Sellers: Itemize What You’re Taking With You
Believe it or not, after months of searching countless homes, finding the perfect one, negotiating price and finally agreeing to a deal, a sale can fall apart over a disagreement about curtains.
When striking a deal to sell a home, it’s important that you are perfectly clear about what you are taking with you and what you are leaving behind. The general rule is that if something is attached to the structure or the ground, it is real property and stays with the house.
If removing the item would ruin or disfigure the walls, the item generally stays. If you need a tool to remove it, it stays.
Legally, these are called fixtures, which include everything permanently attached to the property such as a fence, built-in appliances, ceiling fans, flowerbeds and shrubs.
Conversely, if you can disconnect, unhook or detach an item from the home with bare hands, it’s free to leave when you do. This is known as personal property and should never be assumed to be part of the sale.
Items that fall into this category are furniture, potted plants, free-standing appliances and an outdoor grill.
A good rule of thumb is to not show your home with any fixtures you are planning to take. Replacing them is the better option.
Every real estate agent has a story about a deal falling through because of an argument about what a buyer thought was staying. For this reason, you should walk in each room with your agent and make a list of things that you will be taking with you.
If you decide to leave the curtains, chandeliers or are open to giving up some of the outdoor furniture, it may just help with a sale. People appreciate the notion of getting something for free, and a savvy agent will hint to a prospective buyer that fixtures and furnishing may be negotiable. Unless the items are really important to you, let them go with the home. Use them to get the price you want and then replace the items in your new home.
By itemizing and discussing all the things that stay and go at the outset, there will be no miscommunication on closing day.