Over the last couple of weeks I have spoken to two different sellers that wanted to sell their home with pretty much all of their belongings. Needless to say, that is very unusual and can be very problematic. Why?
It is not “customary” in North America to sell a home fully furnished. Occasionally, there is a custom built bookcase or couch that is included in the sale, but generally furnishings are not real estate, furnishings are personal property. In some parts of Europe and definitely in parts of Asia, selling a furnished home is more customary.
What I tell sellers is that we will make the buyer aware that items are available for sale (the specific buyer who is contracted to purchase the home) and that the seller will produce a list of items and prices to be purchased outside of the real estate transaction with a “bill of sale”.
Mortgage lenders don’t make 30 year loans on personal property – they make them on real property that can be foreclosed on and re-sold. Lenders do not like seeing furnishings in a purchase and sale agreement and may ask that they be removed.
The sale of items gets complicated and there can be trust factors. I once had another agent tell me that his buyer was not sure that my seller would actually leave the lawn tractor at close (this was a $400K+ home). I had to personally guarantee that I would buy them one if they opened the shop door and it was missing.
In short, if you are thinking of selling your home and no longer want your furniture, have an estate sale, use craigslist or donate to charity.