Communication is key, and this extends to the real estate industry. When they aren’t used properly, listing exclusions and offer inclusions can lead to frustration, misunderstandings, and unwarranted surprises. However, if both parties utilize the opportunity to communicate what is staying and what is going, the transition goes much smoother and everyone is satisfied.
The basic rule is as follows: everything that is screwed or nailed into the wall or ceiling is to stay and becomes the property of the new owner. This includes cabinet fixtures, lighting, railings, bathroom mirrors, and more. However, there are usually items that are either in a grey area or the seller wants to take with them as they consider it their private property.
Which leads to my best exclusion/inclusion tips for both sellers and buyers:
Tips for Sellers:
1. Prepare Your House for Listing
If you have an heirloom chandelier that you want to take with you or a particularly valuable bathroom mirror that you see yourself using in your new home, consider taking them down BEFORE you list and show your home. This way the buyers don’t feel like they are being “robbed” of anything that they see. Switch out the things you want to take with you like special faucets, light fixtures, shelving, or even doors, for what was there before or for a basic model.
2. Tell Your Realtor Your Exclusions
Sometimes taking certain things down or removing your dishwasher or other appliances isn’t feasible or possible. Then it is important to speak with your listing agent and get him or her to outline these exclusions in the listing. During this time it could be useful to think about how set in stone you are about this, as during the offer and negotiation process, these could be used as bargaining pieces. If you aren’t sure whether it’s worth listing or not, tell your agent anyways- he or she will know what to do with it.
3. Consider Whether You Have Any Inclusions
Most buyers don’t like surprises. Though you might think that leaving your antique table and chair set is a great gift for your home’s new occupants, they might see it as a hassle and really the last thing they could possibly need. The same goes for patio furniture, bookshelves and more. If you plan on leaving something, say so right away, as the buyers might not want it. On the flip side, by including some items, you might make the property more valuable to potential buyers, examples being pool maintenance items, a lawn mower, washer and dryer units, or kitchen appliances.
Tips for Buyers:
1. Read all the Exclusions and Inclusions Carefully
As you are viewing the property, take a good look at the listing, noting the inclusions and exclusions as you pass them. If there is something that you are unsure about, ask your realtor to make a call to the listing agent and clear up any uncertainties. If there is something that you would really like to stay, mention this to your agent as this is something that might be able to be arranged.
2. Take Photos
If there are some things that you are afraid that the buyer might consider taking with them even though it hasn’t been mentioned, take a photo. This evidence can be what gets you what you want later on. Even if you don’t end up keeping it in the end, if it’s a look you like, you’ll have an easier time replicating it.
3. Construct an Offer With Your Wants
As the buyer, you have the first move. When you and your realtor put together the offer, feel free to counter on the exclusions and inclusions mentioned in the listing, as well as add your own conditions. From appliances, through furniture, equipment, etc., it’s worth trying to get what you want- worse case scenario, they say no.
As important as communication with the buying or selling party is, it’s essential to speak freely with your agent. Their experience will be able to guide you through the process in a way that is fair to both sides of the transaction.
Urszula Kudla is a member of Team Home & Loan, Peak Realty Ltd. She has lived in the Kitchener Waterloo area for the last 19 years and loves working with people looking to relocate to her hometown. In addition to her local work, she is a Certified International Property Specialist and has completed additional training to make her an Accredited Senior Agent.