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Picture it: You’re finally moving in to your new home. You walk in the front door with your first box, and you immediately know something is wrong. You quickly discover that the sellers have removed some of your home’s features. The custom wooden window blinds are gone, and the beautiful chandelier that once hung in the dining room has been replaced with a much less beautiful ceiling fan.
Sometimes there are clear legal definitions about what is included in the sale of a home, but sometimes it can depend on the customs of the local market. How can you know what you’ll get once the home is yours?
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The “Law” of Fixtures
Basically, all “fixtures” are included in the home sale. This includes obvious items like faucets and cabinetry as well as personal property that has been attached to the home. The window blinds are an example of a fixture—they are permanently attached to the structure.
The chandelier falls into a gray area. It could be considered personal property because it did not cause damage to the home to remove it. But by having the chandelier in the home during showings, the buyer could assume it was part of the home sale.
Real estate agent John Riesterer worked with a homebuyer who had this exact experience. “When we closed, the original chandelier was missing and was replaced with something else,” he explained. “The buyers were furious.”
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The sellers refused to return the chandelier, so the buyers took them to court. “They not only got the chandelier back, they also got their attorney fees paid for,” John said.
Put It in Writing
A clearly written contract will answer the question of what is or isn’t included in a home sale. Pay particular attention to items like these:
- Appliances – It is not customary in all markets to include major household appliances with the sale of the home. Buyers should make sure the sales contract states “existing” appliances are included.
- Window coverings – As we mentioned above, blinds and shades that are attached to the home are considered fixtures. The custom in most markets is to leave window coverings, but to be sure, put your expectations in the contract.
- TVs mounted to the wall – This is another gray area. A professionally mounted, hardwired television is technically a fixture. But televisions are traditionally considered personal property and are not included in the sale of a home.
Work With a Pro Who’s Seen It All
An experienced real estate professional will help you navigate those gray areas and make sure your new home’s best features stay in the home. Dave’s real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are experts who can answer your questions and help you avoid costly mistakes. Contact your ELP today!