When do fittings become fixtures?

As a Home Stager it is my job to help home owners decide where to spend their money and where NOT to, so that they get the best return on their investment and ultimately sell their home faster and for more money.

But what happens if you are on the other side of this scenario and viewing or buying a staged home with all the state of the art appliances, expensive window treatments or elaborate lighting only to discover that they have all been replaced prior to your final walk through!

The easiest way to avoid any confusion is to have a clear list of what is actually included in the sale and what is not.  Built in appliances, light fixtures, wall t wall carpeting, security systems are the types of things that should be listed but often these lines get blurred and the technical jargon all revolves around whether something is deemed as personal property or ‘real property’.

Trees or shrubs in free standing pots as a great case in point, buyers have no way to be certain they will remain with the property unless they are specifically listed, sellers may well assume that as they re free standing they are personal property and will therefore take them with them when they move!

Personal property becomes real property when it is attached in some way to the house, this can be with nails, cement, wires but this can be a tricky area for home buyers and home sellers.

The obvious examples are kitchen cabinets that are fixed to the walls are real property and would stay with the home, the same with doors and the hardware but what about built in equipment that requires special wiring like that for burger alarms or sound systems, technically the equipment is personal property but because it has been adapted to the house it then becomes real property.

As a seller the best thing you can do is be specific if there are items such as your sound system that you intend to take with you, make sure that are marked as not included in the sale and make sure the real estate agent has the exclusions printed clearly on the MLS listing – that way the buyers know right up front what stays and what goes.

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