When a house is sold, it’s generally expected that the seller will take all of their personal belongings along with them. This includes furniture, pictures, cleaning supplies, and appliances that weren’t included on the deal. This is all in the expectation that the buyer will have a clean property to move into.
If a seller does leave personal property behind, what are the rights of the buyer? Buyers may wonder if they can move in and actually take possession of the home if belongings have been left behind. There are a few reasons that buyers may leave property behind including:
- The item is actually a fixture and not considered personal property
- The item could belong to a tenant (or former tenant)
In these circumstances, each state determines different rights and procedures that must happen in order for the property to be secured without hassle by the buying party.
What If There’s So Much Stuff It Impedes On Moving In?
In the case that a seller has left so many things that a buyer cannot even comfortably move into the property, the contract may be refused. If there’s an inordinate amount of furniture, trash, and personal belongings, you certainly have a good argument to not sign the final contract for the property. Your rights as a buyer do, however, depend on what exactly was written into the purchase contract for the home you’re buying.
If an item has been deemed hidden or buried, the buyers have a different circumstance on their hands. Many times, a buyer is obligated to hang onto these items for the seller. The items were not technically abandoned by the seller to the buyer. The buyer becomes what is called a “bailor,” or a keeper of the property, who needs to be an agent in the change of possession of the items.
If the ownership of an item is unknown, the terms of the contract are held up. Standard contracts generally state that any items left behind by the seller have been forfeited to the buyer. If the contract says nothing about personal property, the buyer generally takes on the role of “bailor” again in this instance.
If The Property Owner Has Died Or The Property Has Been Abandoned
If a property has been abandoned due to foreclosure or bankruptcy, or the property owner has died, any personal property that is left behind is a bit more of a risk for both parties. These circumstances generally state that a buyer will be taking on a property “as is” and essentially anything left is the buyer’s problem.
If a property owner has died, the executors generally take on the responsibility of removing items from the property to be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. Occasionally, this process doesn’t work out due to family quarrels. In this case, personal property of the seller goes into the category of forfeiture.
Personal property is just one reason why you need to understand your legal rights when you’re buying a home.
If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, the thought of organizing, cleaning, and arranging it may seem like an overwhelming project!
Knowing where to begin and how much money to spend on home staging and decorating are among the many questions that may be flooding your mind, right now.
The key to success is to make as much of an impact as possible, without spending more money than necessary.
One way to avoid "spinning your wheels" when it comes to maximizing the appearance of your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will quickly notice aspects of your home that need attention and advise you on the most cost-effective ways to improve its marketability. If they've shown dozens (or more) houses in their career, they'll be very familiar with all the things that attract buyers, as well as what repels them.
Although everyone has different tastes and expectations, many house hunters are attracted to gleaming hardwood floors, energy efficient windows, and stainless steel appliances. While it may not be cost effective to have new floors, appliances, and windows installed to sell your house faster, you can make the best possible impression by making sure the windows are crystal clear, hardwood floors are polished, and appliances are clean and shiny.
Since many house hunters pay close attention to the kitchen, it's especially important to win their approval on appearance and cleanliness. Because food is prepared and often consumed in the kitchen, it's going to be one of the more challenging rooms to keep clean -- especially if you have children. However, if a prospective buyer is wavering between two houses for sale, you can be reasonably sure that the one with the clean kitchen and bathrooms will be their preferred choice.
There are a lot of other ways you can make your kitchen appealing to buyers, too. By minimizing clutter on counter tops and displaying fresh flowers and a colorful bowl of fruit, you can make your kitchen look much more inviting. Prospective buyers will also respond favorably to appealing fragrances, such as freshly baked bread, cookies, cinnamon buns, or coffee. Clean windows, attractive curtains, and plenty of natural light will also add to the ambiance of your kitchen.
The ideal reaction from potential buyers touring your home would be something to the effect of "I can imagine us preparing dinner, entertaining guests, and sitting around the breakfast table in this house!" Setting the table so that it looks like the family is just about to sit down for a meal together is one way to help convey that image. The encouraging news is that when someone expresses sincere appreciation for the comforts and features of your home, there's a good chance they'll find a place for it on their short list of possibilities!
Bring new life to your bedroom without completely redirecting. When we are tired of our existing decor it can feel like we need to start completely from scratch to obtain a whole new look. But before you begin hauling off your bed frame to the second-hand shop consider these small changes first:
Add a variety of textures via linens, upholstery, accents. Look for soft items made up of furs, textured weaves, linens, and velvet. Add interestingly woven baskets, stone, glass and polished wood. This mix will work together to create a visually interesting dynamic no matter the color palette of your room.
Install a different style of window treatments. Let more light into a room with sheer panels. Whites and creams always make for a classic look. However, if you are looking to really shake things look to other colors either as a solid or in patterns. A popular trend at the moment is upgraded solid panels. From patterns to bamboo and even embellishments you will have plenty of options to create unique-to-you treatments.
Create a statement wall without making a commitment with removable wallpaper. Since they are peel and stick they are easier to install than traditional wallpaper. They also give you the freedom to go bold with your pattern or color of choice. So why not reach for the more daring print?
If you want to add a bold print but wallpaper isn’t for you find a pattern you love on a duvet cover. They are easy to swap out as much as you’d like and can also be a great way to add more texture to your space. For example, you could add a pintucked satin or an inviting quilt with a pattern sewn throughout. It will certainly take center stage and make a statement as the focal point of the room.
Create more light in your space by installing a large mirror. Hung or leaning against a wall it helps to open up the room and allow light reach more of the room. If you have several closet doors consider installing mirrors as paneling for a chic, new look. Or create ambiance with paper lanterns. They create a soft, calming light that is perfect to read by at the end of the day.
Since these changes are so easy to make, some a matter of a few minutes, you can create subtle changes throughout each season. Swap out decorative pillows and throws, for example, for patterns and hues that still match your existing decor but better suit the mood of the season. Darker hues paired with creams and beiges create a cozy space in winter with creams or beige. And brighter cheery hues against a crisp white pop and bring energy into the room for Summer.
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