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Buying a Recreational Home: Is the Couch Included?

Erin Hennessey
Furniture included in the house sale?

With the economy picking up, housing sales have also been on the rise, including recreational property. Many of those ski chalets and charming cabins often include furniture.

Is it OK to include couches, lamps and things in a sale? Maybe, says Seattle real estate appraiser Richard Hagar, but you need to be careful.

Hagar says if the buyer is paying cash for the property or if it's seller financing, then including personal property is not a problem. 

"But personal property is not supposed to be part of a mortgage," he said.

A mortgage is supposed to be a loan only on the value of real estate, so that means personal property must be subtracted from the loan amount.

"There's been a lot of real estate agent education on this topic," said Hagar, but there still is the occasional agent who pops up and offers "incentives" like a car with the sale of a condo or furniture in a vacation home. 

Meanwhile, Hagar says there is still an ample supply of recreational homes since some resorts were overbuilt and then sat empty during the recession.

"Make sure the vacation home you're interested in has been properly maintained during those quiet years," he said. "Without heat and air conditioning they could have deteriorated." 

And that can be far more serious than just musty-smelling furniture, whether you choose to buy it, or not.