"Sure, you can have that planter box!" "We'd love for you to keep the BBQ". "I promise this will all be cleaned up by the time you move in". These are only some of the things that I've heard buyers and sellers say in a real estate transaction without getting it in writing. I can't tell you how many times, probably in just about every transaction I've had, where the buyer or the seller has made verbal agreements to something pertaining to the transaction. Now, I'm not saying everybody is going to cheat the other party, but if it is not in writing, the party making the agreement does not have to stick to their word at all. It will not hold up in a court of law.
Sellers can say all they want including that they will cleanup something, leave a personal property item, or just about anything but if it is not in writing in the contract, the legally don't have to do anything. Sure, people think that their word is their bond, but this is just not true when it comes to real estate transactions. If the seller promises to clean up a certain area or leave it a certain way, make sure you get that in writing and have both the seller and the buyer initial the agreement.
This is not to say that you can put anything in the contract because you really can't. It just comes down to making sure that both buyer and seller agree on it and it's in writing. Judges will only uphold things that are written into the contract and both signed off on.
Read More: The Easiest Way to Lose a Buyer
Plus, sellers may not know what they are agreeing to and they may do things illegally. For instance, many homeowners don't realize that the drapes and window coverings are part of the sale. They will often take them with them in which case the buyer will need to go back to the seller and say, this is part of the transaction and these items need to be returned.
If there is something specific my buyer wants on the property, they might want to make sure that it remains intact or on the property when closing. For instance, I recently had a buyer that love to these large potted plants that were in the backyard. There was nothing about it on the listing and so the buyer asked if the seller would leave these items. The seller didn't have to leave these because they are not permanently attached to the property but because the buyer didn't want to risk losing them, we wrote them into the contract so that they remain on the property at closing.
As a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.