Do You Have Any Tips About Reserving Items on Behalf of a Seller?

Question

I am about to head to a listing appointment where the Sellers have already told me they want to take with them some items from the house.

Do you have any recommendations about reserving items on behalf of the Seller?

Answer

This is a very hot topic right now. We keep getting emails and phone calls from various Buyer’s Agents complaining that certain items the Buyer expected to remain in the home are missing during the final walk through.

(As a side note, we currently have a presentation that we’re giving to all Brokers in Acadiana about how to avoid this scenario on the Seller side and the Buyer’s side.  If you haven’t scheduled your presentation yet, please email Julie@TutenTitle.com and she’ll get you set up!!).

Today, we’ll briefly discuss reserving items from the Listing Agent’s perspective.  Next week we’ll briefly discuss reserving items from the Buyer’s Agent’s perspective.

Now back to the question….

The best way to help your Sellers reserve the necessary movable items is for the Agent to think three-fold:

  1. Detailed pre-list list;
  2. Detailed discussion; and
  3. Detailed post-list list.

 

What do I mean by a detailed pre-list list?

I mean a detailed checklist (either handwritten or saved on your iPad) that you have saved in your database that contains every item in a house that a Seller might want to take with them.

It’s amazing that when you ask a Seller generally, “what items do you want to keep,” they normally give you a very short and basic answer that usually includes drapes, chandeliers and maybe the TVs but as soon as you start going over a detailed list of items, the Sellers’ brain kicks in to high gear and they start chiming in with, “oh yeah, we want to keep that….and that too….and also that….and we didn’t think about that….and you mean we can take that too?…..etc.”

Over the years, we’ve created a list.  Here are some of the items on our list:

  1. Exterior
    1. Sugar kettle
    2. Water feature/water fountain
    3. Cement yard furniture
    4. Cement yard decorations
    5. Ring system
    6. Detachable Security Cameras
    7. Playset
    8. Pool vacuum
    9. Basketball goal
    10. Hot tub
  2. Interior
    1. Detachable security cameras
    2. Detachable surround sound speakers
    3. Movable shelving rack for surround sound
    4. Fire logs
    5. Nest system
    6. Wall mounted TVs
    7. Floor freezer
    8. Movable/undermount wine cooler
    9. Movable/undermount refrigerator

 

For our complete list, please email Julie@TutenTitle.com.

Make a list similar to the above on your own and keep it saved somewhere in your database to take with you to all listing appointments.

While you’ll probably never be able to include in your list ALL of the movable items in a house that a Seller assumes they can take with them, if you make an attempt at creating this checklist, you’ll be surprised how many items you’re able to jot down and I promise you’ll be much further along than most other agents who don’t read our weekly risk management newsletters or sit in our presentations.

Next, the Listing Agent needs to have with the Seller a detailed discussion about each item on the list.

To do this, the Listing Agent needs to get up and move.  Walk around the interior and exterior of the house as you have this discussion pointing out items the Seller may not have thought about taking with them.

As you walk around the house, I’m certain you’ll encounter other items in the house that are not on your pre-list list.  Be sure to discuss those items!

Generally speaking, if you see an item that can be grabbed, moved and pulled out of its place without damaging the surrounding housing structure, there is a chance the Seller might try to take that item with them prior to closing.

Once you’ve had a detailed discussion with the Sellers about all of the “movable” items the Sellers expects to keep with them at closing, then make a detailed “post-list list” of those items to upload to MLS.

Finally, be sure that whatever list you upload to MLS is included in the Purchase Agreement to be signed between Buyer and Seller.