort Mill, SC

Thanks Everyone!  Yes this has been a rough and tumble week for us all.  When stuff like this happens (PTL it doesn't happen often!) I am spent by weeks end. 

We have come to a hard but amicable agreement.  Everything is taken care of and we are proceeding to closing.


I appreciate all of your comments!! This can be a tricky business we are in.  We have to keep everyone in line and keep reminding them that they have to follow the rules just as we do.  If someone doesn't follow the rules then it is going to hurt.  Hurt either by losing a deal or money coming out of pocket.  Either way it is gonna hurt!


Let's all play nice and follow rules! What ya say?

Mar 08, 2012 10:59 PM
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By Real - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

It's the little things right? Looks like you've sorted it out, I hope everyone is happy. I've had that happen with a chandelier before.

Mar 08, 2012 11:29 PM
Terry McCarley
Coastal Real Estate - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

I always tell the sellers to remove anything that doesn't convey but I have ran into similar problems - sometimes they simply forget at time of listing.  That can kill a closing and at minimum turn it into a very stressful situation.

Mar 09, 2012 12:18 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

We try and explain everything, but you're right...in an emotional time, they don't always here...or even think about things like this. I do think it's silly that the buyers don't understand this. A credit should be enough to handle this.

Mar 09, 2012 12:43 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Some have expressed the best solution before taking a listing, namely that they remove anything prior to recording the property on the MLS or any other marketing resource. 

Mar 09, 2012 12:46 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Deana, I have seen some othe Listing Agents try and get around this problem by putting a sign on whatever it is that the sellers want to keep, or hanging a little sign on a fixture saying it does not stay.

I think this not only does not work... it makes it even worse by drawing attention to the item... which of course may make the buyer want it even more.

Your advice is the best.  Take it down NOW.  Replace it NOW.  Box it up NOW.  Out of sight, out of mind, and definitely, out of the contract.

Mar 09, 2012 12:52 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Deana,

Years ago, a seller almost lost a buyer over some curtains. He prevailed. Two years later, I asked him, what he did with them and he said, they were still in a box. I agree with the sentiment of taking things down before showing and not fight over chandeliers & curtains.

Mar 09, 2012 12:58 AM
Ric Mills
Keller Williams Southern Az - Tucson, AZ
Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge

So important, I have them sign for anything that is being removed from the home.  If it is attached it goes with then home.  If you don't want it to go with the home, remove it.  This can really cause problems, especially on a short sale.

Mar 09, 2012 01:08 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

What you said is probably true, the part they want to take is what the buyer wants the most in the house! Some unspoken real estate law! Anyway, why are YOU looking for a fixture - put the responsibility right back where it belongs on the swiping seller!

Short sale = lack of money = look at all 'house accessories' we paid for & remove them = $0 because they can't even get good money for them on CraigsList.  It's stupid.

Mar 09, 2012 02:26 AM
Mary Sheridan
Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604 - Johnson City, TN
Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655

This brings back memories.   We bought our first house many years ago, long before I thought about being in real estate.   The seller was a lawyer.     Just after settlement, the lawyer's wife came to say that the beautiful chandelier was a gift from her mother and she hadn't meant to leave it.   I was so naive that I let her take it - with nothing but hanging wires where it had been.   I've got a good bit tougher since then.


Mar 09, 2012 02:43 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I saw a sale die once because of a hand-made medicine cabinet and a wooden gate. The seller wanted to keep them because her late father had made them for her. The buyers wanted them. No sale.

After that I went through a list with the sellers: "Is there anything attached that won't go with the house? A light fixture, a medicine cabinet, the porch swing?" Then I told them to take them down before anyone saw the house.

Of course, many didn't want to do that while they were still living there, so we wrote the exclusions in the MLS listing. And of course, many agents don't read, so buyers weren't informed ahead of time.

Sellers! Remove any attached items that don't go with the house - before any buyer sees them and falls in love!

Mar 09, 2012 03:55 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Deana, I have never asked that question outright.  I usually ask about washer & dryer and other specific items.  Thanks for a great idea and simple line to add to my listing presentation.

Mar 09, 2012 08:17 AM
Tibor I. Olah
Apex Results Realty Inc.Brokerage - Burlington, ON

Hi Deana I will say is there anything you do not want to include with the sale, because if you need a tool to remove it, it stays, then I walk  through the house and ask about fixtures I see, it takes a little time but saves headaches latter, and the best advice is if there is something not included remove it before it is ready to show.

Good Luck

Mar 09, 2012 08:45 AM
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

Hi Dee, You did everything right-asking them ahead of time. we are all curious to hear what the final agreement was.

Mar 09, 2012 09:13 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

If you don't plan on leaving it then take it out and pack it before putting the house on the market.

Mar 09, 2012 12:21 PM
Peter Michelbach
International, IT
i Sell Real Estate

Hi Deana, you did the right thing...hopefully you found a replacement. thank for a good post.

Mar 09, 2012 09:25 PM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Of course the buyers bought the house because of that light fixture!  Well, I'm glad you got it worked out ammicably...sounds like you handled it all the right way. -Kasey

Apr 14, 2012 01:50 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

I totally understand a buyer not wanting to lose a light fixture that they really liked, and I also understand that the seller should have spoken up when you first asked and told you if the light was going with them.  However, if any buyer on the entire planet was TRULY buying a house JUST BECAUSE of a light fixture, they really have no business buying a home PERIOD.  Anyone ignorant enough to purchase the largest asset that they will own at any given time based upon a light fixture really has no business handling their own finances and should have them handed over to a guardian or trustee who can act in their best interests.

Just sayin'...  :-)

I hope you worked it out, and I'm assuming that you did based on my previous comments.

Dec 27, 2012 03:24 AM