Hey, nice couch!
January 10, 2014 6:41 AM   Subscribe

We are buying a home and are under contract. We really like the seller's couch. Would it be too tacky to email them and ask if they have any interest in selling it to us? It is a huge sectional which is exactly what we are looking for and fits the space nicely. They are moving themselves, so I'm sure it would be a hassle to move, but hey, they might love their couch too! I was going to just ask them if they bought it in town, but then I thought maybe they would consider selling it so they don't have to move it. Is that just bad etiquette?
posted by MayNicholas to Home & Garden (24 answers total)
No. Everything is negotiable. Make an offer.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:43 AM on January 10, 2014 [16 favorites]

I can think of several friends who made similar deals from either end of this sort. I can't imagine someone taking offense.
posted by nanojath at 6:44 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not at all. It's actually a pretty standard topic of conversation in these sorts of deals. Most of the time it's about major appliances, but nothing is off limits.

Have you closed yet? If you haven't, you can even work that into the purchase price so you don't have to fork over any cash out-of-pocket if you don't want to. You could also just cut them a check if you'd prefer to do it that way.

But it's absolutely something that you're allowed to ask. All they can say is no, and they won't think badly of you for asking.
posted by valkyryn at 6:45 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

People do that all the time. And if they don't want to sell it, they will most likely tell you where they got it.
posted by xingcat at 6:47 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Getting rid of my couch was the worst part of my last move. Absolutely ask!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:50 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I bought a house in May. I wanted the pool table, and I knew the elderly couple selling were moving into a smaller condo. I made them a fair offer, and they were very happy.
posted by Flood at 6:51 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dude, I would have LOVED if my buyer had asked me in my last move. When we sold our house in Nashville, the buyer added the living room furniture into the sale contract.

By ALL MEANS, people would take $100 over having to move shit. Any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:52 AM on January 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Our sellers offered us a whole list of furniture, with photos, via their agent to our agent -- if you're using an agent, you may want to ask if you should route communication through them.
posted by nonane at 7:00 AM on January 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yep, people do this all the time. Even if they don't want to sell it, they're unlikely to be offended or weirded out by your request.
posted by mskyle at 7:09 AM on January 10, 2014

We did this with a previous home purchase but we did it through our agent and it was a side deal integrated with the closing. These things can be tricky depending on when they want to get paid for the item and when you take possession. I would talk to your agent about the standard way of doing these side deals in your area.
posted by rocketpup at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2014

Also -- a nice way to ask is to ask if you can buy it, or if they can share the make and model and the name if the store where they bought it.

Asking through your agent is polite.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:19 AM on January 10, 2014

Response by poster: Well that's settled. We will ask.

Should we give them a number or just ask if they would be interested and let them give one of they are?

No clue how much to offer. It looked newer, but I could be wrong. It seats about 7 (I think).
posted by MayNicholas at 7:37 AM on January 10, 2014

Do this through your agent. That's what they're getting their % for and they'll know the protocol.
posted by thatone at 7:50 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Going through our agent means he will have to go through their agent and have everyone playing telephone back and forth when we don't even know if they would want to sell it yet. I will involve agents if we are in agreement.
posted by MayNicholas at 7:59 AM on January 10, 2014

I will involve agents if we are in agreement.

Ehh... it is usually bad form to negotiate directly with the other party when there are agents involved. You may just think that it's a matter of convenience, but it does give off the impression that something sketchy might be going on even when there isn't. It'd be a shame to run into trouble about a deal which is basically done because of a stupid misunderstanding.

Call your agent and let them deal with it. It may seem like a hassle, but it's the right way to do things.
posted by valkyryn at 8:05 AM on January 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

My seller wanted to sell me his couch as well (though I declined). That kind of transaction is normal. I heard about it through my agent. That's the way to go.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:06 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I bought my condo, my offer was contingent on the previous owners leaving the window treatments and some outdoor furniture that I really liked. Sounds like you're a little too far into the process to make that work for you, but it never hurts to call and make them an offer! Maybe offer to take care of some of their portion of the closing costs?
posted by brand-gnu at 8:16 AM on January 10, 2014

My seller gave me the couch for free!
posted by goethean at 8:21 AM on January 10, 2014

Just tell your agent that you'd like the couch. They may be dreading moving it, and will be thrilled to leave it for you. Just have your agent feel them out on that, don't be surprised if they either give it to you outright, or ask a nominal sum.

People do NOT want to move sectionals.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:48 AM on January 10, 2014

Last time I sold a house, I gave the buyers 2 really nice adult leather couches for free to avoid having to move them.

Absolutely ask! I was SO relieved when they asked me.

Buyers: "Where did you get those sofas?" Id love to get ones just like them. They fit the room so perfectly! "

Me: "You like 'em? They're yours."

/internal happy-dance for now not having to get them down a flight of stairs and moved 1200 miles./
posted by sandra_s at 8:49 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Please do this through your agent. Let them know this is not a deal breaker, and you want to reach a fair price (instead of a negotiation tactic).

Depending on your state, the furniture is not considered part of the Real Estate transaction (not affixed like a stove, can be considered part of the house depending on how it is installed).

Your agent is being paid to do exactly this work. It is a bad idea for represented Buyers and Sellers to interact outside of the standard agent channels once established.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:11 AM on January 10, 2014

Response by poster: Ok. I will go through my agent.
posted by MayNicholas at 9:29 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, totally normal. But ask through your agent, who will casually ask their agent and everyone will be happy. I suggest buying it outside the home purchase contract. Both to keep the real estate sale clean and to not inflate the purchase price of the house (and therefore the tax base). When I did this my agent handled the price negotiation and then I just gave a check to the seller during our final walkthrough inspection. A small amount of trust and good will is required.
posted by Nelson at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chiming in to say, go through your agent, this is what they are for.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:47 PM on January 10, 2014

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