Unwanted Leave Behinds
Since beginning my real estate career in 2005, I have encountered many unwanted leave behinds in listings. They are brought to my attention by buyer agents on my listings and buyer-clients I represent doing final walk throughs. The latter I can report to listing agents and know they are not my responsibility to remove. The former often become my responsibility to avoid my seller-clients being charged unreasonable fees to pick up less than six paint cansm especially if they have already moved out of the area. My rule of thumb is simple, if it won’t fit in the trunk of my car, it is getting kicked to my seller-clients. And only one seller in all these years has required a junk removal fee. Not bad.
Paint cans and cleaners, toilet brushes and plungers are among the top items I remind sellers to get rid of as they move. If we get a communication from a buyer that they want paint cans and cleaners, great. Leave them. If not, get rid of them. And as far as my personal experience, no buyer wants toilet related products (outside of toilet paper on the roll) left behind. If there is a chance there is fecal matter on it, get a trash bag and dispose of it.
Recently, I was caught off guard by a buyer agent who flagged a coffin in the shed that needed to be removed from my listing the day before settlement. As I recalled, the seller had power to the shed. Were they talking about a coffin freezer? I reached out to the buyer agent and got clarification. No. It was a coffin, in the traditionally known shape of a coffin. However, he clarified it was small and light and should be easy to remove.
When I found it in the shed, standing about five feet tall, I hoped beyond all hope that it was made of lightweight plywood or balsa wood. Nope. It was going to be a two person job, only I was the only person there to move it. And naturally, it was one of the hottest days of summer. I hauled it out of the shed and used gravity of the downward slope of the back yard to get it started. Then it became a matter of hauling it to the curb. Oh the glamorous life of a real estate agent.
At that moment I heard the many voices of people I had encountered that had day dreamed of becoming a real estate agent with the phrase, “I really enjoy looking at houses. It must be so fun.” Really? How do you feel about hauling a sturdy Halloween coffin prop to the curb while in work clothes between appointments on a hot summer day? Too many times, being a real estate agent includes getting the dirty deeds done.
The coffin was truly the most bizarre unwanted leave behind I have encountered to date. And thank goodness for Facebook marketplace. Do you know how many people clammored for the free coffin? It was gone in fifteen minutes of posting after two dozen inquiries.
Bottomline for sellers is this: If you don’t want to be bothered moving it, odds are the buyers aren’t going to want it either. If you want clarification, alert your listing agent about items you wish to leave behind and see if they are indeed wanted by the buyers. If not, try giving it away on Facebook marketplace or taking it to the curb for trash pick up. Paint cans and cleaners will be considered hazardous waste and will require a special trip to the local landfill.