One of the most common questions that homebuyers ask when walking through potential homes has to do with whether certain items (e.g. the built-in shelves, the crystal chandelier, the window shades, the refrigerator) come with the home.
Technical REALTOR-speak or legalese for this question is: Does the item convey?
The answer to this question can obviously be very important to any buyer. For example, if the clothes washer and dryer don't convey, you might have to spend time researching models, plan for a trip to Sears or Best Buy, and shell out a thousand bucks for new ones.
Fortunately when buying a home in Northern Virginia, the answer to this question is usually clearly answered by a clause in the purchase contract and a check-off list.
Here's the checklist:
As a part of the contract, buyers and sellers will check off which items convey and which don't with the purchase and sale of the home. If there's more than one of the designated appliance, fixture, or item, the number will be filled in on the checklist.
The checklist is part of Paragraph 9 of the contract.
Paragraph 9 lists the default items that will convey with a home in Northern Virginia (it's the same for homes in D.C.) Notice the bold and capitals in the phrase "all surface or wall mounted electronic components/devices DO NOT convey." We fondly refer to this as the "Plasma TV Clause." You get my drift!
Illustrating the importance of understanding conveyances of personal property and fixtures is the following true story from my rookie year in real estate:
My client, a young woman, was purchasing her first home. After settlement and her moving in, she called me and said "Brian, they took the window shades, blinds and vertical blinds. WTF!" She didn't actually say WTF, as I don't think that actual phrase or abbreviation existed back then. It was more like "What can we do?"
She was clearly upset and justifiably so. She couldn't change her clothes in the bedroom of her own townhouse without her neighbors being treated to a scene reminiscent of a TSA Full-Body Scanner! According to Paragraph 9 of the contract, the shades and blinds were supposed to convey. This was a breach of the contract by the sellers.
I called the seller's agent but could not get the situation resolved quickly nor amicably. My client asked if we could sue the sellers and if I would be her lawyer. This REALTOR/Attorney took up the challenge! We got a quote on the cost of replacing the purloined blinds & shades. Then we filed suit in small claims court for $3500. We went to court, got a judgment, and got paid.
My client got her shades and blinds. We got justice. And I got to sell her home a few years later.
Just remember: If it's checked off and/or it's in Paragraph 9, it conveys.
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