The Real Deal New York

When sellers leave their junk behind

Buyers should require clean up in contract

July 11, 2016 01:56PM

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Sometimes one man’s trash is another’s unwanted housewarming gift.

Sellers often leave behind possessions that are either too hard to move or simply unwanted — like clunky furniture, false teeth, a relative’s ashes and junk jewelry, to name a few examples provided by the New York Times.

“It seems to me that sellers always leave something, and buyers are usually appalled,” Halstead Property’s Gerard Splendore, told the newspaper. “They don’t see it as a windfall. They don’t want somebody else’s stuff.”

Buyers shouldn’t rely on the assurances of sellers that certain items will be removed before closing on the sale. Eva Talel, of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, said the contract should include specific requirements for what the buyer wants removed. It should also establish a cleanup timeline, especially when there is a lot to be removed such as during an estate sale.

“The estate needs to know the buyer means business and doesn’t want to find out 24 hours before closing that grandma’s stuff is still there,” Talel said.

Sometimes deserted items threaten to derail a sale. In one case, a seller of a pied-à-terre on West 53rd Street insisted that her art collection remain at the home. The deal nearly fell apart because the buyer didn’t share the art collector’s taste. Ultimately, the sale went through, but the broker, Deborah Goldzweig, of Engel & Völkers, was charged with selling the buyer’s least favorite orphaned piece, a statue of a woman in a bathing suit.

Of course, though rare, there are charming examples of items left behind, such as an antique mirror admired by the buyer of a co-op on Central Park South and a baby grand piano gifted to new residents in Trump Plaza. [NYT]  Kathryn Brenzel

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