Market Wise Q&A: When the Seller has Switched out the Appliances

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: My wife and I moved into our new home and found that the seller had switched out the washer and dyer. Our buyer’s rep did write in the offer “appliances per MLS” in the personal property clause of the contract. This is a little sleazy, but the agents involved are of no help. What should we have done? Include the brand, model and serial number of the appliances?


A: Yes! It’s been a sign of the times that agents, now more than ever, need to go back to the basics. Years ago it was common to write down the make and model of all appliances, fixed or portable. If it’s in writing, sellers will be less likely to play slight-of -hand with such large items. Plus, buyers should complete a written walk-through of the property one to three days before the property changes hands. Both agents should be communicating their expectations prior to a walk-through for the sake of avoiding surprises. Conversely, some sellers try to save a few bucks by not removing unwanted washers, dryers and refrigerators and the old freezer in the garage, later claiming, “Well, we thought it would be a nice gesture.”


by Pat Kapowich, owns Kapowich Real Estate in Cupertino. E-mail questions to him at