Every Friday, RPMonline will feature a story from a property manager on the ground. This week’s story comes from Ted Hansen, principal of Southern Estates in Wollongong, NSW.
Many years ago I sold a house in Farmborough Heights (a suburb of Wollongong) for a delightful English couple. They had been in Australia only a couple of years and decided they missed their family too much and were returning to the UK complete with shipping container and all their worldly possessions.
The home was very well presented, the sale went smoothly, contracts exchanged and we progressed to settlement without incident.
I organised a final inspection with the buyers for the day before settlement and had been assured by the vendors the house would be vacant and ready for handover.
So...I arrived on the appointed day, met the buyers, walked to the front door with the key and opened the door to be confronted by a VERY vacant house. That is...no furniture...AND no carpets, light fittings, curtains or blinds and no stove. The house had been stripped bare!
It’s hard to know what to think when confronted by this, and the buyers with astonished looks over my shoulder.
In the days before (in the true sense of the word) mobile phones, I had a car phone. Leaving the buyers to their house shell, I ran back out to the car, phoned the solicitor to advise them and then chased around to find the vendors.
It appears there wasa different system in the UK at that time for vacating a house upon sale. Apparently, they take EVERYTHING and reuse it in the new house. And my vendors had done just that, to the point where they had just simply glossed over the contract stating inclusions to remain! Heaven knows how you reuse curtains, blinds and carpets! It was all packed into the shipping container.
To their credit, the vendors were mortified when I explained our system and the buyers' reaction. We renegotiated the settlement figures to reflect the changed circumstances and everything went through.
It’s a humorous memory now and the astounded looks on my buyers’ faces have remained a snapshot in time.