This is so important that you need to question everything you are not sure of AND you need to confirm that everything you expect the vendor to leave is written into the contract under chattels, or fixtures and fittings.
“But they are nice people and they said they would leave it.” I hear you saying. Let me share with you from my experience.
First you are often buying from a couple and one of them may not agree with the other, or be aware of what the other have said. It’s all very well to argue that an offer and acceptance during a conversation make a verbal contract and if you want to fight it after you have taken possession, great, you can try. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make sure.
Often a house contract has standard inclusions like the stove, bench-top oven, drapes, TV aerial or satellite dish (often owned by the cable company anyway), but don’t assume anything.
You also don’t want to pay all the money over until you have made a final inspection. In our second house we had an outside kitchen bench with a sink and a waste disposal unit at the back of the house. The owner was a keen fisherman and this was where he scaled and filleted his catch, so the smell wouldn’t end up inside. It was bolted onto the house and it had been agreed that it would stay with the house.
When we were moving in, they hadn’t finished moving out and a relative had decided he would quite like to have it, so he had already unbolted it and was working on the plumbing when we started moving some of out things into the garage while we waited for our empty house.
The relative didn’t know that this had been agreed, it wasn’t on the contract, but fortunately we caught it in time and the vendor confirmed he had agreed it should stay, and it was more or less restored to its previous condition.
In another house there were fixtures like large mirrors that the vendor had said he would keep, however he decided they were worth money and our moving in day turned into a garage sale, where he wanted to charge us for everything from the mirrors and spare floor tiles to left over wall paint from slap dash tidy ups they had done, after removing things from the wall, and rooms they had painted previously The paint had absolutely no no value to them after they sold the house, but they tried. We told them to take it if another $30 was such a big deal to them. The truth is they didn’t want it and left junk that we said we didn’t want as well. It all got annoying and took some of the gloss out of enjoying moving into our new home.
So, my advice is, take nothing for granted. Anything that could potentially be removed from the stove, to solar panels, TV aerials, drapes and blinds, should be documented on the contract if you want them. A verbal contract, as they say, is only as good as the paper it is printed on.
The contract protects both parties from misunderstandings and there is more than enough tension on moving day.
Taking a photo of the chattels isn’t a bad idea either. I’ve heard of things like people replacing the nice stove with a cheap and nasty old one.
Have you had any experiences like that?