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You Can’t Take It With You…..Or Can You?

So,  you have decided to sell your home and are in the process of cleaning, de-cluttering and staging. You are making decisions about what to keep, what to toss , and what to move around to make your home  more appealing to a buyer. Are there some things you might be overlooking? What about that  heirloom chandelier over the dining room table, or the custom ceramic handles in the kitchen that you had made to match the china? Before meeting with an agent to list your home, it might be a good idea to take a survey and make note of things you know you want to take with you. In a real estate transaction, there a certain expectations of what items transfer with title of  the property.  Consult with your agent about items and fixtures that are considered part of the real property in you locale, and that are presumed to stay.

If you have decided that you will be putting those handles or that chandelier in your new home, the best advice would be to remove them prior to listing or photographing your home. If you are removing items like a light fixture, be sure to replace it with another, and repair holes or damages made by it’s removal. Buyers won’t want what they have not seen. If it can’t be removed at the time of listing, make sure to discuss this with your real estate agent and have it clearly documented in the listing paperwork and disclosed to all potential buyers.

During the sale of our first house, I was adamant about taking some specialty garden plants that I wanted at our new home. Before listing they were dug up, potted and set aside, changing them from real property to personal property that we were free to take with us. If you have a planting in honor of an event or person, taking this step could save you a lot of grief at the time of closing should a dispute arise. Is it the wrong season to move it? Ask your agent or attorney to see if they can arrange an agreement for later transplanting. You may want to offer to replace it with a similar planting to make the transfer go more smoothly.

As a buyer, be sure to document items that come with the home, and if in doubt, have them included in your purchase offer. Buyers who have assumed that the kitchen of their new home was coming with the stainless appliances they saw at the first showing, may be angered to see that they were replaced with lesser models before closing. Real estate transactions have been delayed, cancelled or brought into further litigation for reasons similar to the examples I have noted. If there is some type of personal property that you see in the new home that you feel you must have, it may be negotiable or available to purchase outside of the real estate transaction.

Proper planning at the beginning stages of your home transaction can help you avoid problems and disagreements at the end.

Author, Debra Bajouwa SRS, CBR, e-PRO is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with CM Fox Real Estate in Guilderland NY. You can contact Debra at or visit her website,

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