florida agents

What Appliances Stay and Which ones Go?

Question: We are in the process of buying a home and did the day-before-closing walk-through, only to find that the property is missing the appliances. The fridge, stove, washer, dryer and dishwasher are gone. We do not want to buy the house this way. Is there anything we can do? – Ali

Answer: I can understand your surprise. Most home sales include the appliances and fixtures. Your first step is to check your contract to see if any of the missing items are specifically mentioned. Most standard contracts have a section that speaks to what items are included.

The general rule is that anything permanently attached to the house when you went under contract – light fixtures, doors, stoves – should be included in the sale. And the item must be the exact one that was in the home when the contract was signed.

Most arguments I see on this subject involve washing machines and automatic pool cleaners. Some contracts don't include the washer and dryer, and buyers always should take note of any exclusions.

Sellers should be sure to specifically exclude any fixtures they want to take with them, such as an heirloom chandelier hanging in the foyer.

In your case, you may need to postpone the closing. If the missing items weren't excluded in the sales contract, the (seller) must replace them or provide a credit at closing.

Scam Alert: Fake Realtor Board Targets Fla. Members

The "Florida Board of Realtors" does not exist, but Florida Realtors members have been receiving a "Final Notice" bill from them in the mail, saying their real estate licenses are in jeopardy. Complaints have come into Florida Realtors from all parts of the state.

"It's a scam," says Margy Grant, general counsel for Florida Realtors. "And it's not a simple scam. High-tech criminals put a great deal of work and planning into this."

The form comes with a threat: "Failure to respond with your 2017 Agent Board Listing may lead to closure of board listing. Response required to be included in the Agency listing."

The scam came to light over the past two days when agents, brokers and association executives started calling Florida Realtors. Many submitted copies of a letter that appears legitimate. The "Make check payable to:" address appears to be a post office in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

The letter also includes a website, www.floridaboardofrealtors.org. The website not only appears legitimate, it's very professional. However, most of the links don't work. Blogs in their "archive" appear to stretch back a few years, for example, but no content comes up when you click. The same is true for many other links.

"For now, members should ignore these demand letters, and we ask brokers and agents to spread this message to everyone working in the Florida real estate industry," says Grant. "Florida Realtors is still investigating and in contact with Florida authorities. It's now also in front of the Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Economic Crimes section in Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office.

"Be vigilant. Be safe. And tell everyone you know," says Grant. "Criminals created a truly impressive fake website, sent a complex fake letter and successfully alarmed Realtors across the state."

© 2017 Florida Realtors