May 7, 2018

Written by Larry Starbuck

(Curtain comes up as the family is standing in front of the homestead. Memory music is playing as the REALTOR® shows up for the listing appointment)

AHHH the proverbial rose bush!  A Mother’s Day gift from the children upon the announcement of the coming of the first grandbaby.  They’ve watched it grow from the time that Dad came close to having a cardiac arrest or at least an incident while digging the hole to plant it.  AND WE ARE TAKING IT WITH US! Seems like a reasonable request to me because I need the listing so we’ll just “reserve” it on the listing.  It’s not hard to do, you just check that box that reads, “Reserved Items”.

(Cheerful interlude music plays as we market the property for a few weeks and we hear a REALTOR® talking to a potential buyer)

It states on the MLS that there are “reserved” items so I’d like to go over paragraph 4 of the offer so you understand what is considered attached to the property.  You notice that there is no mention of refrigerators, washers, dryers, or curtains. These are normally the kind of items we are talking about the seller just wants to make sure, so they reserve them.  However, if there is an item you are concerned about we probably want to add it as an inclusion.  The buyers gleefully state they have all those items and they really love this home.  They go on and on about how they feel truly at home in this house.

(Serious classical music plays as on stage the REALTOR® writes an offer which is subsequently accepted by the seller and our next scene is the final walkthrough)

“Are you sure we are at the right house?  It doesn’t look the same!” exclaims the buyer.  Something just doesn’t feel right and finally they notice that the rose bush is missing by the front door. “Where is my rose bush?” cries the buyer.  “But we reserved the rose bush.” Responds the seller.  “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING and unless the rose bush is replanted the deal is off!” demands the buyer.  “Well WE’RE NOT LEAVING THE ROSE BUSH, so I guess the deal is off and we’re keeping the earnest money!”

(Funeral music plays as the curtain comes down and two REALTORS® look confused and angry at one another)

The melodrama is loosely based on a situation that happens all too often in real estate.  It’s known as the lack of communication.  While best case scenario is to have “reserved items” removed before marketing the property, it is not always possible.  When it’s not possible a clear explanation of the “reserved items” should be put in the REALTOR® remarks or on an attachment.   Buyers fall in love with the total package and changing one aspect of the property can affect how the whole deal looks and feels to them.  Most of us don’t like drama (with or without musical accompaniment) in a transaction; and a little simple communication can avoid most negative situations.


I was not an English or Drama major so there is no need to look for the errors in the story because I’m sure they are present.  However, I have been a REALTOR® for several years and we all know the drama presented above takes place.  It’s not always a rose bush but it can always be curtailed by good communication.  Disclosure is our friend and it also makes us friendlier REALTORS®.  Have a Fantastic Day!

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