Fab Real Estate Blog: Yes, the Light Fixtures Stay with the House

Yes, the Light Fixtures Stay with the House

We had a home inspection this morning on a Danbury, Connecticut condo that my clients are buying.

We met the inspector outside and chatted for a few moments.  Then we walked into the home...

The refrigerator was gone, which was supposed to convey to the buyers.
The washer and dryer were missing, which were supposed to convey to the buyers.

Alright...maybe it was a mistake and the sellers forgot that these appliances were supposed to stay.

So we looked around some more...
The wall air conditioner units...all missing.  These were also in the contract as conveying to the buyers...
All the curtain rods were ripped out of the walls and big holes were remaining above each window.
The kitchen backsplash tiles...gone.  Ripped off the wall.
Bathroom mirrors?  Gone.

Bathroom mirrors?  Really?  Yup.

And, the clincher?  All the ceiling light fixtures were gone:  The dining room chandelier, the living room ceiling fan and the bedroom ceiling fans.  Loose wires were hanging from the ceilings.

So the phone calls began.
Called the listing agent who called the sellers who called their attorney.  Multiple phone calls with the listing agent trying to come to an agreement.

All the above will be returned/replaced over the weekend.  We'll be back on Monday to take another look.

The sellers are about to lose this home to foreclosure.  The bank has given them 10 more days to close it as a short sale.  We have given them this weekend to return the home to the condition it was in when we wrote the offer to purchase.  Otherwise the buyers will withdraw and the bank can have the home.

This will be interesting.

NOTE TO ALL HOME SELLERS:  Yes, the light fixtures are to remain with the home.  Anything attached to the home is considered a "fixture" and will convey to the buyers, unless otherwise agreed to in the contract.

Is your home for sale and there is something that you absolutely cannot bear to part with?  Then remove that item!


Comment balloon 64 commentsDon Fabrizio-Garcia • December 05 2008 10:07AM


It is interesting what sellers do in a time of crisis

Posted by Jean Powers, CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California (Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002) almost 10 years ago

Why would anyone being foreclosed on want to strip the house?  Blows my mind.

Posted by Valerie Springer, Home Loan Officer AL, FHA, VA, Conventional and Re (Benchmark Mortgage nmls 2143) almost 10 years ago

What you described is very typical on foreclosures, but not short sales.  At least your toilets and sinks were still intact. Many foreclosed people take those also. Anything that can be sold.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) almost 10 years ago

Wow....backsplash tiles?  now I HAVE heard it all....I had a seller (moving up to the "big" house) take the shelves out of the linen closet and the security windows......I thought that was crazy, but backsplash tiles beats that...

Posted by Pat Tasker, Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI) (Shorewest Realtors) almost 10 years ago

All the door knobs, all the plumbing fixtures, even the bathroom exhaust fans and all the items you mentioned were missing from a property I toured recently.  The banks don't seem to have any desire to get their properties back in good condition.  I wish you look in getting the property returned.  Let us know if it actually happens.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Valerie - resale of those items! They might get a measly few hundred bucks for them and that's more than they're getting out of the house!!

Don - Very scary story!  yikes! The backsplash tiles is a new one on me, hadn't seen that before!

Posted by Joel Weihe, Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits (Realty World Alliance) almost 10 years ago

Unfortunately there are a lot of "missing" things in homes these days - one seller was taking out his custom made misting system -- who knows where it will ever fit again. Just a sign of the times.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Reminds me of my worst inspection. The previous occupants had taken the all the sinks and toilets, all knobs from interior doors/drawers/cabinets, all light fixtures, all light switches and outlets, and even the kitchen countertop, which I guess I have to assume was granite. Wacky, really wacky.

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) almost 10 years ago

Backsplash tile takes the cake.  The sellers must be out of their minds, how would they think a buyer would close on a home that way?

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Jean - the stress of the short sale, plus their pending divorce, seems to have gotten the best of these sellers.

Valerie - they either wanted to use these items in their new homes or they wanted to sell them.  Being that there is also a divorce going on, my guess is that they each wanted to make sure the other one didn't get these things...the problem is, apparently neither of them read the contract they signed to see that they were all included in the sale.

Donna - on foreclosures out here, typically all the copper plumbing is removed, too, as that has a high resale value.

Pat - the back splash tiles being gone were a shock...they don't leave a pretty look on the wall when they've been ripped off...

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Cindy - with foreclosure properties, we walk in expecting the unexpected, expecting things to be missing.  But this was a short sale (if they don't close in the next 10 days, then the bank will foreclose).  Also, I've heard of owners being charged with theft (or is it vandalism?) for stripping their homes prior to the foreclosure. 

Also, it makes sense for the banks to sell homes quickly, as-is, rather than high out contractors across the country to perform repairs...

Sheree - We did have to laugh over the back splash tiles...

Bob & Carolyn - we actually checked for missing light bulbs and toilet paper holders.  I've seen those go "missing" in the past.  I guess these sellers did take the light bulbs with all the light fixtures...

Russell - My favorite was the foreclosed owners who took their kitchen with them.  Literally.  The counters, cabinetry, sink, appliances were all removed.  It was a colleagues listing.  I went out to help her value the home (they were trying to do a short sale).  A week later, their listing agent asked me to come take another look, because the entire kitchen had disappeared over night...

Maureen - my suspicion is that one of the sellers wants the home to foreclose, just to get back at the ex. 

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Don, it never ceases to amaze me what goes on in short sales.  I've had similar experiences and it can be very frustrating!  Good luck...get that deal closed!

Laura G 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) almost 10 years ago

Laura - we just had to laugh when we saw the kitchen appliances and back splash missing.  Then  I went and did an inventory of the rest of the home.  And then, I started making phone calls...  Those sellers have a lot of work to do this weekend!

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

It's unfortunate that this happens but it does.  I have my clients sign the mls and send it with the offer and in the offer i put all things listed on listing to stay.  It only helps when you call the attorneys.  How Unfortunate.

Posted by Quad Cities My RealTeam (Mel Foster Co.) (Keith Allen Allborty ) almost 10 years ago

I don't see them making repairs.  I'm very curious as to how this will all work out.  Bookmarked and waiting for Monday's update.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 10 years ago

Just as an aside, do you know if they're selling the home becuase of the divorce or are they divorcing because of their crumbling financials around that home?

Posted by Christopher Burgess almost 10 years ago

what a shame. this is funny and sad all at the same time. people are really hurting right now. i pray for a better year, this country has a whole lot of healing to do.

Posted by Benita Gottfried (New Vision Interiors LLC) almost 10 years ago

Fact is stranger than fiction and you just can't make this stuff up!  Backsplash tiles ... that's a good one!

Good luck .... curious to hear if they return everything.  I hope you close!


Posted by Diane Zorich (Weichert Realtors - Shoreline Properties) almost 10 years ago

Dude, that's gross! I swear, this world is going to the humans.  Hope everything works out for you.  Ralph 

Posted by Laraine Shape, Selling Cincinnati...one kitchen at a time (Comey & Shepherd Realtors) almost 10 years ago

WOW... The Life of a "Short" Salesman!

You can't even get this much suspense from an Alfred Hitchcock movie!

Good luck.

Hope it works out for you!

Posted by Gail Szeluga & JoAnna Siminerio, Fostering Community Spirit Through Real Estate (Weichert Realtors - Manalapan - Marlboro) almost 10 years ago

Wow, backsplash tiles?? That's the worst one I've heard!! I'm glad you got things figured out. Good luck!

Posted by Kristen Wahl, CBR (Re/Max Plus) almost 10 years ago

I would defnitely make sure that everything still WORKS if it is replaced- the lights are connected right, and how are they going to replace the kitchen tiles to make them look good. I'm betting they'll just put everything in a pile in the house and call it "returned."

Good luck getting this sale through.

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) almost 10 years ago

I have seen sellers do horrible things when being foreclosed on, but not when they are under contract. Hope all goes well for your buyer.

Posted by Debra Cain, Springfield Missouri Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

WOW!! The tile??? What were they planing to do with it? Return it to the store??

Some people... Good luck. Good thing your clients are understanding..

Posted by Nelya Calev (John L Scott) almost 10 years ago

did it close?

Posted by Jeanine Metts (Metts Group at Future Home Realty) almost 10 years ago

Hi Don,  Amazing !  Desperate times bring out desperate acts I guess.  I see a lot of this happening.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 10 years ago

UNBELIEVABLE!! However...I'm not shocked (as I should be). Nope...not shocked cuz the same thing has happened to me before...more than once. What are these sellers thinking?? I don't get it. In one case, the sellers had already moved to California. The listing agent bought my clients some appliances. YUPPERS!! She wasn't smiling, either. :-) Let us know what happens! GBU~

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves, Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) almost 10 years ago

WOW!!  What big fun you're having in real estate :~)  The back-splash tile is a new one on me.  How did they even intend to reuse tile with drywall stuck to the back?!  Amazing the things folks will do and the risks they will take for a few measly light fixtures.

Posted by Terri Visser, CRS - 12 Years Selling Central Oregon Real Estate (Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Quad - I had everything written out on the offer the sellers signed, indicating what items were included.  We also had the MLS photos which, for once, were very good and showed everything in detail.

Tammy - Once the husband heard what had happened, he showed up and we went through the whole place.  I gave him a list of issues to fix.  He says they will all be done.  I, of course, also have this all in writing with the attorney and the listing agent.  We'll see.  I think he may just take care of all this.

Christopher - I think the divorce and the pre-foreclosure may go hand-in-hand...

Benita - Yes, it is funny and sad.  That's pretty much how we looked at it at the time!

Diane - we're going back to check on Monday, and then we have until the 15th to close.  There are a lot of variables going on here, but we're going to give it a shot!

Ralph & Laraine - The way I see it, things can only get better.

JoAnna - I think you just called me "short."  How'd you know?!!

Kristen - hopefully this was the only hiccup we'll have to work through.

Linda - we're not going to get the back splash back.  The buyers are OK with that.  It's the appliances and the light fixtures that were the big issue.


Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Don, one word, WOW!  We have had similar experiences but never anything quite as drastic.  Best of luck in getting this resolved.

Posted by Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team (RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs) almost 10 years ago

Debra - this was unexpected.  I guess they never thought to even look at the contract.  I think they have other, bitter, things on their minds.

Nelya - I have no idea what they could have been planning with the tile.  I think they just wanted to make sure that they got it and not the ex, but that is just me assuming things again...

Jeannine - We're scheduled to close on 12/15 if the stars align.  We're going back on Monday to make sure everything is back and in the proper condition.

Bill - this was a shocking one because by going through with this sale, they are avoiding foreclosure.  I didn't expect them to strip everything out.

Elizabeth - unfortunately, most of us do not shock easily any more...we've all seen too much.

Terri - my exact words to my clients (and to most of my clients whenever things get a bit stressful:  "It's all part of the fun..."


Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Kris - we're thinking good thoughts that all will work out.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Desperate folks do desperate things at desperate times--Need I say more?  How bizarre.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) almost 10 years ago

This sort of thing just blows my mind!  How in the world do people think they can do this kind of thing and get away with it?  Did they think these people were just going to move in and say Oh well...  They need to be.....well I guess I need to do like that post from the other day and STAY CALM!  Ha ha...this wasnt even my deal and you got me going!

Good luck...hope it all works out for you and the Buyers.


Posted by Debbie Hutchins almost 10 years ago

Diane - I'm guessing they are desperate and stressed and just not thinking things through too carefully.

Debbie - I had no choice but to stay calm, since my clients were with me!  Several phone calls and refusing to back down, and we came to an agreement.  Now we just have to see if they stick to this agreement.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Don - A few years back, I ended up in a big argument with a listing agent who claimed that the porch swing wasn't "attached" (the hooks in the patio ceiling were).  I told him that his definition of attached and my own were different.  Under his logic, you would only have to leave the part of the ceiling fan where the pole attaches to the ceiling.  Ridiculous!  We got the swing back.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 10 years ago

my god what were they thinking..


Posted by Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I have yet to see a foreclosure home that hasn't been stripped off its appliances. I believe the main motivation for it is monetary. They can sell the appliances for cash or might need them in their new residence. From the seller's point of view - I can see why they would remove major appliances (despite the sales contract saying otherwise).

However, BACKSPLASH TILES??? Beats me!

I had a listing that went into foreclosure due to the bank and the owner not willing to cooperate with each other AND me. The owners took the pool cage down and sold it for scrap metal. Yes, they needed those $300 to buy food. They also removed all appliances. They purchased the home as a foreclosure and did a big remodel. The appliances were newer. Since the bank didn't want to cooperate, they figured they'd take at least the appliances. Not sure if they sold them or needed them for their new rental home.

Posted by TheMillsTeam YourSebringRealtors, 863-212-5441 (Advantage Realty #1) almost 10 years ago

You wonder, did they think you wouldn't notice?  Maybe they thought the buyer would just donate them because they were going through a foreclosure.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 10 years ago

I even had a seller take a toilet one time - YEP, the toilet!

Kim Daniel


Posted by Kim Daniel (Back In The Title Biz Full Time) almost 10 years ago

Great post Don,


We are seeing a tremendous amount of short sales occur and it is very common for the sellers to conduct midnight appliance raids.  The poor agents get stuck with a losing scenario where the sellers when asked if they have any knowledge of what happened .... just put up the wall of denial.

Keep up the great work.

Mike Ronnie Team Leader KW MC636

Posted by Keller Williams, Central Oregon Realty (Keller Williams Central Oregon Realty) almost 10 years ago

I once had a client who purchased a foreclosed home and when we did our walk-thru everything was gone including the kitchen sink and the batteries from the heater.

Posted by Blatt + Cutino, Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today* (Keller Williams Coastal Estates) almost 10 years ago

Don -

Had one a few years ago (foreclosure) where the occupants had hacked sawed the piping to the water heater, the pool pump and the pool filter and removed all three.

By the way, I love the new picture. The young ones really getting big.

Posted by Fred Pickard, Hershey, PA (Fred Pickard Innovations Realty Inc) almost 10 years ago

I couldn't imagine being in their situation, it must do crazy things to you.  I hope things are put back together how they were so this deal gets done for you!   Good Luck!

Posted by Jason Fleming (Jason Fleming Agency INC) almost 10 years ago

That is so terrible.  Bad karma for the sellers!!  What kind of person does that??!

Posted by Mindy Sylvester, Naples Fl Real Estate (MVP Realty) almost 10 years ago

Man o Man it is just starting and only going to get worse. People will and are doing anything to get a feww extra bucks.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) almost 10 years ago

Jason - it always amazes me how fixtures can become such a point of contention - and that many agents don't really know what is and is not a fixture.  The first thing I did when I saw things missing was to check the contact to make sure I added in the refrigerator, washer and dryer!

Andrea - this isn't a foreclosure, but rather it is a short sale.  If we don't close by 12/15, then the bank will foreclose.  I've heard some banks are filing charges against those that strip their homes prior to foreclosure...

Jack - Honestly, I don't know that they were thinking.

Mike - with short sales, it is doubtful the buyers will still close if the sellers strip the home.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Angelica - many foreclosure homes are in fact stripped, but usually prior to the foreclosure.

Fred - it is amazing what people will do prior to a foreclosure.  Thanks for the comment about the picture - that's my youngest, and he's 5 now.  Makes me feel old. 

Jason - we'll see on Monday if all is back in the home.

Mindy - yes, it is bad karma.  Hopefully they'll now make it right.

Charles - I think the stress of a pending foreclosure mixed together with a nasty divorce will do strange things to people...

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

It is unblievable that these items were removed.  What a headache this must have been for you. 

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker) almost 10 years ago

The removal of the lights and AC and appliances was expected, but the backsplash and bathroom mirror?! Good grief, that person has a screw loose or is desperate for any amount of cash... Very Strange??

Posted by Austin_Realtor (Betina Foreman) almost 10 years ago

Puts new meaning on the importance of a Walk Thru!  The last economic downturn I had a friend who bought a house who upon walk thru discoverd the WINDOWS GONE!!

Posted by Marcia Kramarz, CDPE,LMC,CBR (Re/Max Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

I have had them dig up rose bushes...What some people will do suprises me every tiem.  As soon as you think you have it all figuresd out, like 20 years into real estate....an new twist!

Posted by Ella Glover (Lubbock Homes) almost 10 years ago

Add that to the list of you won't beleive what happened today...I feel for the buyers and the sellers like down here in SW FL. are scared mad and confused...they see the makes getting bailed out but no one helping them...Best of luck with that tricky deal...

Posted by Tim Ludemann almost 10 years ago

Rebecca - Yes, it was unbelievable, but really it's just another day in real estate...

Betina - the light fixtures should not have been removed - they are fixtures and they automatically convey with the house.  The a/c units were listed in the contract as conveying, so they should not have been removed either. 

Marcia - I've yet to discover missing windows.  Something to look forward to!

Lubbock - I've seen bushes disappear.  That's usually something we can all work with and figure out a solution.

Tim - Hopefully it will all work out in the end.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Don, Wow, I have seen a lot of little things disappear when there was a question of personal property, but appliances and fixtures, this sounds like spite. I mean where do you store this stuff just to punish your bank. Good for the buyers not putting up with it, I would have walked too.

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) almost 10 years ago

Steve- I don't think the sellers were trying to punish the bank, since this was a short sale and not a foreclosure.  Rather, I think the sellers were trying to punish each other, since this was also a divorce situation.

The buyers would not stand for this, and I would not have allowed my buyers to stand for this.  I made some phone calls, and hopefully by Monday, all will be well.  We'll see...


Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

What you have experienced, most of us that have been in the industry for 20 or more years have seen the same....perhaps not the degree that you saw.

Last week, I had one that I have never heard of.  We went in for the walk the day before and something looked different in the backyard.  At first we could not figure it out....and then we said, OMG, there is a tree missing.  Not only was it cut down, it was taking down into the ground and dirt and grass was laid in its place.  What???? 


You may guess on this one.  It was the neighbors.  We called the police and they are handling the situation as this is beyond a civil case.   Not a good way to start off with the neighbors, but they are in deep trouble with the police.  Cop cars out....tape out....for a tree. 

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Tim - Yes, we've all seen this.  This was one exceptional because the home looked nearly perfect when we wrote the offer.  Since this isn't a foreclosure, we didn't expect everything to be ripped out of the home.

A seller of mine once took a very large rhododendron bush at the last minute.  She called me to tell me and we had some words...  Fortunately, it turned out that the buyers didn't want the bush anyway.  I thought I was going to have to go to the nursery...

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

UPDATE:  We took another look at the home last night.  The refrigerator, washer and dryer are all back.  The dining room chandelier is back.  The bathroom mirrors are back (actually, they bought new ones, and, fortunately, the buyers like them).

The washer was not hooked up correctly.  The ceiling fans are still missing, but the original light fixtures were put in their place.  None of the walls were patched where the curtain rods were ripped from the walls.

So, the big issues were taken care of (the appliances).  Now we just have these little issues to deal with.  It's never dull...

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

I have had sellers timber there land before it went into foreclosure. Its a mess when a divorce happens and neither one cares anymore.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) almost 10 years ago

Laura - it is pretty amazing what some people will do when facing foreclosure.  The sad part is, these sellers will avoid foreclosure if this sale goes through.  And, it looks promising at this point.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

"just to get back at the ex."


Ah ha!!!!! that's a wrinkle.  Divorce really, really makes real estate transactions more convoluted doesn't it?

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Maureen - divorces tend to make things difficult. Besides the animosity that may be present, you also then have two parties on the same side of the transaction who may or may not have different motives.

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

UPDATE:  The home closed.  All light fixtures and appliances were returned.  The home was cleaned up.  We were still missing the backsplash tiles, but the buyers saw this as an opportunity to install their own backsplash of their own choosing.

Happy Buyers.  Happy Sellers.  Another closed transaction!

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) over 9 years ago