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’

By KATHERINE CLARKE
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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We reveal the No. 1 areas for price growth in each capital city

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, Jul 18, 2024 3 min

Home values across Australia rose by a median 8 percent in FY24, delivering the equivalent of $59,000 in new capital growth to the two-thirds of the population that owns a home, according to CoreLogic data. Investors received total returns of 12.2 percent over the year, including capital gains and gross rental income.

Very tight supply and demand in most capital cities except Melbourne and Hobart was a significant driver of the capital growth, with the smaller and more affordable capital cities of Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide experiencing the most price appreciation over the year. A lack of properties for sale trumped the usual dampening effect of higher interest rates.

As usual, some areas outperformed their city’s median growth benchmark. Here are the top SA3 areas for capital growth in each capital city of Australia in FY24. SA3 areas are large suburbs, or districts incorporating clusters of suburbs, with more than 20,000 residents.

 

Sydney

Home values across Sydney rose by a median 6.3 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Mount Druitt. Its median value rose by 13.96 percent to $859,939. Mount Druitt is located 33km west of the CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Mount Druitt, Ropes Crossing, Whalan and Minchinbury. The Mount Druitt community is very multicultural with almost one in two residents born overseas. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the NSW median of 39.

 

Melbourne

Home values across Melbourne rose by a median 1.3 percent in FY24. The top area for capital growth was Moreland-North with 4.71 percent growth. This took the district’s median home value to $746,488. Moreland-North includes the suburbs of Hadfield, Pascoe Vale and Glenroy. It’s a multicultural community with a particularly large contingent of residents with Italian ancestry. One or both parents of 66 percent of residents were born overseas, according to the 2021 Census.

 

Brisbane

Home values across Brisbane rose by a median 15.8 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Springwood-Kingston in Logan City. Its median value swelled by 25.55 percent to $710,569. Springwood-Kingston is approximately 22km south of Brisbane CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Springwood, Kingston, Rochedale South and Slacks Creek. It is a multicultural community with one or both parents of 55 percent of the residents born overseas, according to the 2021 Census. More than 15 percent of residents have Irish or Scottish ancestry.

 

Adelaide

Home values across Adelaide rose by a median 15.4 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Playford in Playford City. Its median value soared by 19.94 percent to $530,991. Playford is approximately 40km north of Adelaide. It incorporates the suburbs of Elizabeth Downs, Elizabeth Grove, Angle Vale and Virginia. It is home to many young people under the age of 40. The median age of residents is 33 compared to the state median of 41.

 

Perth 

Home values across Perth rose by a median 23.6 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Kwinana in Kwinana City. Its median value skyrocketed by 33.19 percent to $618,925. Kwinana is approximately 37km south of Perth CBD. It includes the suburbs of Leda, Medina, Casuarina and Mandogalup. Henderson Naval Base is located here and there is a significant community of servicemen and ex-servicemen living in the area. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the state median of 38.

 

Canberra

Home values across the nation’s capital rose by a median 2.2 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Weston Creek. Its median value rose by 5.24 percent to $937,740. Weston Creek is approximately 13km south-west of the CBD. It includes the suburbs of Weston Creek, Holder, Duffy, Fisher and Chapman. Approximately 43 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree, which is on par with the ACT median but much higher than the national median of 26 percent. Household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median. Almost one in five residents work in government administration jobs.

 

Hobart

Home values across Hobart fell 0.1 percent in FY24. The top performing area for capital gains was Sorell-Dodges Ferry with 2.78 percent growth. This took the area’s median home value to $615,973. Sorell-Dodges Ferry is approximately 25km north-west of Hobart. It incorporates the suburbs of Richmond, Sorell, Dodges Ferry, Carlton and Primrose Sands. The area has a large community of baby boomers and retirees, with the median age of residents being 43 compared to the Australian median of 38.

 

Darwin

Home values across Darwin rose by a median 2.4 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Litchfield. Its median value moved 3.21 higher to $672,003. Litchfield is about 37km south-east of Darwin and includes the suburbs of Humpty Doo, Acacia Hills and Southport.  It has a high proportion of middle-aged residents, with the median age being 39 compared to the territory median of 33. About 12 percent of residents are Indigenous Australians. The biggest industries are government administration and defence. Median household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median.

 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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