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Netter Real Estate Inc
Richard Bocchieri, Netter Real Estate IncPhone: (631) 848-0748
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What To Do When A Seller Leaves Personal Property Behind

by Richard Bocchieri 03/20/2018

When a house is sold, it’s generally expected that the seller will take all of their personal belongings along with them. This includes furniture, pictures, cleaning supplies, and appliances that weren’t included on the deal. This is all in the expectation that the buyer will have a clean property to move into. 

If a seller does leave personal property behind, what are the rights of the buyer? Buyers may wonder if they can move in and actually take possession of the home if belongings have been left behind. There are a few reasons that buyers may leave property behind including:

  • The item is actually a fixture and not considered personal property
  • The item could belong to a tenant (or former tenant)

In these circumstances, each state determines different rights and procedures that must happen in order for the property to be secured without hassle by the buying party.


What If There’s So Much Stuff It Impedes On Moving In?


In the case that a seller has left so many things that a buyer cannot even comfortably move into the property, the contract may be refused. If there’s an inordinate amount of furniture, trash, and personal belongings, you certainly have a good argument to not sign the final contract for the property. Your rights as a buyer do, however, depend on what exactly was written into the purchase contract for the home you’re buying. 

Hidden Items

If an item has been deemed hidden or buried, the buyers have a different circumstance on their hands. Many times, a buyer is obligated to hang onto these items for the seller. The items were not technically abandoned by the seller to the buyer. The buyer becomes what is called a “bailor,” or a keeper of the property, who needs to be an agent in the change of possession of the items.  

Possession Unknown

If the ownership of an item is unknown, the terms of the contract are held up. Standard contracts generally state that any items left behind by the seller have been forfeited to the buyer. If the contract says nothing about personal property, the buyer generally takes on the role of “bailor” again in this instance.

If The Property Owner Has Died Or The Property Has Been Abandoned


If a property has been abandoned due to foreclosure or bankruptcy, or the property owner has died, any personal property that is left behind is a bit more of a risk for both parties. These circumstances generally state that a buyer will be taking on a property “as is” and essentially anything left is the buyer’s problem. 


If a property owner has died, the executors generally take on the responsibility of removing items from the property to be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. Occasionally, this process doesn’t work out due to family quarrels. In this case, personal property of the seller goes into the category of forfeiture. 

Personal property is just one reason why you need to understand your legal rights when you’re buying a home.

About the Author

Author
Richard Bocchieri
Welcome to Long Island Living at its best! The South Shore of Suffolk County is a suburban area that runs along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. Homes in this area consist of primarily residential properties. This area tends to be diverse in culture and income as it varies by hamlet, village or town. Residents along the South Shore have access to many beaches, parks and recreational activities. I pride myself on my honesty, integrity, hard work and personal service. My first career was in education, starting as a teacher then finishing as a guidance counselor and achieving my Master’s and two PD's. In 1986, I began my real estate career. In a sense, I am still an educator and offering guidance; this time I am outside of the classroom educating my clients on the selling and purchasing processes; which have become so complicated recently and guiding them safely through the confusing and ever-changing real estate market. It is very satisfying to me to help people with not only the greatest financial asset in their lives but their greatest emotional asset; where they celebrate holidays, raise their families and live their lives. I take the needs of my clients very seriously and as a result, I am proud to say, over 90% of my sales are the result of referrals and recommendations. Primarily, my areas of service are the Townships of Babylon and Islip on Long Island’s beautiful South Shore, near pristine beaches and wonderful boating, yet only 55 minutes from Manhattan; truly the best of both worlds. I'm a graduate of the Real Estate Institute and am certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist. I also hold a license as a Notary Public. Please feel free to call or visit so I can help you fulfill your real estate dreams. I am a Full Service Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker and provide the following: Free appraisal Rental Mortgages International relocation services Sales Home warranty New homes Free school report Water front specialist Notary public Please feel free to call or visit so I can help you fulfill your real estate dreams. Click Here for a few of my current Listings: http://tours.tourfactory.com/results.asp?u=114062&p=1 Click here to see all of my success stories in 2017: Click Here for a Free E-Guide: Millennials and Homeownership Click Here To See My 5-Star Reviews on Zillow: Testimonials Click Here for the 2019 Winter Buyer Guides & Tips - Complimentary Click Here for the 2019 Winter Seller Guides & Tips-Complimentary