Most lakefront homes in Maine are sold to folks "from away". These types of buyers have their primary home back in the suburbs of major cities like Boston, Hartford, and New York. When purchasing one's primary home in the suburbs it's rare that the home one is purchasing will come furnished.
It's different when it comes to buying a second home here in the lakes regions of Maine. Most seasonal lakefront homes, when conveyed, come furnished or partially furnished. How come?
When folks with second homes on the lake decide to sell the question arises: "What do we do with all this stuff ? We can't bring it all home with us. We have no room for this stuff back home. I am often asked "Do you think the buyer would like to have the furnishings?" My answer, "You bet!"
Most lakefront buyers are happy to purchase a furnished or partially furnished second home. "We can use this stuff for now". Most plan to rid themselves, eventually, of an offending floral couch or uncomfortable chair at the first opportunity. However, they decide, most furnishings will work for the present.
Over the course of years a strange thing happens. The uncomfortable chair becomes less so and the horrible floral couch becomes "not so bad'. Ultimately, dawn breaks on Marblehead, with the sunny realization: "Who wants the kids with wet bathing suits and sandy pine tarred feet sitting on good furniture anyway?"
When a seller informs me "We want to sell the place furnished except for personal stuff " I hear a little voice in my head saying "What do they mean by personal stuff". "You know, pictures of the kids, clothing, that kind of thing." I say okay! No worries!
A few days later, after the listing is in the MLS I get a call from the seller. "Tom", they say, "we told the kids(now in their forties) that we are selling and each one wants to take a ‘little something" from our camp". "Something small?", I ask. "Oh yes". I say, "Okay! No worries!"
Sometimes the list of personal items being taken by the seller is small, however sometimes the list grows quite long . So..... Dear Lakefront Buyer, when you are told that the home is being sold furnished, or partially furnished except for personal items, make sure you know what that means.
Make sure your offer is contingent on knowing what's staying and what's remaining long before the closing. It's upsetting on the day of the closing to find most of the nice stuff gone and what remains is ready for a trip to the dump.
Lean on your buyer agent to get these answers. The day of the closing should be a time of celebration not one of dissapointment and or remorse.