The Pitfalls of Including Personal Property in a Real Estate Purchase Contract

The Pitfalls of Including Personal Property in a Real Estate Purchase Contract

  • Kelli Ide
  • 09/11/23

The Pitfalls of Including Personal Property in a Real Estate Purchase Contract in New York State

When selling or buying a home in New York State, the terms of the real estate purchase contract are of utmost importance. One common issue that can lead to complications and disputes is the inclusion of personal property in the contract. While it might seem convenient to bundle personal belongings with the sale of the house, doing so can pose significant challenges for both sellers and buyers. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why including personal property in a real estate purchase contract in New York State is not a good idea.

  1. Ambiguity and Misunderstandings:

One of the primary concerns with including personal property in the contract is the potential for ambiguity and misunderstandings. Personal property can vary greatly in value and might not be easy to identify explicitly. Without a clear and detailed list, both parties may interpret the inclusion differently, leading to disputes over what is meant to be part of the sale.

  1. Appraisal and Financing Issues:

Including personal property in the contract can also create appraisal and financing challenges. Lenders typically assess the value of the real estate, not the personal belongings. As a result, if the contract includes a significant value for personal property, it might not align with the appraiser's assessment, potentially jeopardizing the buyer's ability to secure financing for the agreed-upon amount.

  1. Tax Implications:

Including personal property in the purchase contract can have tax implications for both the buyer and the seller. In New York State, real estate transactions are subject to transfer taxes, and these taxes are typically calculated based on the property's sale price. By inflating the sale price with personal property value, both parties might find themselves paying higher transfer taxes, which could lead to unnecessary financial burdens.

  1. Potential Legal Issues:

Incorporating personal property in the contract can invite legal complexities. Real estate law in New York State is designed to protect both buyers and sellers. Including personal property can create uncertainties regarding what is legally binding and what is not, which might lead to legal disputes in case of disagreements.

  1. Additional Documentation and Administration:

When personal property is part of the contract, additional documentation is required to detail the condition and value of each item. This can significantly increase administrative burdens for both parties, as they will need to establish a separate agreement for the personal property, conduct an inventory, and possibly involve third-party professionals to assess the items' worth.

  1. Slower Negotiations and Closings:

Negotiating the inclusion of personal property in the contract can slow down the overall process. Sellers and buyers might spend more time haggling over the value and condition of personal items, diverting attention from essential aspects of the sale. As a result, the closing process could be delayed, inconveniencing both parties.


While it might be tempting to include personal property in a real estate purchase contract in New York State to simplify the process or make the deal more attractive, doing so can lead to numerous complications and risks. It is best to keep personal property and the sale of the home separate, providing a clear and straightforward transaction for both the seller and the buyer.

As always, it is advisable for both parties to seek professional advice from a qualified real estate attorney or agent who can guide them through the complexities of the transaction and ensure a smooth, transparent, and legally sound process. By understanding the potential pitfalls of including personal property in the contract, sellers and buyers can protect their interests and enjoy a hassle-free real estate transaction in New York State.

Kelli Ide is a professional real estate agent in the Finger Lakes who offers a unique, concierge-style approach, including staging, photo styling and market preparation services exclusively for clients to give them an edge over the competition.

For further information about buying or selling a home in New York's Finger Lakes region, visit





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