Special offer

Mr. Seller March the Window Coverings Back to the House!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with KD Realty - 408.972.1822 CA DRE#01366594

The Scenario:  Several years ago, one of my short-sale clients was ready to purchase a home again. Client loyalty is priceless. 

After getting them preapproved for a loan to purchase, we discussed their needs and wants, an MLS search was set up, and we began the process of showing homes.

California is not an attorney state.  In my county, we work with a title company and an escrow officer at the title company.  In other words, title and escrow are the same company. In Santa Clara County, the area I serve, the seller chooses the title company.  Typically, not always the case, a buyer's loan funds on one day and the deed will record the following morning.  This is relevant regarding what happened.

Parties Involved: My clients (husband and wife), occasionally their daughter, their real estate agent (that would be me), and an endless list of sellers and their listing agents.  Many of the agents were masquerading as professionals in the real estate business. 

What Happened: We spent nearly every weekend for several months looking at homes. A lot of homes. Before writing offers, I reviewed the seller disclosures, if they were available. Offers were written and not accepted. We continued the journey of looking at homes as they were newly listed.  More seller disclosures were reviewed. More offers were written. 

I knew before we walked into one particular home they would love it. Why? Because it was so much like the home they sold short. I was not sure they would like the area. As with most buyers, the price was a factor.  The location may not have been that great but the home was, and it did fit their budget. 

Sure enough, as we entered the home I could see they loved it.  They wrote an offer, and it was accepted.  YES!

The escrow process went smoothly.  The buyers and I completed a final walk-through to ensure the property was in the same condition as it was when the offer was made.  It was.

The buyers' loan was funded, and we waited for confirmation from the title company that the deed was recorded and the buyers can take possession.

After we received notification that the buyers are now the legal title holders, I met my clients at the home to give them the keys.

 

THE SELLER REMOVED ALL OF THE WINDOW COVERINGS AFTER WE COMPLETED THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH THE EVENING BEFORE.

 

My clients were crushed. They were moving the following day. Not only was it not in their budget to buy new window coverings, but they also did not have time to resource them and would have zero privacy without them.

At this point, my job, my role, and my fiduciary duties were filled.  However, my moral obligation to my clients was not.  There was no way on God’s green earth I was not going to do everything in my power to get the window coverings back.

How the Issue was Resolved: There is a lot I cannot share here for reasons pertaining to privacy and client confidentiality. 

Disclaimer:  I am not an attorney nor do I pretend to be one at any time in any real estate transaction.

That said, I have 15 years of paralegal experience.  Escrow was closed. My role as their agent was complete.  This was confirmed with my risk management attorney.

Did I mention that some of the agents were masquerading as real estate professionals?  During the escrow process, the seller was openly copied on some of the emails. I had the seller’s email.

I wrote the seller an email demanding that the window coverings be returned by 5:00 pm that day.  The instructions were clear. The window coverings were to be in the same condition as they were when they were removed, placed in a plastic bag to protect them, and placed in the storage container on the front porch.

The seller was advised of the steps that would be taken if the window coverings were not returned by 5:00 pm.

The new owners got THEIR window coverings back.

Before 5:00 pm. Exactly as Instructed. 

 

This is my second entry in the March to a Solution Challenge.

 

 

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Comments(20)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

This made me laugh.  I had a short sale in which the seller took the curtains in the basement before closing and the buyer was very upset.  I suggested that the seller was very distressed at having to do a short sale and that she should just let us slide because she was getting a great house a great deal and my seller was very stressed.  happily she let us go. 

Mar 11, 2023 04:03 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

That is a good outcome and the right thing to do. Many people were trying to get more than a house at a great price during the short sale market Lise Howe 

In this case, it was not a short-sale purchase.  The window coverings were included with the sale. What the seller did was so underhanded I just could not let him get away with it. 

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 

 

Mar 11, 2023 04:08 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good for you Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist ! Our contracts clearly state the window coverings and rods will convey! Some sellers are underhanded and you have to call them on it!

Mar 11, 2023 04:18 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Unless they are expressly excluded Dorie Dillard Austin TX they do convey per our contact as well. 

Underhanded is putting it nicely.  Thank you for your comment. 

Mar 11, 2023 04:26 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist - I loved how you described the scene, what happened before and after closing, and how you came up with a solution that worked!

Oh, the dreaded drapes. I have had similar stories but my endings were not as good as yours. Thank you for this great entry for everyone to learn, we do whatever it takes PROFESSIONALLY to get cooperation and success for the benefit of our clients.

Well done!

Mar 11, 2023 04:31 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Thank you Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 

After speaking with my risk management attorney I felt 100% comfortable doing what I did.  

Mar 11, 2023 04:52 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I can see those Instructions Kathleen:) now I am thrilled it worked for you, I heard horror stories about the opposite reaction Endre

Mar 11, 2023 10:05 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

We were prepared for both Endre Barath, Jr. 

Sometimes "nice" does not win the race.  

Thank you for your comment.

Mar 12, 2023 08:43 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Kudos to you! I'll bet your buyers were very happy!

Mar 12, 2023 05:05 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Thank you, Kat Palmiotti - they were happy and relieved. 

Thank you for your comment.

Mar 12, 2023 08:44 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Kathleen - the purchase agreement contains the details of a real estate transaction in our state as you know.    Understanding what goes on inside the head of another who decides to do "this" or "that" is another discussion - perhaps held by a professional in their field.  

Mar 12, 2023 05:22 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

No doubt we will never know what goes on in the minds of others. I often tell people they would not want to be in my head.  

The seller knew it was wrong.

Thank you for your comment Michael Jacobs 

Mar 12, 2023 08:45 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Kathleen. Sometimes when you have completed the job, the job is not done. Kudos to you for stepping up! And so glad it worked out. Enjoy your day.

Mar 12, 2023 05:48 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Wayne Martin - there have been many of those, job done but not done. I enjoy helping my clients.  

Thank you for your comment.

Mar 12, 2023 08:47 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Kathleen... great story. Fortunately, the NC contracts are very, very, very specific about what stays and what doesn't and if it doesn't, you need to write it into the contract. At that point, if something "disappears," seller is in breach of contract.  As we are an attorney state in NC and SC, if this had happened, the settlement attorney would have gotten involved quickly.

Mar 12, 2023 06:20 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

The same applies here in CA with our contracts Miss Nina Hollander, Broker - we need to "exclude" in the MLS and in the purchase contract.

No doubt the settlement attorney would have been all over that situation if it had happened in your state. 

Thank you for your comment.

Mar 12, 2023 08:49 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Kathleen,
It's amazing what people do AFTER the Final Walkthrough.  Kudos to you for making it happen for the buyers.

Mar 12, 2023 10:22 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Hello Carol Williams - it truly is.  That was a first for me.  What happens more is what sellers don't take ... and leave their unwanted 💩 behind. 

Thank you for your comment.

Mar 12, 2023 10:29 AM
Carol Williams

That's true too, Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist. It reminds me of a Forensic File program I watched, and when this guy bought a house there was a heavy barrel in the basement, but it was too heavy to move so he just left it... until he wanted to sell. When they opened it there was a body in there!

Mar 12, 2023 11:00 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Holy Heavens,  I would think the smell of a decomposing body would have been so overwhelming it would have been discovered before they wanted to sell. 

I enjoy watching crime mystery-solving shows.  Some are so unthinkable ... the things people do! 

Mar 12, 2023 11:18 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Carol Williams - OMG! That must have been surreal!

Did you ever watch that old 1944 movie Arsenic & Old Lace where Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant)'s Aunties hid bodies in their basement? That was a funny movie, but what happened in the house you shared with the barrel in the basement was not at all funny. 

I got goosebumps!

Mar 12, 2023 01:34 PM
Carol Williams

It was a well-sealed barrel, Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist . When they opened it, the stench was horrific.  I can't believe the things people do to other people either. With forensic science being what it is now, it's pretty hard not to leave any evidence. I would probably get locked up just for thinking about doing anything sinister. LOL 

Mar 13, 2023 10:35 AM
Carol Williams

Hi Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 
No, I never did see that movie.

Mar 13, 2023 10:36 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist  what is the old saying do not confuse kindness with weakness?:)Endre

Mar 12, 2023 02:05 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Oh yes. Many have confused that with me. Endre Barath, Jr. 

Mar 12, 2023 03:25 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

The sellers "stole" the buyers' curtains. Kudos for recovering what was theirs by contract. Your strong letter to the seller did the job of getting them returned. And you did that quickly—lucky buyers to have you in their corner.

Mar 12, 2023 02:43 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Yes, it takes a thief, Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400  

This one did not get away with it.  

Thank you for your comment. 

Mar 12, 2023 03:27 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kathleen several years ago I almost had a closing fall apart because the Seller removed all the outlet covers and switch covers.

Mar 12, 2023 04:44 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

How Bizarre George Souto 

Were they gold covers?  

Those may be the least costly things in any home.  Not gold ones - but the standard plastic covers. 

Mar 12, 2023 05:00 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Kathleen- thank goodness your buyers had YOU to go to bat for them. We've purchased homes where things were left behind but never had items removed that were supposed to be left behind. 

Mar 12, 2023 06:24 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist

Thank you, Kathy Streib - I have experienced both ... taking things that are supposed to stay and leaving 💩 behind.  

Mar 13, 2023 07:03 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I'm glad it ended well, Kathleen.  I only had a few instances where things left the property, that shouldn't have.  One was a decorative little windmill in the yard.  The buyer wanted to believe it was an attachment, when it wasn't.

Mar 13, 2023 09:08 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist. Glad you were able to resolve that issue and got those curtains returned. Seller never should have taken them down. If they wanted to keep them, that information should have been disclosed to the buyer. 

Mar 15, 2023 01:27 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

The very idea that the sellers thought that it would be a good idea to remove the window coverings is ridiculous. Your experience told you that they were in the wrong and you called them on it. Good for you and good results for your client. Way to go, Kathleen!

May 31, 2023 01:48 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Good for you to sort this out for them, they sure appreciated I'm sure! We are not lawyers, but we often "play one" to get our clients rights restored. Well not really since we want to keep our licenses, but it feels like we do. Luckily my Broker is an Attorney, so I just phone her and she creates the language needed to legally restore what's right. 

Jul 31, 2023 06:29 AM
Dennis Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 21 Days or We Sell It For Free

Hi Kat,

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. You handled it well.

 

Sep 03, 2023 11:33 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The RIGHT CHARLOTTE REALTOR!

Hi Kathleen! Of course, I love the outcome to this story and see exactly how you managed to get this done! Had the agent on the other side of this transaction not shared the sellers' email, you would not have been able to reach them. What are the chances of the agent passing that info along to them, had you had to reach out directly to the agent?

I ALWAYS shake my head when agents copy their clients on emails to me. I never forget I have those emails either! 

And, I've had strong words with lenders who do that - they copy buyer clients on emails to both agents. That is one of those things that makes my head almost explode!

Sep 15, 2023 12:01 PM