Case Study: Briarcliff Manor Matrimonial Sale

Divorces are not the only complication in real estate sales. There are other factors that add a layer of paperwork, decision makers, and additional requirements from the agent or the clients. For example, a bank owned foreclosure involves a bank asset manager who might be out of state. An estate sale can involve executors, heirs, family members, and a trust and estates attorney. Corporate relocation adds a 3rd party.

This listing was the latter- a divorce and a corporate relocation. If the stress of the divorce was not enough, the relocation company added hard deadlines. Since New York is an “on or about” state, this made the transaction in a “time of the essence” category, which is rare in this area and considered rather hardcore, given all the moving parts.

The seller had been in contact with me about prepping their house for sale for years, long before I even knew that any estrangement was involved. When the listing finally did go live, the deadlines from the relocation company loomed large. We had enough on our plate without any issues with the buyers, but unfortunately the buyer agent was not an easy person to deal with. It came to a head when contracts were being prepared, and the buyer agent insisted that the washer and dryer should be included in the sale, despite not being listed as inclusions in the appliances, and certainly were obviously not permanent fixtures.
I wrote the following to the buyer’s attorney to resolve the matter:

I am attaching a copy of your client’s offer to purchase the aforementioned property and the MLS offering which does not include the washer and dryer. 

Ms Xxxxx, your client’s agent, insists that the washer dryer were included, despite their not being in the listing and despite her offer which stipulates specifically that the inclusions were “per listing.”

I am bringing this to your attention because we are being told that we should now include the washer dryer. For your volition, the “exclusion” section does not have to specify anything that is not screwed or glued, such as a stove, a chandelier, or other presumptive fixtures. Washers and dryers are chattel, not fixtures. They were not asked for in the offer. Not in the MLS, nor the purchase offer. 

We have a backup offer if this cannot be explained to your client. Their agent can then explain to them why her “per MLS” clause in their offer cost them the house, their inspection costs, their mortgage application and appraisal fee, and weeks of time.


Phil Faranda

The washer and dryer did not convey to the buyer.

The rest of the file was not exactly downhill, but with some solid collaboration from the seller clients with me (not with each other), we met the deadlines and got the closing across the finish line. The seller’s attorney was based in Manhattan, not Westchester, and that is often a nightmare, but this lawyer was quite responsive and on their game. I greatly appreciated their professionalism.

As I’ve often said, the sale of a home in a divorce is one of the biggest parts of one of the very hardest things to experience. A difficult agent or lawyer can magnify the stress. In this case, the lawyer was very good and the other agent was, for lack of a better term, neutralized after the trouble about the laundry appliances.

Each of the sellers started a new chapter in their lives post closing, and we remain in touch.

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