What to Leave and What to Take When You’re Selling
If you are a first-time seller, you may not know exactly which items to leave behind, take with you, donate, or throw away. It’s important to remember that buyers don’t necessarily want certain items left behind in their new home, even if you think it could be useful.
For example, there are appliances you may consider leaving like a generator, or the washer and dryer, but the buyer doesn’t know your intentions and you don’t know what they already have. Your large items may be a welcome addition to the home when they move in, or they may already have a new generator or washer and dryer, and now they have to dispose of what you left behind.
Good intentions may actually cause a problem. This is why it is important to both verbalize your intentions and put it in writing for the buyers to sign off on.
It can be as simple as stating that certain items, like the garden statue or the refrigerator, will go with you, but the washer and dryer could stay if the buyer wants them. This is something your real estate professional can put into the contract so everyone is in clear agreement.
What are the basics?
There are certain things that as a seller, you typically take with you when you move. The refrigerator and furniture are usually on the packing list, plus special items you feel you just can’t leave behind (like handmade curtains or the bird bath your father gave you when you first moved in). These exceptions should be clearly communicated, documented, and approved by the buyers so there are no surprises.
Anything that is a fixed part of the house (a built-in dishwasher is a great example) usually stays with the home. If a buyer really wants an item, like the dining room table, you can negotiate it to be part of the sale if you choose. All items can be negotiable - the question is if you want to sell them.
Here are guidelines on typical things you would take with you and items you would leave behind (unless an agreement is made with the buyers) to get your packing list started.
Things that typically stay with the house are:
- Chandeliers/light fixtures
- Ceiling fans
- Plantings and landscaping around the home
- Built-in fire pits
- Custom window treatments (because they are custom made to the measurements of this particular house)
Things the seller usually takes includes:
- Most garden statuary
- Area rugs and window blinds
- Portable AC units
- Patio furniture
- Portable fire pits
- Decorations of any kind
The key here is the specifics of the sale should be clearly spelled out on the listing sheet and the sales contract. Your goal is for the buyers not to be surprised by anything missing from the home after you move out or by old items that were left behind.
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