Does the seller get to keep the swimming pool robot vacuum?
QUESTION: I just performed a final walk-through with my buyers, and I noticed that the seller has removed the robot vacuum from the swimming pool. The Offer to Purchase and Contract (Form 2-T) clearly states that “all related equipment and remote control devices” concerning all of the items listed in paragraph 2(a) “are deemed fixtures and shall convey” unless specifically excluded in the contract. Does the seller have to return the pool vacuum to my buyers? It was a really cool robot!
ANSWER: The answer to a question like this can vary from case to case, but we believe it is likely in this instance that the seller should return the really-cool-robot-pool-vacuum, assuming it wasn’t excluded in paragraph 2(d). We believe that it is reasonable to argue that an item like this vacuum fits into the definition of “related equipment” to the “swimming pool.”
The fixtures list in paragraph 2 was extensively revised and reformatted last year. As you note, the phrase “all related equipment and remote control devices” now applies to all items on the list. In general, the contract contemplates that that the seller intends to convey many items of personal property as part of the real property transaction as long as those items are related to a listed fixture. Agents are therefore strongly encouraged to have detailed conversations with their clients — and cooperating brokers — about what items on or in the property should convey and what items should be listed as remaining the property of the seller. Setting expectations on the front end of a transaction will greatly reduce the risk of a conflict between the parties just before closing.
This article is intended solely for the benefit of NC REALTORS® members, who may reproduce and distribute it to other NC REALTORS® members and their clients, provided it is reproduced in its entirety without any change to its format or content, including disclaimer and copyright notice, and provided that any such reproduction is not intended for monetary gain. Any unauthorized reproduction, use or distribution is prohibited.