The Two Things You Should Never Part With, According to Real Estate Agents

published Dec 5, 2021
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Moving can be a real pain. Nobody wants to spend time packing everything up, hauling it around, being without their favorite things, and then eventually unpacking it all — just to start all over again the next time you move. In the face of that stress, some people choose to leave things behind, like sofas or patio furniture. But there are a couple things, according to real estate agents, that you’ll want to keep from move to move, no matter what.

Custom Lighting

One of the first things people tend to swap out when they move in somewhere is the lighting fixtures. If you went to the trouble of getting yours custom made or personalized to your style, don’t leave them behind.

“Many sellers think they have to leave them,” says Phillip Salem, an agent with Compass Real Estate in New York City. “But, I always advise my sellers to take them and just swap out the light fixture with a standard light from Home Depot.”

It might be worthwhile, though, to at least let the buyer’s agent know you’re taking them with you. Ideally you’d mention it in the listing, so there aren’t any major surprises at closing.

Old Furniture

When you move, consider taking any older furniture pieces you may particularly like. Those styles may be timeless, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find them forever.

“Older furniture often cannot be replaced,” says Marina Vaamonde, real estate investor and founder of HouseCashin. “They literally aren’t making it anymore. If you cannot duplicate the craftsmanship of your older piece of furniture, keep it.”

If you’re worried the style of the piece is going to clash with your new home, you’ve got options.

“Older, well-made furniture can be refinished or upholstered to meet your current decor,” Vaamonde notes. Plus, she says, older styles always cycle back into fashion at some point. “Many older pieces such as console tables, hall trees, and bench seats are in high demand. They can fit in almost any space including hallways.”

As for me, I carted a desk from the 1800s around to three different homes because it was my great grandmothers and I loved it. I eventually only got rid of it because it fell apart. But I know I would have been disappointed if I had decided to leave it behind somewhere. Vaamonde agrees that taking the desk with me was the best course of action.

“If the furniture in question has sentimental value, you definitely shouldn’t part with it,” she says. “Finding a place in a new house for furniture or accessories that have personal meaning will instantly make a house a home.”