Can I have the trampoline too?

That’s a picture of one of my clients enjoying her new (to her) trampoline. It cost just a little over $300,000. Included with the trampoline was a very nicely renovated and maintained 1,200 sq ft bi-level in St Albert.

Usually when you buy a house the offer to purchase has space for two types of chattels (i.e. stuff) – included and excluded. The simple rule for chattels when you buy a new home is this – if you can just unplug it and carry it off the buyer doesn’t get it. That’s why listing sheets include a list of included chattels (typically the appliances). There’s a grey area when it comes to articles like very nice front loading washing machines, expensive attached mirrors, built-in shelving, wall mounted TV’s and more fun goodies.

The best way to handle the situation is to list the chattels you want to keep. Don’t leave it up to the sellers’ whim if you’ll be disappointed if they remove the nice shelving unit or the trampoline. Two tips I’ve learned from investing; take a couple pictures when you view the property and on the offer write ‘as viewed on August 5th, 2011’ so there’s no doubt. The latter saved my clients some grief just last week when adding that line brought to light the fact that the sellers were planning to take the very nice front loader washer and dryer out and replacing them with the (still very nice but not quite as nice and not blue) builder-spec appliances from their new home.

But what about the non-standard chattels, like that trampoline in the picture?

First, don’t be greedy. This isn’t a chance to get a bunch of stuff for free. If you’re reaching, you’ll end up overpaying for the property and weakening your negotiating position.

Second, ask, but be wiling to hear a ‘no’. Sometimes sellers have sentimental attachment or have plans for the trampoline/shelving/TV etc at their new home. There’s a positive quirk of psychology that most people will feel bad for saying no, and be willing to give something else back in return.

Third, be polite. Compliment what they’ve done. I’ve always been most successful in getting stuff like trampolines when you spin the explination such that you flatter the sellers. Usually you want the item because it’s perfect for the room/yard/decor, or it’s unique. If people can get the price for the house they want, they’re often willing to throw in just about anything.

Fourth, document exactly what you’re asking for and the condition you’d like it in. There’s been a lot of good discussion lately about just what items are ‘attached’ and sellers often have a different idea of what attached means. I’ll extend that by saying that more listing agents should be putting exclusions on their listings (such as the wall-mounted TV and built in Bose sound system in my listing in Brintnell)

So next time you’re shopping, ask for something out of the ordinary. Chances are you’ll get a deal. Next time you’re selling, throw something in or leave something nice behind!

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