Home Buyers Get Ahead of Supply-Chain Issues by Purchasing the House and Everything Inside
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Home Buyers Get Ahead of Supply-Chain Issues by Purchasing the House and Everything Inside

One couple in California paid $30,000 for all of the seller’s furniture so they wouldn’t have to ‘sit in an empty house’

Mon, Jan 30, 2023 8:53amGrey Clock 6 min

Last year, Gerardo and Rita Luna upgraded from their roughly 2,700-square-foot home in Oxnard, Calif., to a much larger house in nearby Santa Paula, paying $2.4 million. The couple, who own four automotive repair facilities, said they had been looking for a quieter place, where they wouldn’t be able to “shake their neighbors’ hands through the window,” Mr. Luna said. The Santa Paula estate, on 6 acres, fit the bill perfectly.

The only problem: how could they possibly furnish such a large property? They didn’t have nearly enough furniture to fill the nearly 7,000-square-foot house, and what they did have didn’t fit the French Country style of their new home. Plus, they knew that global supply-chain issues would likely make buying new furniture difficult and time-consuming. Instead, Mr. Luna proposed an unusual solution: They offered to buy all of the seller’s furniture, although the heavy draperies and plaid upholstery didn’t exactly fit their taste.

“We knew that it would take us perhaps years to fill the house with furniture,” said Mr. Luna, 45. “So, even though it didn’t totally fit our vibe, we felt it made sense. We didn’t want to sit in an empty house.”

The seller was downsizing to a new home nearby and agreed to sell her furniture to the Lunas for about $30,000, “pennies on the dollar,” compared with the original prices, said the Lunas’ real-estate agent, Victoria Adam of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty.

It’s a good thing she did. A new dining table the Lunas ordered for the house took six months to arrive, while a new sofa took three. “In the meantime, we had a sofa to sit on,” Mr. Luna said.

In the past, it was common for properties in second-home or resort communities to be sold with the furniture included, but primary homes were traditionally delivered empty. Since the onset of the pandemic, however, more home buyers are making offers to purchase properties fully furnished, real-estate agents said. With supply-chain delays and other logistical issues leaving buyers waiting months or even years for their new furniture, agents said, purchasing the sellers’ furniture is much more appealing than it used to be.

Developer Rick Rosemarin said he encountered this desperation firsthand last year, when he was trying to sell a roughly $10 million estate he built in Greenwich, Conn. It turned out that one would-be buyer who toured the modern estate was just trolling for furniture. The buyer said the house wasn’t for him, but asked if he could purchase all the furniture for another home he was buying. “That was hysterical,” said Mr. Rosemarin, 37.

While Mr. Rosemarin wouldn’t part with the furniture—it took him close to a year to furnish the house with supply-chain delays—he said didn’t blame the man. “The time frame for some of these deliveries was a joke,” Mr. Rosemarin said. “To this day, we still have a table we ordered in 2021 that hasn’t been delivered.”

When he did sell the property in December 2022, the buyers—a family from overseas—wanted most of the furniture, and paid a premium for it, Mr. Rosemarin said, although he declined to say how much. “They initially wanted to order their own for a few rooms, but when they found out from their interior designer how long it would take, they ended up buying more from us.”

Buyers are also increasingly asking to purchase the rental furniture that many owners use to “stage” their homes for sale. Home-stager Robert Sablic of Quadra said his company recently furnished a four-bedroom apartment asking $45 million at Manhattan’s One57 condominium. “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec made an offer to buy the condo for $34.5 million, but only if the rental furniture was included.

Such instances used to be unusual, Mr. Sablic said, since high-end buyers often preferred to have all new furniture rather than used pieces that had been shifted from place to place by the staging company. They also present a challenge for stagers, who want to keep their clients happy but also have to quickly re-source and purchase new items for their own inventory, while dealing with supply-chain issues themselves.

Andrew Bowen, partner at ASH Staging, said as a result of the surge in demand, his company recently started renting staged furniture to buyers for a year, so that they could have a place to sit and sleep while waiting for their own items to arrive.

Other buyers, however, simply fall in love with the sellers’ furniture.

Last year, real-estate agent Joan Herlong made a deal to sell a house in suburban Simpsonville, S.C., for about $9 million, a record for the area. The only glitch: the buyers loved the sellers’ eclectic, colorful furniture, which wasn’t for sale. The sellers planned to take everything with them to a new home they were building in nearby Greenville.

Once the deal was in contract, the buyers convinced the sellers to part with their furniture, Ms. Herlong said. She said she doesn’t know how much they paid for the furniture, but believes it could have been a seven-figure sum. Thinking it might be fun to “order all new stuff,” the sellers moved out with only a few suitcases, she said, leaving nearly their whole lives behind.

“Sometimes people don’t want to just buy your house, they want to buy your whole lifestyle,” Ms. Herlong said. The sellers did, however, draw the line when the buyer wanted their pet cows, too. “I’m not a cattle broker,” Ms. Herlong quipped.

When New York City media executive Andy Plesser, 71, started hunting for a weekend home in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, he wasn’t planning on buying a fully furnished house. But when he saw the home of Eric and Liz Macaire, he fell for their furnishings.

Mr. Macaire, 60, a restaurateur, and Ms. Macaire, a 54-year-old interior designer, had curated the home with items such as a set of 1940s bowling benches, a yellow settee that once belonged to Ms. Macaire’s socialite aunt, and an antique dough maker from a Paris flea market. There was also a pair of 19th century English “half moon” tables, an antique gold-framed beveled mirror and a cubist painting above the fireplace. “They were things that couldn’t easily be replicated or replaced,” said Mr. Plesser. He bought the house in November 2022 for $1.25 million, and made an unsolicited offer to buy all the furniture.

The Macaires were amenable to selling everything but a few sentimental items for $17,000, said Lenore Mallett of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, a real-estate agent who worked on the deal. They were downsizing anyway, Mr. Macaire said, and some of the pieces would have been challenging to move. “It’s a compliment that people want the pieces we chose,” Mr. Macaire said.

While he didn’t buy the furniture for convenience so much as admiration for the sellers’ tastes, Mr. Plesser said it was also nice to have the pieces in place immediately, rather than waiting for new furniture to be delivered.

Dallas real-estate agent Cindi Caudle of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty sold a roughly $2 million, two-bedroom pied-à-terre last year at the HALL Arts Residences condominium. The buyer, from California, wanted all the staged furniture, including small details like the Hermès blankets and decorative bowls on the countertop. When the deal closed, Ms. Caudle said she removed what she thought were throwaway staging items, including plastic lemons from a wooden bowl; they hadn’t used real lemons to avoid them going bad. When the buyer arrived in his new home, however, he quickly called Ms. Caudle to ask that the lemons be returned.

“I thought I was doing him a favour, that he wouldn’t want those nasty things,” she said. Instead, “I felt like the lemon thief. The lemon thief who came in the middle of the night.”

Sometimes, disputes over furniture and other add-ons can threaten to derail a deal. Greenwich real-estate agent Amanda Miller of Houlihan Lawrence said she almost had a multimillion-dollar deal fall through over a dispute about outdoor furniture cushions. “It can be the couch that breaks the deal, sometimes,” she said. To avoid these kinds of snafus, agents recommend sealing the deal for a property first, then turning to negotiations over furniture.

“Sometimes, folks can get emotional and stuck over stupid things, like a bureau or something,” said Evelyn Tilney of Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty in New Jersey. “I like to keep them separate so that if the furniture falls through, it doesn’t jam up the whole deal.”

Agents said they also recommend a separate bill of sale for the furniture, since mortgage lenders don’t want to have to determine the value of the furniture for the purposes of financing.

Ms. Herlong said she once had an eccentric buyer make an offer contingent on the seller parting with his two dogs. The lender’s appraiser wanted to charge extra for researching the resale market for Jack Russell terriers.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Nothing beats this classic pool design. With the ability to cross styles of architecture from Hamptons to mid century modern and minimalist design, the rectangular pool is a ‘one size fits all’ style that adapts to most needs, from swimming laps to splashing about with the kids. Go as big as you can manage on acreage or shoehorn it onto a suburban block for a clean, classic look that’s hard to top.



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A popular choice where there are views of the water or bushland to enjoy, an infinity pool gives the illusion of having no edge. Also known as rimless, overflow or zero edge pools, the water flows over the edge of the pool into a catchment basin that sits below the waterline, out of sight. A great choice for elevated positions where the pool can create a visual bridge between the house and the view, an infinity pool is particularly expensive to install and run thanks to the continuous need to pump water from the catch basin.



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Designed to mimic the natural environment, lagoon or freeform pools have fallen out of favour since their heyday in the 1980s. Despite the name, they are often available in standard sizes in fibreglass or concrete and are characterised by their curved, asymmetrical shapes. Slides and waterfalls are popular accessories to this style of pool while landscaping is typically tropical, in keeping with the oasis-like environment.



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While the name might suggest that this style of pool is aimed at hard core swimmers, lap pools are a great choice where the obvious location for the pool is long and narrow. If doing laps or water therapy is the main purpose for installing the pool, consider installing swim jets which create non-stop resistance to swim against. A lap pool should be at least eight to 10 metres long to be useful.



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Nothing beats being able to cool off in your own backyard over summer and what plunge pools lack in space, they can make up for in amenity. While swimming is probably out of the question, plunge pools are generally easier and cheaper to maintain than their larger counterparts, making them an attractive option for heating and cooling. They also have the obvious advantage of being able to fit into most backyards.



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Another great option where space is an issue, spa pools, also known as spools, offer the best of both worlds, with a spa area integrated into all or part of the pool. Known in some places as a cocktail pool, they can be a great solution for those who like to entertain or simply passively enjoy the water. Costs are generally a little less than a conventional pool and more than a dedicated spa.



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For those who love the integrated look, perimeter overflow pools are a stylish choice. Designed in line with the edge of the deck, the water gives the impression of overflowing at all edges for a sleek, minimalist look. Water is captured and recycled in channels around the perimeter. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, this style of pool can be pricey to install and run. For level sites though, it’s the ultimate in swimming luxury.



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While conventional pools are kept clean through the use of chemicals such as chlorine, natural pools rely on moving water (via a pump) and biological filters such as plants to maintain good water quality. It’s a style gaining ground in Australia, where water quality is naturally quite high, making the move to natural pools easier, and more homeowners become interested in chemical-free options.



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If you’re looking to add a little drama to your home, a glass walled pool could fit the bill. Essentially an underwater ‘window’ in recent years, architects have specified glass walled pools to be viewed from inside the house, with the benefit of drawing natural light through the water into internal spaces. An engineer will specify the exact thickness required to take the weight of the water but expect it to be at least 12mm thick.

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The type of pool you choose will depend on your budget and the size and style of your yard. Fibreglass pools come in a range of shapes and sizes and are faster and easier to install than concrete, mainly because they are made on the factory floor and delivered to site. Concrete pools take longer to build but they are customisable and can be finished in high end materials. Often, the decision can get down to how long you intend to stay in your property in terms of how much you want to invest.

What is the most expensive part of a pool?

If you’re talking about construction, excavation is often the big cost that takes owners by surprise. Make sure you understand excavation and tipping costs before signing a contract. Filtration, decking, tiling, fencing and landscaping can all add significant cost to the construction and installation of a pool. In terms of running costs, solar energy can be a good way to offset expenses.

What is a good size for a home swimming pool?

Again, this will depend on the size of your outdoor space, your lifestyle and the people who will use your pool. A family of four will have different needs to a couple who prefer to enjoy a dip at the end of a hot day. Choose a size that allows everyone to move around freely while keeping in mind that the larger the pool, the greater the time and money required to maintain it. Pool sizes in Australia have shrunk in recent years but popular sizes for family pools range from 7m by 3m up to 9m by 4m. Speak to your pool builder about the best – and safest – depth for your needs.


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