They Didn't Leave It

Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 311291

They Didn't Leave It


How many times have we heard a buyer or seller say:

"But I thought__________ would stay with the house!''

Go ahead and fill in the blank.

These words are not something any of us want to hear. This means there is some misunderstanding.

Many years ago, a buyer, after settlement, had her agent call me demanding an answer to why the stained glass panel was removed. She thought it came with the house and demanded it returned. I  told her it was a personal piece of art from the seller's collection.


Not satisfied, the agent, quite vocal about the art, had her manager call me.

The item, I explained, was not part of the sale. It belonged to the seller. It hung from a hook over a side door panel and was not attached. 

The buyer, the agent, and her manager suggested that an attorney be called to ensure the piece of art was returned. 

I suggested we go back and take a look at the contract. Was the item mentioned? Was it made part of the inclusions?  

The answer, of course, was 'no' but again, those dreaded words... "But I thought..."

Because it looked so good, the buyer felt it was part of the decor and should stay. Her manager sided with the buyer, and I was told it should have been 'excluded' from the contract.

I responded that if they wanted a piece of art, it should have been written in and negotiated at the time of the offer. After all, they didn't expect all the other hanging art to be left behind.

Hard feelings by the buyer and the agent.

The seller had already moved on, and still, someone was saying, "But I thought it was staying."

Note: if an item is desired, it must be discussed and written into the contract. 


Posted by

Margaret Rome
HomeRome Realty

Baltimore, Maryland

Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Sundays 12 noon.

Author: Real Estate The Rome Way

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Comments (23)

Lauren Williams, CPO, CVPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 It really was unkind! Lauren

Mar 15, 2023 02:17 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

I can remember one in particular. A young doctor somehow 'thought' the refrigerator conveyed with the property even though we both discussed it and it was in an email what would 'convey' with the property.  He didn't get far with his want.  And this was back in 05 when there were a gazillion bids on every home.  He knew if he asked for anything (which means here in AZ) - check the box on contract - included in sale - refrigerator and it's make a model.  Nada!

Mar 15, 2023 03:19 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker

Yes I do.

Mar 15, 2023 06:20 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker. Do you put make and model on all appliances that stay?

Mar 15, 2023 06:07 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Margaret classic case of what happens when assumptions are made.

Mar 15, 2023 04:36 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

So true, George Souto 

Mar 15, 2023 06:07 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - Reading your post was Deja Vu with two personal back-to-back experiences I had as the Seller in Illinois, and as the Buyer in Texas. Thanks goodness, nothing like that happened to me as a TX REALTOR representing clients. I am very explict when it comes to discussing the exclusion paragraph and I read the contract paragraphs about what is fixed, personal property, and what stays with the property with the clients. Then we have discussions before listing or making an offer.

Thanks for this great entry! It really is a problem that exists for many people. You told it well!

Mar 15, 2023 04:39 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Thank you for hosting this month's contest,  I will have to come up with two more for you. Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 

Mar 15, 2023 06:09 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - your contribution to this March 2023 Challenge is greatly appreciated. I am definitely eager to read your next two. Thank you! 

Mar 15, 2023 07:03 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 ,

How many times have we heard this!! In Texas our contracts keep adding items that will convey (we have all seen law suits over set items) so the contracts are crystal clear. In Texas the refrigerator, washer and dyer are personal property so must be added with a Non-realty addendum if a buyer wants them to convey. Good entry!

Mar 15, 2023 04:49 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Dorie Dillard Austin TX Interesting that you have a "non-realty" addendum.

Mar 15, 2023 06:12 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP I remember writing a dog into the contract. It was a win-win!

Mar 15, 2023 07:18 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - you would be surprised at what buyers want that gets put on the Non-Realty Adendum. The most bizarre item I listed for my buyers was the owner's dog! (Owner said no.) Another time, Mrs. Buyer wanted the owners bed covers because they matched the drapes. She thought the bedspread and the drapes were an investment and should stay. I tried to reason with my buyer, to no avail. My client said, if they don't want to include the bedspread with the matching drapes, we will keep looking. The Seller's agreed! And we closed on the property. 

Mar 15, 2023 07:09 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - Well... we always say our fur babies are part of our family. But as we know, sometimes pets are like teenagers and we the parents are ready to move; but the teens say I'm not leaving. I am staying here. Isn't it great for the dog who made the buyers fall him love with the dog and the buyers mutually fell in love with the pooch. The dog stayed with the house and as you said, "it was a win-win!

Mar 16, 2023 05:36 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 This brought back a memory of a house my husband and i bought in the early 2000s.  We were walking around the house and lo and behold there was a beautiful male peacock on the deck!  I was in awe!  When we negotiated on the house we mentioned the peacock and the seller said he planned on taking it with him.  Well he came to closing with both hands bandaged and when I asked what happened he replied, well I was gathering wild cats (three of them) and one of them attacked me!  Lots of stitches. By the way, did you still want that peacock? "Yes was my response!" And so we did a quick amendment and Petey became ours!  Here is a picture!  Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP thought you might get a kick out of this too!


Petey the Peacock

Mar 16, 2023 03:11 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Oh my goodness! Diana Dahlberg, Petey was a nice surpise and isn't he beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing your handsome Petey! What a lovely Peacock and the closing was a stunning surprise! I am happy for you!

Mar 16, 2023 03:17 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Margaret- many many years ago, a friend sold her home through a friend/agent. There were some unique and expensive items that someone should have pointed out to my friend that needed to be excluded from the contract or removed and replaced with something similar. 

Mar 15, 2023 06:59 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Kathy Streib 

So sorry this happened to your friend and by her friend/agent.

Mar 15, 2023 07:02 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

When I was an agent I always told sellers to remove anything that was attached that they didn't want to leave behind. They didn't always listen, of course. When it comes to a piece of art, it should be a no-brainer.

I have a client in Florida who is having a time with her seller, who sold a condo "furnished." Then she decided she should take a stool from the kitchen.But the buyers were a bit unreasonable too - they wanted her throw pillows.

I need to write and ask her how that was finally resolved - if it is!

Mar 15, 2023 08:55 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Marte Cliff - people do the strangest things. We learn a lot about what buyers and sellers want when property is being sold. I hope you do write and find out how it "was finally resolved."

Also, I hope you do have a chance to write some posts for this March 2023 Challenge. It would be nice to learn what lessons you learned when it came to using critical thinking to problem solve to find the right solutions.

Mar 16, 2023 05:39 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Marte Cliff  The art should have been a no-brainer. But throw pillows??

Mar 16, 2023 08:42 AM
Marte Cliff

The seller finally left the stool - but is complaining bitterly about it. And the buyers agreed to pay a few thousand for the pillows. But... The agents are reimbursing them for nearly 75% of that.

Mar 16, 2023 04:28 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

When I was actively selling homes, I would enlighten clients about what attachments were and were not.  I learned to do that early on, when a decorative landscape windmill left a home.

Mar 15, 2023 11:41 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Myrl Jeffcoat - now I am curious about that "decorative landscape windmill."

Mar 16, 2023 05:41 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Me too; I'm curious about that windmill. Myrl Jeffcoat 

Mar 16, 2023 08:37 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Margaret, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Mar 15, 2023 11:42 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, if the buyers want anything specific, it's got to be part of the contract. The example in your post and the comments demonstrates the truth to that!

Mar 16, 2023 05:17 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Good to see you. And you are correct. The way to ensure it stays or goes is to write it in, Kat Palmiotti.

Mar 16, 2023 08:32 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Margaret - such "thoughts" can lead to "what was I thinking?".  I wonder if this is rhetorical?  Hmm. . .   

Mar 16, 2023 07:00 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Michael Jacobs Yep,  'What was I thinking?''

Mar 16, 2023 08:33 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Lots of good advice in your example, Margaret. We have all had issues come up, I suspect, where there are items not requested to stay but assumed by the buyers. Or sellers taking things they forgot they agreed to leave, per the contract. It's always better to be clear and in writing. Even then, mistakes happen.

I had sellers hat agreed to leave a fairly expensive refrigerator, but unfortunately the movers goofed and took it to the seller's new home in another state. Of course the buyers requested it and sellers had to pay for a new refrigerator.


Mar 16, 2023 09:31 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jeff Dowler, CRS It was the mover's mistake, but the seller was still responsible.

Mar 16, 2023 11:11 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 Really enjoyed your Q&A today!  It actually brought back a few different memories over the years, but I thought maybe I could share some of those stories in a blog in the future!  But just to name a few:

Swingset - Shed - Deck on  Wheels - Kitchen Center Island (movable) - even curtains -- each one has a whole story -- just thankful I was able to work out all the details and it never cost anyone any money to make it work -- all win/win situations in the end.

Mar 16, 2023 03:17 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Diana Dahlberg, Good to see you and many of your items. 

I remember an agent who had to purchase a pool table.

Mar 16, 2023 05:02 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 OUCH!  Oh yes it happens and when it does, we take care of it, move on and be more careful the next time.  Right?

Mar 16, 2023 05:08 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Diana Dahlberg I just sent you an email.

Mar 16, 2023 05:18 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

My previous home...we were very surprised at the walk through to find that the sellers had removed the mirror over the sink in the powder room. It was nothing special and easily replaced at not much expense, but it sure was safe to assume it came with the house. We commented on it but didn't make a big deal out of it. 

As a stager I found myself constantly explaining to sellers that certain items should be pre-packed and replaced prior to listing if they wanted to avoid situations like you describe. Even if sellers state clearly "not included with sale" there are buyers who will still try to get it included as a bargaining chip. If sellers really want to keep an item, it isn't worth taking the risk that buyers will want it thrown in as part of the purchase.

Mar 20, 2023 09:39 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Good to see you, Sharon Tara. When the discussion of the bathroom mirror comes up, I tell the seller to leave it. It is another, "but I thought it would stay."

Mar 20, 2023 03:48 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I tell my clients every time that if something is attached, nailed, or screwed to the house that it is staying, then I walk into the house and my client has a screw gun in his hand.  What is a guy to do?  Aye caramba! ! ! We have to have a conversation!

Mar 20, 2023 12:51 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Ray Henson:

You must ensure in writing that all attached items remain. Then take the screw gun away from the seller. 🙃

Mar 20, 2023 03:52 PM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post and valuable information to read. Great advice to always remember:

Note: if an item is desired, it must be discussed and written into the contract.

Mar 23, 2023 09:41 AM