How to Prepare Your House For Sale – If You Want it, Remove it Now!
As you are going through the initial steps in preparing your home for sale, you should begin with doing a walkthrough for yourself. In addition to the notes you take for things that need to fixed, you will want to make a note of anything that is ‘attached’ to you home that you will want to take with you when you move out.
When I say ‘attached’, this means any fixture that is permanently installed to a wall, the ceiling, or the floor of your home. This could be a ceiling fan, a light fixture, a mirror, fireplace doors, built-in furniture like a cubby seat in a bay window or a small wall desk, bookshelves or any other item that could be interpreted as ‘permanently installed. Pictures, clocks and other items are considered temporary and do not need to be considered.
This is not limited to interior items. Items considered permanent could include an arbor, a gazebo, a wooden swing or swing set, playground items, or any other item that is installed in such a manner that would make moving or removing it difficult without assistance or significant labor to do so. Again, this interpretation is somewhat vague so don’t guess. For instance, you have an outside gas grill that is attached to a gas line. Would you consider this a permanently installed item or not?
Maybe, maybe not. I bring this up because you want to make sure that you take note of any and all items that may come up during negotiations or could pop up as a ‘gotcha’ at the closing table. It is best to anticipate and remove any doubt up front.
I had this happen on my home. When I first visited the house, my wife could not accompany me so I brought a camcorder with me so that if the house looked like a possibility on my visit, I could show it to her without having to travel all the way back to the house. One of the items that I just happened to record was an expensive thermostat installed on the wall. I thought nothing of it at the time. Put in a later walkthrough with my home inspector, I noted that the thermostat that I had recorded had been replaced with a cheap, manual model. Since we had already made and offer and the contract was pending, I contacted my agent and through their agent, we requested that it be replaced with the original. The owners stated they never changed it, but after finding out we had a video, they changed the story to saying that they ‘intended’ on removing it before we visited. Since this was not stated in the contract, they had to replace it.
What would have happened if I did not have video proof?
These items can be spelled out in the contract but why bother with that? Just remove items you want and replace them with inexpensive fixtures as necessary before you even list your home for sale.