Selling house furnished- when is right time to discuss pricing?

PipdogNovember 3, 2013

Our house has been on the market one week. We're moving to a home with an entirely different style (from a cottage ranch to a mid century modern) and we'd like to sell the majority of our furniture/rugs/window treatments with our current home.

Our agents have apparently been telling people at the open houses that the furniture may "be available for purchase", and they are requesting that we put a list together of items with their price. I put a list together of all the items for sale, but I am concerned about giving it to my agents. I'd prefer to wait until the contingencies have been removed or close of escrow to discuss buying furniture. If they don't want to buy it we could sell it at an estate sale or on Craigslist.

However,my agents have asked me three times now for the price list and they seem frustrated that I won't give them this information. I'm concerned that the negotiations over the furniture might distract from the negotiations of the purchase price of the house and could affect those negotiations. I disagree with their strategy of providing a "price list" to potential buyers this early in the game.

When is the right time to discuss pricing for the furniture/items?

This post was edited by pipdog on Sun, Nov 3, 13 at 12:25

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think if you wait til later there is more chance of pissing off buyers if you seem unreasonable with pricing or take time to get back to them. You do not want a chance to upset them after they are wanting the house. You don't want the distraction of furniture negotiations to sour the home purchase.

Pricing too high up front could also turn people off, but they can easily decide just to not buy the furniture so the price is not too big of an issue when they see it up front.

The furniture would have to be a "deal" price or else people could just go buy new or even used off Craigslist themselves.

I have seen something like "furnishings available for x dollars with purchase of the house"

It seems unlikely buyers would want all furnishing. If they want any, they be more likely to pick and choose. So I see your agent's point of wanting prices up front rather than having to wait for answers later.

I would want the buyers to be attached to the home itself, then the furnishings are more of a choice based on if price is worth it.

In buying houses I have asked for a piece of furniture, and a stained glass window hanging over a window. Both times the seller said no. But I asked since the piece was so perfect in that spot.

There is also a possible issue in that a bank will unlikely loan any $ towards furnishings. So I have seen contracts say "furnishings conveyed at no value" (this was only for nice bar stools worth under 1000$, but the loan officer required that sentence). The realtor is selling a house, not the furnishings. So in most parts of the country this is not common.

Best of luck.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is best to use a "Bill of Sale" to conduct the sale of the personal property. Sometimes even the statement "Personal property to be conveyed at no value", will cause the underwriter major problems because they know darn well that it is not true... they know the value of the furniture is in the contract price. So best to just leave it off the contract entirely and use the Bill of Sale.
I can actually understand the OPs anxiety about discussing prices of the furniture before negotiating the price of the home. After all, if there is not going to be a furniture sale if they can not agree on a contract price. And, if after the contract is signed, they do not like the price quotes for the furniture, it is highly unlikely that the buyers would terminate a contract over that.

This post was edited by ncrealestateguy on Sun, Nov 3, 13 at 18:45

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It does probably depend on the area. In our resort area, many properties are sold with furnishings as part of the sale -- nothing unusual about it especially with second homes. I've never seen or heard of an item by item price list upfront, although occasionally in a developer spec construction you might see "furniture package included for an additional $X." Otherwise, there are typically two types of listings involving furniture. The listings that state "furnishings included" mean that the listing price includes the furniture. These listings may also state that there are some exclusions and the list of excluded furnishings is included in the listing or provided upon request. The other common listing will state "furnishings negotiable" meaning that the furnishings are not included in the listing price, but that the seller is willing to entertain offers which include certain (or all) furnishings.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you had a discussion with your agents asking them why they think it's critical to have a detailed price list at this stage in the game? What is their response when you express concern about furniture negotiations potentially derailing price negotiations on the sale?

As a buyer, if I were interested in furnishings I'd want that separately negotiated from the sale price of the house. And I'd then approach it just like buying used stuff off CL.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 6:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agree with underwriters having heartache when personal property is a part of the sale. We worked a lot of the owners furniture into the deal a few years ago. It slowed things down and we finally did a Bill of Sale agreement and made a statement in the offer that household items included in the sale were de minimus. It caused some heartache and almost killed the deal.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My instinct would be exactly the same as yours -- I would want to keep the house price separate. [Kind of like how you're supposed to negotiate separately when buying a car for the purchase price and the financing and trade-in value.] That said, I don't have experience buying or selling like this -- I agree that it would be worth asking your agents why they think it's so important. And you can always agree or disagree with their advice -- I think it's fair to assume that not all agents are created equal when it comes to price negotiations.

Maybe you can give them a range that you have in mind? I'd expect potential buyers to want a deal on furniture. (I definitely value my furniture more than anyone would want to pay for it.)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pip, what furniture will you use in the new house after you have sold the current furniture? From my own recent experience it isn't easy finding the perfect piece in a store that can be purchased and delivered immediately. Anything you order will probably take at least 3 months ... I take much longer than that to actually make a decision on what I want to buy, so it could be 6+ months before I get a piece! How long did it take you to complete the interior of your current house? Are you prepared to live without major furniture pieces for a while?

On a normal sale (not a vacation home market) you will not get much for the furniture. Buyers will probably negotiate the price of the house first and on that last counter offer they will add in the furniture at the last minute. Even if they love the house, they will then be pissed off that they aren't getting the furniture for free ... human nature! Don't muddy the waters.

I would not mention anything about furniture until you have an offer that is legally binding. Then negotiate separately.

I just read about an Estate sale company in LA, whose owner is a character, but has a great reputation. The article said she keeps 30% of sales.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have the personal property left out of the house sale .... don't even mention it in the contract.

Sell furnishings separately by a separate bill of sale.

Our agents have apparently been telling people at the open houses that the furniture may "be available for purchase", and they are requesting that we put a list together of items with their price.

I'd be really annoyed if agents didn't have my permission in advance so everyone is on the same page of the price list.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks, everyone. My agent warned me that we wanted to keep the furniture out of the contract and negotiate that separately, so I'm not sure why it is now important to have a price list this early in the game, when there are not even any offers. I agree that we should not "muddy the waters" of the more important negotiation for our house. I frankly feel like all of this is premature and I'd rather focus on getting offers in, rather than pricing furniture, which can be done later down the road as we need a 45-60 day escrow period since we are remodeling our new home.

weedyacres, I haven't discussed my concerns with our agents as they had our house open all weekend and we've been out of town and just returned, but I plan to discuss with them and let them know that we'd like to hold off on providing a price list at this point.

chispa, thankfully we have some furniture in our new house left over from the old homeowner that we'll use in the interim. We're ok with living with out a few pieces for a few months while we bridge the gap. Frankly, I just don't want to move this stuff as it does not go at all with our new house style, and I know we will be getting rid of it eventually. We are only keeping our piano, our personal belongings, electronics, kitchen appliances/accessories and artwork. Pretty much everything else we either want to sell to the buyer or sell on Craigslist. I'd do an estate sale, but it seems like those companies take quite a bit of profit!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pip it's likely people looking at your house fall in love not only with the house but the entire package because it's such a striking home. I still wouldn't price pieces until you have a solid contract on the house, though. I'd bet people have asked about it at an open house or a showing and that's why the realtors are saying it "may be available".

You may have to interview a lot of estate sale companies and be willing to present other terms if you aren't happy. A friend just sold the entire contents of their home and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g but their clothes and family photos. They didn't keep a singe dish or pot/pans, not a spatula, no art - nothing. It's the second time they've done that! They negotiated a good rate that included full clean out so they wouldn't be left with anything to do but shut the door.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

dlm, wow, I couldn't sell everything like that! I have original art that I love and I don't find them easily, so I wouldn't sell them off. I'm not into cooking and most of the tools are things my mother (who loves to cook) made me buy ... I would hate to have to go through the hassle of stocking up a kitchen again.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 11:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How did you negotiate the furnishings when you closed on your new home?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 6:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You've got to at least have some sort of price, but there really aren't that many people looking to buy furnishings with a house unless it's a resort area. Remember that you will take a really big hit on the contents if you go either estate sale or craigslist, so don't overprice yourself into moving it all into storage!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks all for the input. ncrealestate, the furnishings were just left there as it was a trust sale. we didn't negotiate.

So, we received our first offer! But the buyer wants the house AND all the furnishings and is not offering any more than asking price. We under priced the home slightly to prompt a bidding war, so the offer is actually a little lower than what we anticipated.

If we do counter, we are going to insist that the furniture be a separate, later negotiation.

This post was edited by pipdog on Wed, Nov 6, 13 at 11:33

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want a bidding war, I hope your agent is good at the art of foot dragging, w/o crossing over the line of pissing off the current buyers. Also, your agent should be emailing/calling every agent out there that has already shown the home and letting them know that he/she thinks it may go under contract soon.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Muddy waters indeed. The option to purchase furniture should not have been mentioned until you had a legally binding contract. Worth trying to negotiate ... a bird in the hand ...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When we bought our house, a year ago (Florida), all the furnishings were for sale. Each piece had a price tag on it. Every mirror and even light fixtures. I found the whole thing confusing but ignored the furnishings as we had our own and weren't interested.

Our Realtor said the owner was moving to a condo in Calif. and did not want to move anything. We liked the house but not the furnishings. The owner traveled frequently and did have some interesting pieces but I felt they were over priced. There was no one to negotiate price with as our Realtor had no interest in dealing with the furniture.

The house had many showings, was on the market for over a year until she lowered the price. We saw the house numerous times and made offers on it over the year. We finally bought it but were not interested in the furniture.

It was empty when we moved in.

Maybe you should do the same thing. Put prices on the items and leave it that way. If they want the house and some furniture they would have their Realtor send the info off to you.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 10:05PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Happy story: my sis just bought her first house
Just thought I'd share a happy story! My sister's been...
robo (z6a)
Home Buyers Please Vote: Would you rather ...
1. A $2,000 kitchen appliance allowance or any stainless...
Home sellers: Terrible experience with realtors?
Hi there, I'm getting ready to sell my house and need...
Lady Realtor coming to house at 6:30pm and its dark outside?
I was looking up homes for sale around me on trulia...
Should we buy a home that was unoccupied for 6 years?
There is a cup-de-sac where a builder built 5 homes,...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™