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Merriam : Real Estate Advice

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Tue Mar 2, 2010
Don Tepper answered:
Check with your Realtor. And what does your contract say?

I'm not a lawyer, so what follows is not legal advice. For that, you need a lawyer.

Window coverings tend to be sticky issues, often debated in situations like yours.

Did your contract specify that the dog pen, tree house, microwave, curtains and rods, and windmill stay? Or did they specify that the sellers could remove them? That's the first thing to consider.

It could be argued that the dog pen and tree house are fixtures, and should stay (unless the contract specifies otherwise.)

As far as the microwave, I've seen that happen with appliances. The contract specifies that the house comes with a refrigerator, or stove, or (in your case) a microwave. It doesn't specify an exact refrigerator (make, model, serial number). It just says refrigerator. So I've heard of people replacing their nice, new, expensive refrigerator with a lower-quality used refrigerator.

Just because the items were physically there when the contract was signed doesn't mean much if anything. What matters is (1) how your local area defines fixtures, and what stays and what goes (in some areas, typically appliances convey; in other areas, they don't); and (2) what your contract says about what stays.

Again, check with your Realtor.

Hope that helps.


P.S. Taking the dog pen and tree house? Haven't heard of that before.
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Tue Jun 24, 2008
Patti Pereyra answered:
Hi Danny,

I'm a bit confused by your question.

A final walk-through typically occurs the day of closing.

Initial earnest money is paid at the acceptance of a contract, with an increase totalling the sum of earnest money offered in the contract typically paid within a day or 2 after the completion of attorney review.

Therefore, I'm confused as to why you would be wondering about earnest money due at your final walk-through.

Did I misunderstand your question?

Now, as to the part of your question I think I understand: Typically, at a final walk-through, the premises should be in broom-clean condition and ready for occupation by its new owner. In cases where there is stil debris and personal belongings, it is not uncommon for your attorney to request that a sum of money be held in escrow until the premises is in satisfactory condition.

Now, a final walk-through typically takes place the day of closing, right before the closing. If your walk-through has already taken place, it sounds like it has taken place a day or 2 before the closing? In that case, the sellers still have time to remove their belongings since the house is still techinically theirs; however, if the final walk-through was agreed-upon for this date, your attorney may still request a sum of money be held in escrow to ensure that no damages occur upon move-out. You may also want to take a final FINAL walk-through an hour or 2 before closing, which is more typical.

If it is the day of closing and it is impossible for you to move in your belongings, well then, that is a different story. In that case, the seller has until the completion of closing to remove everything and have it cleaned and ready, or he will be in default, and may have to pay post-possession penalties to you.

Whatever the situation, this is something you should definitely discuss with your real estate attorney.
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