The owner of a 6,645-square-foot seaside mansion on close to 10 acres in Maui, Hawaii, spent two years finding furniture to fill his property.

“He traveled extensively to Europe, and then had a lot of the furniture custom-designed for the home,” says Courtney Brown, a broker for Island Sotheby’s International Realty. “The tabletops were made with hand-poured glass.”

Now that he’s put the property on the market for $49 million, those furnishings are staying put. Like many houses around the country, everything—the art, the deck umbrellas, the beds, mattresses, side tables and lamps—comes as a package under the purchase price. But while brokers, sellers, and even many buyers consider package deals along these lines a bonus, there are nuances to selling a fully furnished home that set the transaction apart from more traditional listings. 

“Of course, a buyer could say no to the furnishings,” says Brown, who’s representing the property. “But it’s very unlikely here on Hawaii. Even if they didn’t want it, they could redesign things gradually, later.”

The Hawaiian property is an extreme case for multiple reasons. Its price puts it at the pinnacle of the property market, generally, and its location 2,470 miles from California means that getting anything there takes time and a lot of money.

“It can take two to six months to get something shipped to Hawaii,” Brown explains. “So if you’re purchasing a home here and not taking the furniture, it’s actually an inconvenience for both the buyer and the seller.”

But on the mainland, where many houses also come furnished, both the justification for the furniture’s inclusion in a sale and the way that brokers calculate the value of that furniture can be a lot more complicated.

Seller Expectations
When a home comes furnished, it’s up to the owner to figure out how to price that furniture. For people who’ve spent small fortunes on interior decoration, that process can start with a hard truth: Those costs will almost certainly not be recouped.

Even for a house such as a $9.8 million Maui villa designed by icon Ettore Sottsass and filled with Memphis furniture, it’s hard to imagine a premium placed on the furnishings, rather than a discount.

“As a seller, you’re really attached to things, or you’re emotionally invested in the place,” says Michael Costello, a Douglas Elliman broker who currently represents a $1.65 million, two-bedroom, two-bath, furnishings-included condominium in Palm Beach, Fla., whose owners hired an interior decorator to tailor every furnishing specifically to the home.

First « 1 2 3 » Next