So, yesterday we had our monthly sales meeting at Re/Max Town Centre. After going over the stats and sales data for the past couple of months, we got on to a couple of thought-provoking questions. One of which was in regards to chattels (for a definition click here http://duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/C/Chattel.aspx) included in an agreement of purchase and sale. I’ll use one of my own experiences as an example…
Not that long ago, I listed a house where the sellers had planned to include all of their appliances in the sale. I specifically listed each appliance in the MLS as inclusions. A few days later, we received an offer from a buyer represented by another agent. The offer listed all the appliances as “chattels included” except for the refrigerator. When I presented the offer to my clients, we noticed that the fridge was not listed but we just thought that the buyer had a fridge already and didn’t need or want theirs. After some negotiations on price and the closing date, we had an accepted offer.
Some weeks later, the deal closes and out of the blue, I get a frantic call from the buyer’s agent wondering where the fridge is. I explained that the fridge was not mentioned or included in the agreement of purchase and sale and therefore the sellers thought the buyer didn’t want it. She said that she thought it should have been automatically included because it was listed in the MLS and that the buyer is expecting to get that fridge. So…who was right?
The answer is….the sellers. Here’s why. It must specifically state in the agreement of purchase and sale what chattels are to be included. If not, the buyers do not have any recourse should the items be missing. Even though it was mentioned in the MLS listing information, essentially all this means is that the seller is willing to include it if the buyer wants it. If it does not form a part of the contract, it cannot automatically be assumed that it would be included.
The moral of this story is to always put it in writing and be as specific as possible. If you are putting in an offer on a house and you’re asking for the high-end stainless steel appliances to be included, have your real estate agent specifically state the make and model of said appliances so that the seller cannot make any last-minute substitutions, if you know what I mean. Better to nip it in the bud at the time of the offer rather than face disappointment and possible lawsuits down the road.
‘Till next time,