Does the seller get paid for the fuel oil in the tank by the buyer at settlement?

Asked by Tom, Telford, PA Tue Dec 2, 2008

I'm selling my home which is heated by an oil burner. I have an oil tank with quite a bit of oil remaining in it. With oil prices as they are today, the oil in the tank cost me a lot of money. I know when I bought the house some 20 years ago, I had to compensate the seller for the oil remaining in the tank at the time of settlement. I mentioned this to the realtor selling my house, and she told me she hasn't ever heard of such a thing, and she's been doing this for 25 years. She told me that I basically just have to give the buyer the oil, as if it were a "fixture" of the house. So, I've been told two different things at two different time periods. Did the laws change? What is the correct answer for today? The house I'm selling is in Pennsylvania.

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19
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Dec 12, 2008
There you go, Tom... sorry that I didn't notice that Inanna was also from your area.

Realtors who are doing business in your region will know what is "standard and customary".
1 vote
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Dec 12, 2008
As JR points out, it appears that customs vary around the country. I'd pay more attention to those answers that come from your area... please note that Hugh Henry appears to be from Montgomery county, too... and he indicates that the standard contract in your area states that the fuel stays with the home.

That doesn't mean you couldn't attempt to negotiate that point, everything is negotiable... however, it might put you at a slight disadvantage, if everyone else for sale in your area includes the oil, and you're trying to negotiate it away.
1 vote
Dp2, , Virginia
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Just because that agent hasn't come across a seller who wants to get paid for the remaining fuel in the tank, that doesn't mean you can't ask for this. You negotiate the terms you want--just as the buyer will attempt to negotiate the terms he/she/they want. Now, keep in mind that if other sellers in your neighborhood are selling their properties without the extra oil surcharge, then your competitors probably will have a slight edge in pricing.
1 vote
Vladislav Ya…, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Sun Oct 8, 2017
We Can supply Aviation Kerosene,Jet fuel (JP 54-A1,5), Diesel (Gas Oil) and Fuel Oil D2, D6,ETC in FOB/Rotterdam only, serious buyer should contact or if you have serious buyers my seller is ready to close this deal fast contact us below:now base email us (neftegazagent@yandex.ru)
0 votes
Vladislav Ya…, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Sun Sep 17, 2017
We Can supply Aviation Kerosene,Jet fuel (JP 54-A1,5), Diesel (Gas Oil) and Fuel Oil D2, D6,ETC in FOB/Rotterdam only, serious buyer should contact or if you have serious buyers my seller is ready to close this deal fast contact us below:now base email us (neftegazagent@yandex.ru)
0 votes
Hishis, Home Buyer, Telford, PA
Sun Jun 25, 2017
I was a jerk and sold my tank for free. and the person that i gave it to sold it for 500$
0 votes
Msinport, Home Buyer, Telford, PA
Thu Dec 3, 2015
Well, Tom........as you probably assumed long ago (I see this thread is from 2008) your old realtor was either asleep for 25 years.....or she didn't get around much.

The concept of paying for oil in the tank is ANCIENT. All items like this are TOTALLY commonplace in real estate law, and in fact there's a document that is part of the closing that was created JUST FOR THIS.

It's called the STATEMENT of ADJUSTMENTS.....which is exactly what it sounds like.

Hope you fired that agent when she told you that!
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Aug 15, 2014
Here in NH there is a line on our standard purchase and sale agreement that the buyer will pay for "fuel in storage" such as oil or propane. Every now and then we get offers written ion non standard contracts that leave this out,. As the listing agent we make sure it is on there to protect our seller. Reading all the answers it appears it is not customary in some parts of the country. As a seller you can make sure your listing agent knows you want the buyer to pay for oil in storage, it is usually measured the day before closing and charged at the days rate from local oil companies. You should disclose this in the mls comments as well,.
0 votes
Hiwa Abbasi, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Fri Aug 15, 2014
Sale of Iranian oil 00989142024350 anvardadras1350@gmail.com
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Fri Dec 12, 2008
Obviously customs must vary widely. In my area it can go 2 wasy: the tank is filled before the closing, and the buyer pays the seller for a full tank, or the oil company measures the fuel in the tank and the seller pays. All this is negotiable of course. Do you have an attorney? They should know.
0 votes
Joe Sheehan, Agent, Exton, PA
Wed Dec 10, 2008
Hi Tom,

The standard language in the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Standard Agreement of Sale states specifically in Section 4 (A) that, among other things, remaining heating and cooking fuels stored on the property at the time of the settlement are included.

If you wish to be reimbursed for the value of those items, make sure you discuss that with your listing agent before signing the agreement so the appropriate changes can be made and negotiated.

Good Luck!

Joe Sheehan, ABR, SRES
Web Reference:  http://www.josephsheehan.com
0 votes
Gita Bantwal, Agent, Jamison, PA
Wed Dec 10, 2008
If you would like to be reimbursed for the oil, make sure it is mentioned in the agreement of sale. Please use this for negotiation purposes when you get an offer on your home . When we bought our first home there was no oil in the tank. We moved in february on a cold day with a 10 year old baby and had no idea why the heater was not working.
Wish you good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.gitabantwal.com
0 votes
Michael D De…, , 18969
Wed Dec 3, 2008
Tom,
Everything is negotiable. If the customer wants your home bad enough, he will pay for the oil in the tank, but put it in the agreement of sale. The only downside is, with it being a buyers market, it may prevent your home from being sold. This could cost you much more than the tank of oil. Figure out how much your home is worth and what the interest would be on that money for each day it doesn,t sell. It could add up quickly.
My opinion is that it would be better to get top dollar for your home and not push for oil reimbursement. It all depends how quickly you want to sell or if you can wait for a while to sell.
The very best of luck to you!
Michael


Michael D Delp
Mortgage Pro
4802 Old Bethlehem Pike,
Telford Pa. 18969
Ph- 215-453-1025
Fax- 215-453-1012
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michaelddelp@verizon.net http://www.mortgagepro.instantlender.com
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Tom,

This is an issue best dealt with by your real estate professional. They will be able to advise you best, based on their understanding of the facts at hand.

Anything is negotiable.......but don't let this be the cause of a good opportunity....going bad.

Good luck
The Eckler Team
0 votes
Renee Porsia, Agent, Newtown, PA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Hi Tom,

Any time I have had a situation like this, the seller marketed the property stating they would include the remaining oil for the buyer and included the value as an extra incentive for the buyer. They never asked the buyer to reimburse them.

Depending on how long it takes to sell your home, perhaps there won't be as much oil left. As the Somers stated, it is up to how you negotiate the sale with the buyer.

Good luck with your sale!

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
RE/MAX ACTION REALTY
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
http://www.reneeporsia.com
0 votes
Chris & Step…, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
The correct answer is what you and the buyer have negotiated as part of your agreement of sale. One of our Seller clients had just refilled his oil tank. He was on a fixed income and he asked for us to see if we could ge the buyer to reimburse him. In that case we negotiated that item as a credit at settlement. In a personal investment property we bought, the oil in the tank was included in the sale. Mind you there was not much in it but none the less there was no credit. People's personal circumstances dictate this particular credit. If you feel you can not afford to let this item go unaddressed then it is important to stand firm with your Realtor. Give them an opportunity to work it out for you.
0 votes
Edmund Choi, Agent, Paoli, PA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Heating oil can be either included, excluded or adjusted for the sale. It is customary and usual practice to include it in the sale, but there is no law governing how such an item should be conveyed at time of final settlement. Having said this and with the current market conditions, is it beneficial to create this potential objection for buyers?
0 votes
Terrence Cha…, Home Owner, Allentown, PA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Seeing that you are working with an agent now, anything I say should not be construed as giving you real estate advise. That being said, your agent is obviously not looking after YOUR interests. If your home is listed now, I would suggest talking with your agent and change the listing to note that the buyer will need to credit the seller for any fuel remaining in the tank if over X gallons or something along that line.

Or you could say, which would be much better, that the fuel tank will be filled with a full price offer. This would actually be seen as a bonus to the buyer.

In either case, talk to your agent further.

Terrence Charest
0 votes
Dennis Stran…, Agent, Huntingdon Valley, PA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
Tom...absolutely you should be compensated for the oil remaining in the tank. If you heated your home with natural gas, say from pgw, you would pay for usage. you have paid for the oil in advance and you haven't used it all. It would be like me paying my gas company in advance for 6 months of service and then not using the service and walking away. I am not sure what you negotiated in your sale, but you own the oil and even if you sold it to the buyer at todays price you would still get something for it. I am sure laws have changed in the last 20 years but personal property is not considered real property unless you agreed to include it in the agreement of sale for the property.
good luck and feel free to contact me with any future questions.
dennis@DennisStrange.com
267-767-8558
Web Reference:  http://www.DennisStrange.com
0 votes
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