Does the Flat-Screen Stay or Go

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Flat-Screen TVs Have Become the Newest Amenity

Flat-screen TVs don’t necessarily get packed up with the rest of the furniture when someone moves out.

IT’S only in the last few years that boxy television sets with  have gone the way of rotary phones and typewriters.

But since flat-screen televisions now reign, and they don’t necessarily get packed up with the rest of the furniture when someone moves out, they have become the newest punch-list item that must be considered in a home sale.

If a television has been mounted to a wall, does it stay or go? If it goes, does the bracket stay or go? And if the bracket goes, who repairs the gaping holes left by the now-removed bracket?

It seems to be a topic of discussion in every walk-through now before we close on a home . If a seller is taking their flat screen with them, I always will ask if they plan to fill and patch the holes left by the brackets, because I’m not going to let my buyer walk into a mess.”

Unlike kitchen appliances, air-conditioners and light fixtures, mounted flat-screen televisions and their hardware are not part of the language for items that automatically come with a new home purchase. This means the fate of a mounted flat-screen television is entirely open to interpretation. It’s not a given that a seller will leave a television and its bracket, nor is it a given who is responsible for repairing any wall damage caused by an unwanted bracket.

It’s something that people have to take into consideration. If they want something left behind or repaired, they have to make sure they specify it. Otherwise, you might go on a walk-through and be surprised that something you expected to be there has been ripped out of the wall.

One recent buyer didn’t want the existing bracket but wanted to have her own contractor make the repairs. So I  helped her negotiate credit from the seller before they completed the sale. More and more buyers are considering the brackets a freebie.

Brackets can range in price from under $100 to as much as $1,000, for a motorized model that can swivel and swing out from the wall. Installation services start at $150, but can also cost several hundred dollars, depending on whether a contractor has to open up a wall.

Some sellers have chosen to market a mounted flat-screen television as part of an apartment sale.

Many sellers opt to leave mounted flat-screen televisions. For some of them it’s just been more convenient because they don’t want to have to get the wall patched up. But for buyers, as long as it’s not a really big and heavy older model, they’re finding it to be a plus because they don’t have to go through the process of buying and installing a television.

Some owners  have agreed to make the flat-screen a selling point. It’s on the fact sheet and on the listing itself that the flat screen stays.

So, in addition to a renovated kitchen and hardwood floors the flat screen ranks as a bonus!

A version of this article appeared in print on August 15, 2010, on page RE1 of the New York edition.
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