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Negotiating Non-Typical Personal Property

Most Twin Cities real estate sales include the washer, dryer, refrigerator, range and dishwasher but more and more houses today have what I’d call non-typical personal property such as:

  • Huge flat screen tv’s mounted to the wall
  • Built-in surround sound
  • Projectors & screens
  • Home theater furniture
  • Pool tables
  • etc.

In most cases the cost to the seller for these items far outweighs their value today – used equipment on its own has diminished value and with electronics the value can decrease quickly as technology continues to change.  Buyers often would like to include some/all of this stuff with the purchase and often the seller does not want to have to move it or it won’t work in their new home anyways.  In these situations it makes sense to try and work out a deal.

The big difficulty comes in determining what a fair price for the personal property is versus the real property - meaning the house itself.  When you roll these additional items in to the negotiations you end up negotiating two different items at the same time and it can get very cloudy as to what the value of each truly is.  For example, a seller could spend anywhere $5k – $30k on a home theater setup with projector, screen, theater chairs, surround sound, receiver, custom wiring, etc.  When accounting for this value in a negotiation, what value do you give it?  In many cases the seller’s opinion of value can be substantially higher than the buyer’s.

Each negotiation is different but in many cases I recommend that the personal property only be added to the negotiations towards the end of the negotiation or are negotiated completely separate from the rest.  It’s a shame to lose a sale over items that can easily be replaced with a trip to a couple local stores!

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This website is a service of Aaron Dickinson of Edina Realty, a broker Participant of the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc.