Home Buying in Buffalo>Question Details

Jane, Both Buyer and Seller in 14221

Never Knew We Needed to Specify Refrigerator in Contract - Anything We Can Do Now?

Asked by Jane, 14221 Wed Jun 3, 2009

We are first time home buyers, about to close on on new house. We were shocked to receive an email today asking if we wanted to purchase the stove and refigerator, which we though were included the entire time. It was all verbal (we asked the homeowners what stayed and what went, etc.), and never realized that we had to call these out specifically in the contract, as they were free standing. Our realator and lawyer never said a word. Anything we can do?

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The contract is quite specific about this - what is included and what isn't. It 's on 2 pages. I always go over the entire 8 pages when the buyer signs it, and explain the next 5 pages. You have to initial every page, that you understand and agree. I think the lawyer also goes over the contract, at least the ones I recommend do. Check the MLS listing as to what was included. You may have to accept this as an expensive lesson in life!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 27, 2009
A verbal is just that, and the appliances should have been included in the contract, did you use an attorney that specializes in Real Estate or one that does wills one day, litigation another, I wonder...

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
Hi Jane, unfortunately it should of been listed in the contract. Even if listed on MLS- it is the contract that survives. If it is a gas stove- make sure you let the agent know you will want to see a licensed plumbers paid bill. If it's a n electric stove- it's free standing. How old are the appliances..check prices-Holiday's 4th of July bif sale day-coming- you may be able to pick up some really great deal (don' tbe afraid to ask for floor sample).

Ask your agent to get you the make and Model #s-refrigerator-inside the freezer door and the stove on the side of the ovendoor (most of the time) Take to the appliance store and have them tell you how old they are. Terry K 718-614-3167 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 5, 2009
HI Jane, I was not aware that in other parts of NY realtors send the contract. In my area of NY the attorneys send it. Amazing that even in different parts of the state things are different.

As someone else said, I would ask for the MLS printout and see what it says.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Thanks Guys: Our agents, both buyer and seller agent, apparently want us to work it out independently - as our agent gave the seller our contact information (hence how this whole thing started .... when they emailed us).

We spoke to the seller, who although understanding, doesn't have to do us any 'favors'. It isn't in the contract; they 'spoke with lots of people viewing their house of a long period of time and don't recall specific converstions', etc.

In the end, we can't really argue with it as it's our mistake for not understanding the contract/realizing the stove/refrigerator were freestanding/working with a neglectful realator.

But sorry, to say, things like this really give realtors a bum rap.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Hi Jane, Has your agent tried to contact the seller's agent to figure this out? Sometimes it's just a matter of communication. It's true what everyone said if it's not in the contract then it doesn't exist, but that doesn't mean your agent can't still go to bat for you. If he dosen't seem to care then definately contact their Broker. Wish there was more that we could do to help!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Basically yes, the agent will get paid.

As mentioned in previous answers ask for the MLS printout which has the information regarding what is included in the sale. If the stove and refrigerator aren't listed as included then there's not much that can be done.

On a positive note, after transactions close most reputable brokerages will send you a survey regarding your agent. That's your opportunity to let your dissatisfaction be known.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Hi Michael: Thanks for your reply. So, other than tell our agent that we are disappointed, there is no recourse, correct?

He gets paid in full whether we are satisfied with his services or not....ugh.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
In my humble opinion, agents from other areas of the country (even those from other parts of the same state hundreds of miles apart) should refrain from answering questions when the answer is based on local practices.

Jane you are absolutely correct, your agent should have reviewed the contract with you thoroughly before having you sign. And in our area we do not have a checklist (please see my previous answer on how things are handled in Erie Country, JR).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Hi JR: This is in Buffalo, NY, Erie County. There is no "checklist". We spoke to our "realator" (who sold our house and then was showing us houses to buy) who didn't have much to say on the matter other than that he didn't know that he wanted the appliances. Our lawyer says the same, that we needed to specify items that are "freestanding" like a refrigerator and stove in the contract. We did not realize that a refrigerator and stove were "freestanding"

You say that you stated that "realtor" "would have nothing to do with the contract?" He is the one that sends it to us/looks it over/etc. He should absolutely be reviewing it and guiding us...no? Then what is the role of the Buyer having an agent?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Since you are in NY, and I am in NY, "your" realtor (was this a buyer's agent?) would have had nothing to do with the contract. In any event, contracts are boilerplate. The items not included are crossed out. The MLS has appliances listed. They say "Y" or "N". Who sent you an email asking if you wanted to purchase the stove and refrigerator? The answer is "No, I don't want to purchase them, they should be included in the price." Get your attorney on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Ken: You are correct about things that are attached. Maybe in CA things are a bit different but here, drapes are not considered attached nor to be included unless it is specified in the contract. Drapery rods, valences, etc that are screwed in are however.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Just checked the MLS - there is no mention of any appliances, included or excluded. Ugh! Thanks so much for all the answers though!

Again, we think that our realator should have walked us through this process more diligently! :( Lesson learned.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Normally anything that is ATTACHED to the property conveys (goes with ) the property. For example, drapes. The drapes are screwed into the wall. They go with the house.

Light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.

So, a free standing range is connected (attached ) by the power cord, and if gas, a gas line.

IOW, unless an attached item is EXCLUDED (you need to see that MLS data), then it is assumed to convey with the property. In some areas their are regional customs that might affect how this is handled.

Check with your Realtor, look at the MLS data, and ask about your concerns.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
You haven't closed yet. I would call yourr buyer arent's broker-owner and ask for a copy of the listing. If your agent was there and heard the seller say it was included it should have been the agent's responsibility to include it in writing. It may be a case for the broker and the agent to work it out with the lisitng agent or help you out in some way. Again, talk to your attorney after you get the listing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009

Speak with the agent, if that does not work, call their Broker. The Broker is there to handle such issues.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Thanks Joe - The house was for sale thru an agent, but we do not have the MLS listing to view if the appliances were listed in it. Both times we viewed the house the sellers were on premise, we were with our realator. We asked the sellers 'what says and what goes', and than operated under that assumption throughout the process.

Our realator never explained to us that we needed to specify the stove and refrigerator in the contract. In our opinion, that is what he gets paid for (to act in our best interests and guide us during a sale!). I realize that there is error on our part (not understanding the contract in full); We are just trying to see if we have any recourse.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
For Zack: There are built-in refrigerators; Zub-zero brand etc. You may not understand the process here in the Buffalo area because it varies from county just as NYC does things differently. We use attorneys here in this area and that is where buyers should consult with there attorney about issues. Unfortunately, even though someone is an attorney, it doesn't mean that they have a lot of knowledge in real property law and the ins and outs of the local practices. If the attorney for the buyer in this case was referred to them by the buyer agent, there may be some added liability on the part of the buyer broker. Check with the legal aid in your area
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
When you say " we asked asked the homeowners" you talked to them directly? was this home for sale by owner? If it was listed, were those items included in the listing. If they are free standing you have to specify in the portion of the contract Items Included - what you are asking for. If your agent told you they were included and didn't write it in the contract, the buyer's broker may be responsible. More info is needed. Get it resolved before you close.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Ok, i'm now officially curious, what exactly defines not being "free-standing" for a refridgerator? I've seen stoves with the burners built into the countertops, so I'd assume that is not free standing, but does this apply to all refridgerators that are not built into cabinets? I probably looked at 50 house and only once saw a fridge built into cabinets, and it was ugly.

Btw, I consider myself pretty well educated in the ways of real estate due to these boards, i'm no pro, but have learned quite a bit here. And it would never occur to me that someone would unhook the gas hose, unplug the fridge and walk off with them. Bizarre.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Under the Property, Fixtures and Other Items section, the contract reads:
Unless excluded, the following items are included:
If presently on the Property and unless free-standing, all cabinets, shelving, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, ranges, microwave ovens, trash compactors, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air filtering systems.
Under Excluded Items, only furniture and household furnishings are listed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Re JR's answer, the contract in Erie County (Buffalo NY area) does not have a checklist. If something that is not permanently attached to the property (such as a freestanding stove or refrigerator) is to be included in the sale it must be specifically added to the contract. Likewise, if something IS permanently attached is must be specifically EXcluded (flat panel tv's mounted to the wall are a good example).

The standard contract in JR's area, like other areas of the country, will differ.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
If the stove and refrigerator aren't specifically excluded they should stay. You shouldn't have to "call these out specifically", although they should have been in the boilerplate part of the contract. Doesn't the contract have a list, and the items not included are crossed off?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
You may want to ask your agent if the MLS listing stated that these items were included. If yes, you may be able to do an addendum to your contract including these items. The argument here being that it was "advertised" in the listing information that the stove and refrigerator were included, just mistakenly omitted from the contract.

In New York State verbal agreements in real estate are not enforceable. Everything must be in writing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009

I can only say what I would have done, which is I ask my buyers if they want it, and then I write it in the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009
One more question: Colleen - in the Buffalo area, isn't this the job of the realtor to inform us that we need to include that in our contract?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009
Thanks for your answers! The Agent was present during these conversations, and we had discussed it with him, (like when we were comparing houses, we were comnparing appliances to some extent!) that is why we are so surprised that he never informed us.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009

If it is not included in the contract, then you have little recourse. It all comes down to the written contract. Good luck with your new home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009
I am not familiar with your local laws. Here, we have a "checklist" in the contract; so it is quite clear. If, as an agent, I simply failed to fill that part out, I would think I might be liable for the stove and frig. On the other hand, if you negotiated this directly with the owners and the agent wasn't present, then your agent may have a point if he says you limited his personal knowledge and therefore YOU had the responsibility to tell him what was included and what was not. When my clients negotiate something on their own and then ask me to "write it up" they are taking on more responsibility for the outcome.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009
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