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June 18, 2012

5 Things Not Necessarily Included in Your Home Purchase

Syndicated — The buyer of a historic Victorian home in upstate New York fell in love with the gigantic antique mirror in the foyer. The mirror looked as if it were made for the space; it fit perfectly on the wall, and the frame matched the surrounding woodwork. In fact, the mirror was so large, the buyer said she "couldn't imagine it going anywhere."

And yet, when she bought the house and went inside, the mirror was gone. All that was left were some holes in the wall and the wallpaper behind it ripped and discolored where it was previously mounted. The buyer promptly called her agent, who told her the mirror was personal property and didn't transfer with the house.

This scenario plays out in some form or another all the time. In real estate transactions, there are gray areas when it comes to personal property. Some contracts spell out exactly what's to be left behind for the new owner, while others are vague.

Don't assume anything you see on the property comes with the house. If you intend to buy a home and there's something in particular you want, speak up early. Put your request in writing so that nobody is disappointed when the deal closes.

Here are five things that are often overlooked or not covered in a real estate transaction and that can lead to a dispute.

1. Appliances

You can't always assume the appliances will be included in the home sale.

There are norms and customs in every market, which is why it's important to work with a local real estate agent who knows the ins and outs. And surprisingly, it's not the norm everywhere to include all major household appliances, such as a refrigerator or dishwasher, with the property. Worse, even if appliances are included, they might not be what you bargained for.

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