JL's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog: They Can't Ask For What They Can't See

They Can't Ask For What They Can't See

Selling a Home in Blythewood, SC  In this business every deal is unique and each one has it's own set of obstacles to overcome. Whether it's a low ball offer that requires you to convince a buyer to become more reasonable or a frustrated seller who is angry over frivolous requests from a repair addendum.

  Some of the worst offenders to derail an otherwise perfectly good offer can be upfront requests that come as part of the offer itself. It's not unusual for a buyer to ask a seller to leave window treatments or the like, but what if the request is a little more personal?


Selling a Home in Blythewood, SC Years ago a friend of mine told me about a time that he represented a buyer when he was new to the business. The buyer looked at every home in a particular community and finally settled in on a home that he liked. As the buyer walked through that home on his third viewing, he saw the seller's dog playing in the backyard and rolling in the leaves.

  Can you guess where this is headed yet? When the agent got ready to write up the offer, the buyer asked for the seller's dog to be included as part of the deal. Being new to the business and unable to convince the buyer to leave the dog out of it, the agent reluctantly wrote up the offer for what was at the time a very expensive home here and he did indeed need the commission. Being that this is a public forum, I will not repeat the reply of the listing agent or the buyer, but let's just say they were unhappy with the request. I am perfectly willing to write this off as a real estate urban legend and say it never happened, but I know the buyer's agent and he swears it occurred and so do a few other agents here that I would be willing to trust.

  I write this as a cautionary tale to warn that you simply never know what a buyer may ask for as of a transaction. Whether it's Grandma's china cabinet, a set of curtains, or even the family pet just trying to enjoy some time in the backyard. So that these situations can be avoided, I always recommend that sellers put items they do not want to part ways with out of sight and out of mind. Or better yet, get them out of the house altogether. Because if it's not there, no one can ask for it in the first place.


JL Boney, III - Columbia, SC Realtor - Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

 I specialize in Columbia, SC real estate and the surrounding areas, including Blythewood, SC, Kershaw County, Fairfield County, and Lexington, SC. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in Columbia, SC or any of the surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity to speak with to see how I can help. Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if I can be of service to you.

Office- 803-788-1450     Cell- 803-730-9601     Email- James_Boney@Yahoo.com

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Comment balloon 38 commentsJL Boney, III • January 30 2018 04:29PM


Holy cow!  I can't believe someone would even have the audacity to think it's ok to ask for the family pet!

Posted by Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert, Exceeding Expectations in Every Transaction (E*Rae Realty) over 2 years ago

I tell all sellers, get rid of anyting that you don't want to stay.  Replace a ceiling fan NOW before someone sees it.  ECT!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 2 years ago

Sellers need to hide/remove items that are non-negotiable to avoid emotional conflict.  And I had a buyer asking about a seller's pot bellied pig conveying :)  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 2 years ago

One word - ridiculous!  Agents are trained pretty well in my area to not allow asking for any personal property and for Pete's sake  do not ask for the family pet - ridiculous. Sure occasionally I see something slip thorough on a contract but it's caught quickly and a solution is found for both parties. If there is a will (with reasonableness) there is a way.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRS, Broker, Instructor, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) over 2 years ago

Erika - I used to be surprised by a lot of things until I was in real estate for a while, now every day can be an adventure. No way I could ask for the dog though.


Bill - that is solid advice my friend. you never know what will catch the eye of a buyer and it's just best to head it off at the pass.


Liz and Bill - The dog is one thing, but going after a pig like that is just uncalled for.


Anna Banana - Not rare here for buyers to make requests with an offer, less now in a seller's market, but going for the dog is pretty bold.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Good evening JL Boney, III ,

That is the first I've heard of this kind of request but nothing surprises me any more. Some buyers think they can ask for anything so to avoid these situations remember..out of sight and out of mind! Congrats on this worthy featured post!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) over 2 years ago

They asked for the dog?  Jared and I have been doing this for quite a while and we've never heard of that.  It was good for a chuckle though.  Good advice to sellers.  Out of sight out of mind.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 2 years ago

I've had several cases where the seller mentioned that their family pet needed a new owner or home because they were moving to quarters that wouldn't accommodate them.  And, some homebuyers gladly took on the pet.  I haven't seen a scenario where a buyer asked for the family pet as part of negotiation however.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 2 years ago

We cannot discount the love of  dog....Think Lassie? Rin Tin Tin & spot?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 2 years ago

That's crazy!  

On the other hand, why not? All they can do is #&*^!$ or answer yes/no.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 2 years ago

That's a pretty crazy request. Buyers sometimes need to think more carefully about what they are asking for, and perhaps consider that the sellers are people, too. How would YOU feel if you got that request?


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Dear JL,

Now that almost seems like asking to throw in the son or daughter in the bargain. Pets are family members, so that may be a bit much, but all the chandeliers & curtains out there should be hidden away, if you plan to take them. Not that they will ever actually fit well in your new home, but that is another issue.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 2 years ago

They don’t know what they don’t know because they don’t know that they don’t know it. I have a friend who says this and it’s true.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 2 years ago

Not much surprises me anymore.  It's crazy!  But pets to most people are part of the family. I would ask the buyer how they would feel if they were the seller and a buyer made this request. Educating the buyer is important so they understand what is reasonable. One would expect common sense would tell the person that asking for the dog would not be a realistic request.  That said, common sense seems to be a thing of the past.

Posted by Karen Simms, Horse Property Specialist (Century 21 Arizona Foothills) over 2 years ago

It sounds like the buyer bought into the emotional scene of being able to play with a dog in the backyard. 

If I were the seller, I'd come back with a counter.  Tell the buyer that the dog is family, just like the kids.  How could anyone be expected to sell a family member in the sale of a home?  But if a dog is important, he would be happy to go down to the animal shelter and get a dog that would love to have a backyard like that and the new dog would be forever grateful to the buyer.  If that doesn't work then you know you don't want any part of such a buyer.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 2 years ago

Just recently, I had a buyer, in all seriousness, ask me to include the sports car that was parked in the garage of an otherwise vacant house in the offer. He naively assumed since it was sitting there it was up for sale and he was "willing to pay a little more for the house" if the car was included. SMH!

Posted by Jamie King, Sandusky, OH (Hoty Enterprises, Inc.) over 2 years ago

You never know...there was a small chance, I suppose, that the sellers could have been considering not taking the dog with them and were hoping to find it a new home before they move.

VERY slim chance and VERY bizarre the buyer insisted on it being part of the deal. As a seller, I would have been freaked out by the request.

I've heard of pets being left behind in homes after sellers move on. 

I always tell my staging clients to replace lighting fixtures or other items rather than list them as "not included". For the exact reason you state...buyers just may insist as part of the deal. It is easy enough to avoid that type of negotiation process but removing them from sight.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 2 years ago

Dorie - It's the only time I have ever heard of it as well. Can't be that common.


Amanda - I can't imagine how I would react if a buyer where to make this request, but you just never know what you will see in this business.


Myrl - That's a happy ending for the pet if they were not allowed to go with the seller, but it's a whole other thing to try and take the pet from the seller.


Richie - True story. They are family to a lot of people.


Margaret - I guess you never know until you try.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Jeff  - Sometimes I think people just get carried away, but sometimes people just want to see what they can get away with too.


Dorte - Somewhere in the world I am sure that a kid has been asked for too.


Laura - That's actually a pretty difficult statement to argue with. Hard to say too.


Karen - Common sense is an all too rare quality these days, but yes, educating a buyer is very important.


Tim - I am unsure of exactly what the "counter" was on this deal, but it's my understanding that things didn't  work out.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Jamie - I assume that did not go through either.


Sharon - If you can avoid items in a home being part of the negotiation process it's well worth it.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

I've heard of times when that would have been a blessing - when the sellers decided to put the dog to sleep rather than take it with them. I'm glad they weren't my clients - don't know if I could have held my tongue on that one.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 2 years ago

In today's world, I am not really surprised by anything. However, I do ask my mother-in-law to house sit during showings.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA over 2 years ago

Now that is the most absurd thing I've heard in a while, and I've heard a LOT! The owners' DOG?? I have written offers (and gotten acceptance)  for a few chickens and a rooster to be included in a sale, but a dog is part of the family. The nerve! Oh well, at least we got a good chuckle and John Wiley is willing to do whatever it takes to make the sale! (See his comment above).

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Wow that buyer must feel very entitled to ask for a dog with the house!  Interesting story.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 2 years ago

Marte - I am sure there are times when sellers have to get rid of their dog for one reason or another. But as I understand it, this was not one of those times.


John - Surprises are a rarity for me as well. Good luck with the Mother in Law.


Pat - The chicken and rooster story sounds interesting as well.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Mary - Not sure I could bring myself to ask.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

JL Boney, III  You give some excellent advice and a compelling reason to pay attention.  I don't know many people who'd give up a beloved family member to make the sale. 

Posted by Karen Rice Madison AL Realtor, 256-348-1527 Call/Text (Keller Williams Realty Madison) over 2 years ago

Karen - It's certainly a story that sticks with and gets a point across.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Great point! If the buyer doesn't know that it exists, then, for the purpose of the deal, it doesn't. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) over 2 years ago

I agree that things should be removed that won't convey with the sale, but typically that is things like chandeliers, not dogs who are playing in the yard.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 2 years ago

Good morning, JL!

Wow!  I have had some unique transactions, but this tops them.  I always suggest to the Sellers to remove items from the house that they do not wish to part with.  Maybe I should suggest that this includes pets.


Posted by Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker, The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around (Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd.) over 2 years ago

Corey - If the buyer never sees it they never worry about it.


Kat - You wouldn't think you would have to be afraid for the dog, but I guess sometimes they aren't safe either.


Brigita - I have had some interesting deals as well, but this would be new for me.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

JL- ditto to what everyone has said.  Like Sharon Tara I tell sellers that if they plan on taking certain items like chandeliers, and yes special furniture, they should remove them now. A dog?  Wow, that is different. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Katy - Get rid of what you can and hope they don't go for the pets.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this.

Posted by Golden1 Agents over 2 years ago

We were the listing agents on a home we proffesionally staged and also under private and public remarks stated Home has been proffesionally staged. We receive an offer with all inside furniture. Called buyers agent and told them buyer can purchase furniture separate not through PASA because as noted home is staged, Furniture is personal property and detaached from property. Seller Declined offer :-) because buyer only wanted to buy whole.

Another one us listing agents on another property again...buyers agent does the final walk through the day of closing.
When they seen home last home had her personal furniture which seller sold ( moving out of state, no furnitue was invluded in any written agreement. Buyers agent comes to closing stating in front of the closing tanle.
** we cannot close because seller removed her electric detached fireplace**
Boy did she make herself look a complete dumb, everyone looked at each other and we said that’s sellers personal property and not stated in any agreement that a fireplace is included. This was not attached to the house. Many times you be suprised of some of the agents on the orher side.

Posted by Roberta Gjeloshaj Aleksander Pervaza, We are Realtors serving NE Florida (FIRST COAST SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY) over 2 years ago

Smart idea having sellers completely remove an items that buyers may confuse or ask for as part of the deal! 

Posted by Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate, Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming (Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming) over 2 years ago

Roberta - the offer on the staged home should have never been written. Especially is it was in the listing info that it was staged.


Brenda - I sure think so.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago