You screwed yourself!

Real Estate Agent with Wayne M Martin

A seller listed a high end home for sale with a custom cabinet in the family room that went from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. The home was shown many times before a buyer appeared. They were ready willing and able to purchase and did not need to sell their present home to complete the purchase.

A contract was mutually executed and the closing delayed so the seller could stay in occupancy until their new home was completed. A closing date was set and the buyers proceeded to do a final walk through.

Here is where it gets interesting. The family room was devoid of the custom wall cabinetry. Gone! And in order to remove it the seller had to have several sliding glass doors removed and replaced after removal. Buyer said it was a part of the purchase and would not close. Seller had already moved it to the new construction home with the permission the builder but had not yet closed needing the proceed of sale to move forward.

Let's take a closer look at the vacated wall. Six screw holes near the ceiling! What were these for? Seller said it attached the cabinet to the wall for security but it was not necessary. Therefore it was personal property and not a fixture.

Enter the definition of a fixture: a item of movable property so incorporated into real property that it may be regarded as legally a part of it.

Let's see, the fact that it appeared as a fixture given its nature, was not specifically disclosed as not conveying with the property, took extreme measures to be removed forth property and six heavy screws had to be removed in order to move it, what do you think?

Add in the fact that the seller would have been in default on their new purchase if they did not get the proceeds of sale in a timely manner. The precious alleged cabinetry would be lost forever.

The contract called for mediation in the event of a dispute. A mediation could not be performed before seller would be in default on their purchase.

Suggestion - pay the purchaser of the home you are selling for removing the fixture and move on. Purchaser willing to listen and negotiate. Seller was at first adamant.

Not a good position. Purchaser alleged he would contact the builder seller had used and offer to purchase the home they were building since it was similar in layout in a different neighborhood.


The seller was screwed, the buyer was fair in a negotiated settlement and the parties moved on. The seller had screwed himself!

This is the second entry of the March On challenge sponsored by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist and Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP  

Comments (22)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

WOWZA! The buyer definitely had all of the aces in that hand and ultimately, the seller realized it. Good for the buyer for standing his/her ground!

Great story, Wayne Martin! Thank you for entering this month's challenge. Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist is co-hosting this challenge - and doing a fabulous job, I might add!

Mar 12, 2023 12:00 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist

Thank you, Debe Maxwell, CRS 

Mar 12, 2023 12:12 PM
Wayne Martin

Guess I was east coast dreaming and not California dreaming Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist. It has been corrected. 

Mar 12, 2023 01:17 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist

Too funny Wayne Martin - thank you.

Mar 12, 2023 03:19 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The seller could have declared up-front that the plan was to remove the cabinets. Poor thinking on the part of the seller. I wonder if the seller's agent know the seller's plan.

Mar 12, 2023 12:38 PM
Wayne Martin

Unfortunately it was never mentioned. The seller was a know it all until I told him he screwed himself. And, to keep things from getting out of hand it was done in private.

Mar 12, 2023 12:56 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Wayne Martin - Thank you for another great entry for the March 2023 Challenge. I saw the handwriting on the wall and your Title was a good clue. These are excellent examples of what a Seller should not do and also an excellent example of how the Buyer could use leverage. 

FYI... ever since flat screen T.V.'s became a consumer product, there are many times Sellers also screw themselves. I just can't believe how creative owners are when installing products into walls and ceilings and what happens when they are moving. 

Personal question.... do you miss the real estate business?

Mar 12, 2023 01:23 PM
Wayne Martin

Many times over, but it was time to step back. I still offer advice to agents I have sponsored over the years if they reach out

Mar 13, 2023 10:55 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Wow Wayne- Good entry!!!!  And yes, the seller certainly did screw himself!  Interesting twist that the buyer ended up buying the house that the seller was going to buy. 

Mar 12, 2023 01:46 PM
Wayne Martin

He threatened to do so and had the ability to do so without selling his present home at the time. He took a credit and closed on the house he contracted to buy. He was a unique guy and not one to bluff

Mar 13, 2023 10:58 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Wow, that is a tough situation that the seller put you and your client in.  I am glad it all worked out.

Mar 12, 2023 02:26 PM
Wayne Martin

I was the managing broker and had agents from two different offices I managed, on the buying and selling sides. The buye was one cool dude.

Mar 13, 2023 11:01 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Wayne:

That's quite a story...big OOPS on the part of that seller and a costly mistake.


Mar 12, 2023 02:36 PM
Wayne Martin

Two guys with deep pockets and egos. Buyer had deeper pockets and a better disposition

Mar 13, 2023 11:04 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Wayne - an alternative post title might be "The Taming of the Screw" or maybe "As The Screw Turns. . .".    I'll stop now but I am sure other suggestions might come to your mind too. . .  

Mar 12, 2023 03:03 PM
Wayne Martin

Like your line of thinking, but given this seller I like my title. He brought it on himself

Mar 13, 2023 11:06 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

I shake my head - only because I have seen too many similar sellers.

Mar 12, 2023 05:42 PM
Wayne Martin

It was a classic oops.

Mar 13, 2023 11:07 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wayne I find it that intelligent people become crazy and emotional when they are selling or purchasing, and oh boy at least it had a smooth ending, Endre

Mar 12, 2023 10:03 PM
Wayne Martin

The buyer was a cool dude with deep pockets and a sense of humor once he threatened to buy the house the seller would default on and get the cabinet anyway. He really did nit care if he got a credit which he did

Mar 13, 2023 11:09 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Wayne... this would be defined a fixture in NC and SC... if removed, a breach of contract. I would further have written into the contract that the wall unit was personal property that would convey at no additional cost. Glad the issue was finally resolved, but sad it had to come up in the first place.

Mar 13, 2023 05:33 AM
Wayne Martin

All is well that ended well thanks to a buyer that was laid back and more importantly, had the deep pockets to force the issue.

Mar 13, 2023 11:11 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Wayne Martin gotta love those "tough" buyers with deep pockets.

Mar 13, 2023 11:16 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yikes! It's amazing what stories can be told of real estate transactions!

Mar 13, 2023 05:34 AM
Wayne Martin

The box of stories is deep

Mar 13, 2023 11:12 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Just another day in the world of real estate, haha.  It sounds like the more level-headed side prevailed.

Mar 13, 2023 06:33 AM
Wayne Martin

Bingo! And he took me to the club for an adult libations, ha, ha

Mar 13, 2023 11:13 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Wayne,

It sounds like the seller was not represented well during the transaction or the seller failed to let his agent know they would be taking the cabinet.  I always ask my sellers if there is anything they do not want to convey to the property so that we could write that into the counter. 

Mar 13, 2023 09:05 AM
Wayne Martin

He thought he could get away with it if he remained silent. He screwed himself

Mar 13, 2023 11:14 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Wayne, for sharing this story.

When we purchased our home, several things were removed. These are always difficult situations.

Mar 13, 2023 11:03 AM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Lake Sinclair Specialist

tv cabinet isn't a fixture.  All tall furniture in our home is attached to the wall for grandchildren's safety, if we move the chest of drawers doesn't say because it's attached to the wall.  If you want it, ask for it in the offer.

Mar 13, 2023 01:31 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Poor support from their agent and they should have let all know they were taking the cabinet.  We have a sheet that details what is staying and what is going and all need to sign off on it.

Mar 14, 2023 10:39 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Here in AZ it would be considered affixed to the property. If the Seller notes specifically in the listing and MLS  that the wall unit does NOT convey then it doesn't. Personally I would still put 'does not convey) in the contract if I represented the buyer - just to be very clear. 

For the LA not to have known that 'little fact' was an issue as well as the seller begin adamant well he did himself in.  Thank goodness there was a very smart broker (You) to make it all work out.

Mar 14, 2023 03:21 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Congrats on the feature and great story.  Hence why it is so important not to presume anything and if in doubt write it in the purchase contract.

Mar 17, 2023 12:46 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Wayne Martin - I just discovered where to find the FEATURE stories. This one is well-deserved! 

CONGRATULATIONS! This was a great TITLE and entry for the challenge too!

Mar 23, 2023 07:59 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Wayne Martin - There was no way in Florida the seller could have removed that cabinet prior to closing unless buyer and seller had agreed to it prior.  Otherwise, it's attached, it stays.  Good story!

Apr 03, 2023 04:22 AM