Trick or Treat: The Oddest Contingencies Sellers Are Requesting

Posted by Cary W Porter on Thursday, October 29th, 2020 at 10:32am

Some home sellers are requesting odd contingencies—from maintaining the wardrobe of a plastic skeleton at the front door to caring for their family pets—before they’ll accept an offer.

Contingencies typically involve obtaining financing or fixing issues discovered during the home inspection. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that sellers, who have the upper hand in the market, are feeling emboldened.

“I’m selling a house right now that is being sold with the cat,” Eli Karon, a real estate professional with Karon Properties in Santa Cruz, Calif., told the Journal. The cat has lived there for three years, and the owners don’t want to relocate him. The property attracted six offers and is currently under contract.

In Philadelphia, a homeowner who has hung a fake skeleton outside of her front door during all seasons is making the sale of her home contingent on keeping the tradition alive. The owner swaps out the skeleton’s clothes frequently, so the buyer must agree to continue to do so. The owner got her wish: A buyer has agreed to continue dressing the skeleton in order for the sale to move forward.

In Chicago, real estate pro Jamie Lemmons told the Journal she sold a home in which the retired owners requested the ability to continue visiting the backyard to pay their respects to their late golden retriever, Buffy, who was buried there. In the contract, the real estate lawyer added an addendum saying the sellers could visit the yard Sundays between noon and 2 p.m.

Real estate pros have come to realize they may face some offbeat requests in emotionally charged transactions. “So long as it isn’t harming anyone, I don’t see why not,” Sabina Dinescu, a real estate professional with Douglas Elliman in Pinecrest, Fla., told the Journal. She recalled selling a house last year for a widow who made the sale of her home contingent on the new buyer keeping her husband’s ashes in a partitioned area behind the master bedroom’s closet. The buyer agreed.

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