What goes with you when you move and what stays? Two important terms to be aware of when selling a property: fixtures and personal property. What do those two terms mean? Below is an explanation of the difference between a fixture and a personal property as well as everything you need to know about what stays and what goes when you sell.
What is a fixture? When personal property (ex: great grandma’s crystal chandelier hanging in the dining room) is affixed or fastened to real estate by using nails, glue, cement, pipes, or screws (ex: a wall, floor etc.), it becomes a fixture. A fixture is a permanent part of a house or apartment. Fixtures become real property when they are attached to the property. This means it is something that will be sold with the house.
Here are some examples of fixtures:
- light fixtures: sconces & chandeliers
- built ins: bookshelves, cubbies, benches
- thermostats: Nest thermostats or other smart thermostats
- wall mounts: tv wall mounts
- window treatments: curtains, drapes, shutters, & rods
- alarm systems: physical alarm system stays with the home & the service will be new owner’s responsibility
- smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
- landscaping: anything planted into the ground like trees, shrubs, & flowers
* As a home seller, it is wise to go through your house with your REALTOR and discuss what is and isn’t a fixture, so you have a clear understanding. In the case of your grandma’s crystal chandelier that you love and want to use in your next home, you could replace it before you list the house for sale. If a buyer never sees it, they won’t want it. If you decide to remove the fixture, be sure to patch, repair, and re-paint any large holes.
What is personal property? Anything you can disconnect, unhook, slide, or otherwise detach from your home with bare hands (ex: your master bedroom set, a piece of art hung on a nail, etc.). Personal property is almost never assumed in a sale but can be included if the seller says so in the contract.
Here are some examples of personal property:
- potted plants
- electronics (not mounted to the wall)
- decor: rugs, wreaths, pictures, artwork
- Free standing appliances: washer, dryer, fridge, stove, etc. *Most new homeowners don’t have their own appliances & like to put offers on homes with fully stocked appliances). If you want to take your appliances with you, be sure to let us know so we can exclude them from the contract.
How to ensure that fixtures or personal property will stay or go: Buyers and sellers should specifically state in the purchase offer which items will stay with the house and which will go. This will eliminate any confusion over house fixtures. Personal property such as kitchen appliances should be noted in the contract as included or excluded from the sale. See the below sample contract highlighting what stays and what goes.