Southwest Florida is the land of turnkey furnished real estate sales. It’s common to close on a property and have the ability to walk into it carrying a bag of groceries and a toothbrush and spend the night without needing to purchase any other conveniences.
What’s not to love? You don’t have to spend weeks shopping, decorating or meeting delivery people. Someone has already done it all for you. As a matter of fact, they’ve employed exquisite taste and shopped for the most refined goods at stores of the highest caliber.
The convenience factor is great in theory but the reality of purchasing a turnkey furnished home or condo is that sometimes the furniture that’s been left behind has seen better days. Sometimes it’s questionable if there could have been better days even when it was spankin’ new.
Explaining to a seller why their furniture doesn’t add appraisable value to their home or increase their list or purchase price is often interesting. The overwhelming majority of the time, dollar for dollar doesn’t come back on furniture or cars. It just doesn’t. If the furniture was purchased the day before yesterday it’s worth pennies on the dollar even if the person that buys your home likes it. It’s used furniture.
If the home was a former model, the operative word is “former.” The cult siren, Bettie Page, was a former model, but there came a time when she quit modeling swimsuits and lingerie. Every era comes to an end and it may be time to acknowledge that your sofa is a gold chain and a red Corvette away from being too old to be at a techno club.
A few days ago, I helped a buyer land a former model as their Florida getaway home. It came complete with furniture and décor from the era of big hair, shoulder pads and Members Only jackets. This furniture, as in so many other furnished homes, was left “as a convenience to the seller.”
The furniture was not part of the purchase price. It is not part of the value of the property and is not included in the mortgage, nor can it be. Even if it was remotely attractive furniture it still wouldn’t be considered as part of the value. Neither would the golf cart in the garage or the clothes in the closet.
Pie eyed buyers will stare at a room full of furniture about as current as stirrup pants and ask, “How much is it worth without the furniture?” The answer is that it’s the same as with the furniture. Like it or not, the furniture comes with it and it’s probably going to cost a small time investment to put it on Craigslist or Freecycle just to liquidate it.
It’s the Florida furniture shuffle. Since we don’t have basements to banish our dated furniture to, we have to pedal it off on other people’s kids heading off to college.
Those kids should be grateful, too. Not every kid gets to go off to college with Robb and Stucky, former model, living room furniture with 30 years of complimentary DNA left on it.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.