It happens time and time again – a home seller skim reads the Realtor’s listing agreement and purchase contract and doesn’t pay attention to the pages of small print. Here are the five blunders I see home sellers in Austin making that they could easily avoid:

1. The window coverings stay with the house. This might sound kind of obvious, but in some foreign markets I’ve seen people taking the wall to wall carpeting with them as it wasn’t included in the contract. I’ve been to a few closings were the buyers have done a pre-closing walk-through and discovered that the sellers have taken down curtain rods and even blinds, and taken them to their next home. This leads to panic, delays and hasty reparations – not what you want to happen on the day of closing.

This section in the Texas Real Estate Commission’s promulgated “One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale)” covers what conveys with the house:

The following described related accessories, if any: window air conditioning units, stove, fireplace screens, curtains and rods, blinds, window shades, draperies and rods, door keys, … entry gates, and (iv) other  improvements and accessories.

2. The washer, dryer and fridge do not generally convey with the home unless they are included in a separate non-realty items addendum to the purchase contract. Again, there’s a section in the purchase contract which describes “permanently installed” items. In layman’s terms this means, “if it’s not screwed on, it isn’t included in the sale”:

..permanently installed and built-in items, if any: all equipment and appliances, valances, screens, shutters, awnings, wall-to-wall carpeting, mirrors, ceiling fans, attic fans, … mounts and brackets for televisions and speakers, heating and air-conditioning units, security and fire detection equipment, wiring, plumbing and lighting fixtures, chandeliers, water softener system, kitchen equipment

So unless your washer, dryer and fridge are built in, they convey, if not, they are a negotiable item and have to included in a specific form to stay at the seller’s home after closing.

3. All light fittings / ceiling fans convey with the home. This is another case of the permanently attached staying with a home. So if you have a favorite family heirloom set of curtains, and a hand-made light fitting made by your dead Uncle Bert, if you want to hang on to them, take them down before showing the house, or include them as specific exclusions in the purchase contract.

4. TV mounts attached to the wall do convey with the home. This one isn’t always obvious, but a flat panel TV on a wall mount does not convey (though it is attached to the wall mount) but the wall mount does (as it’s attached to the house).

5. The seller has a contractual deadline for providing a survey affidavit. In the purchase contract, there are subtleties regarding who pays for a survey if  the current one isn’t acceptable to the buyer’s lender or title company. However, if the seller fails to get a copy of the survey and an affidavit (known as a T-47) saying that the survey is still accurate to the title company within the time specified, then the seller is liable for the cost of a new survey. The affidavit does require signature by a notary – this could be one at the title company or one at your business / local bank for example. So dig out your survey before you put your home on the market, and get a T-47 from your listing agent, and get it notarized.

These are just some of the seller pitfalls that are easily avoided when you work with an experienced Austin real estate agent who can guide you through the process. Call 512 215 4785 to talk about selling your home smoothly.


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