This morning, while sitting in my office doing my daily MLS Hot Sheet study, I noticed a new listing. In the first line of the remarks section it read "Front screen door does not convey". Now what the heck is that all about? You mean I can buy your house but you won't leave the screen door? Well OK then, I think I'll go look at one of the other 300 similar homes instead. Can you picture a Buyer or their REALTOR® reacting like that? I can.

As a listing Broker, I firmly believe placing "take away" remarks, in a listing, is a huge error on the part of the REALTOR®. It's my opinion that this is "taking away" something of value, from the Buyer, before they even have a chance to look at the property. Buyers do not like the "take away". It starts the entire home buying process off in a negative way. If the Seller does not want to leave the front screen door or anything else in or on the property, then they need to remove it, PRIOR to placing the property on the market. Remove it, replace it and get it out of sight.

The remarks in a listing should be completely positive...not false...but positive. No "take aways".

I met with a potential Seller, last year, who had a beautifully landscaped yard with many large rocks. I'm talking LARGE rocks. He and his wife collected these rocks from their travels in the mountains. They had emotional value to the Sellers but also added a great touch to their landscaping. The rocks really made the yard stand out. A potential Buyer would have been put off by the fact that the Seller was not going to leave them.

When I met with these Sellers, they spent about an hour with me, going through the yard, telling me which rocks they would leave and which rocks they wanted to "take away". Then they proceeded to tell me which trees they were taking with them. By the time they were finished "taking away" their beautiful yard would have looked like a land mine field. One of their biggest value adders of the property was the landscaping. Even though in their minds, they were figuring this beautiful landscaping into the value of their property, they were "taking away" what they had already added in. You just can't do that.

Well, I had to pass on that listing. I had no clue how to write all this up in the MLS. I guess I could have placed little red flags everywhere with signs attached that read "this doesn't convey with the house" but this would have certainly turned a Buyer off. Not to mention all the confusion at the final walk through trying to figure out if the right rocks and trees were left. What a potential mess this would be. So, I did the smart thing and took my services elsewhere.

Now, this was obviously an extreme case but I'm sure y'all run into these "take aways" frequently.

  • "The chandelier doesn't stay."

  • "The ceiling fans don't stay."

  • "Oh no, the drapes don't stay."

  • "The garage door opener doesn't stay."

  • "The wife stays" Well....OK maybe not this one!

Folks, Sellers need to remove and/or replace "take aways" PRIOR to placing their property on the market. If the Buyer sees these things they will want them. These are attachments and are a part of the property. You can't start taking the house apart to sell it. If you do, your potential Buyer may very well take his offer away.

As listing Brokers, it's our job to make sure our Sellers know this. Don't just agree with them and add a "take away" remark in the MLS. By doing this you could be costing your Seller a sale. Or maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?

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Kristen Tutas

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