What do you leave in a house when you sell it?

    Congratulations — you’ve found a qualified buyer for your home. Navigating the sales process is the next step.

    After viewing your home, your buyer might have different expectations about what is included in the sale. You may wish, for example, to keep that antique light fixture handed down by your grandmother. However, your buyer might see it as an immovable part of the property.

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    Fixtures, essentially what stays after you move, is a common source of conflict that can impact the sales process. Seeff demystifies this to help you answer the age-old question: what should be left in your house when you sell it?

    What is considered a fixture?

    To understand what remains after a sale, it’s important to understand what a fixture is. These are items secured to walls, floors, or the ceilings of a property. This is usually done with bolts, nails, screws, cement, glue, or another way of attachment. Even plants in your garden that have taken root can be considered fixtures. Permanent or immovable fixtures are generally considered items that remain behind in a sale. 

    There are three aspects that can help you understand whether an item can be considered a permanent or immovable fixture:

    1. The intended purpose or nature of the item when you attached it. Did you install the item for it to serve on the land or property on a permanent basis? For example, an extractor fan once bolted above a stove is not an item you would consider moving once secured.
    2. The item must be physically embedded and attached. If you removed the item and it causes significant damage to the structure or land it is attached to, it is a permanent fixture. Ripping out fitted carpeting, for example, can have a huge impact on the property’s functionality and aesthetics.

    3. Your intention for the item when it was attached. If from the start you saw the item as remaining in the place where you affixed it, this is taken into consideration.

    Examples of fixtures

    Based on the three-list criteria, here are examples of items considered permanent fixtures:

    • Curtain rails
    • Sinks
    • Toilets
    • Sockets
    • Built-in cupboards
    • Ceiling mounted lights
    • Fireplaces
    • Pipes
    • Doors
    • Roof tiles
    • Security gate

    Negotiating fixtures before and during a sale

    Before a sale, you can remove and replace any special fixtures before the property is put up for sale. Your property practitioner will market the property as is so getting this done prior is important. A buyer can feel deceived if your home doesn’t show the fixtures they’ve read about in listings and seen in pictures. When removing fixtures, be sure to use appropriate replacements and repair any damage caused by their removal. These can impact the perception of your property when you’re selling it.

    If you haven’t done this before a sale, there’s no need to panic. In your written agreement of sale, you can provide a list of the items you intend to remove and leave behind when vacating the property. This list should be as detailed and specific as possible. While drawing up this list might seem tedious, it will help prevent misunderstandings so disputes don’t arise after the sale. 

    couple talking with property practitioner

    Get professional help with your sale

    Communication is key from the onset when it comes to the sale of your property. You want it to be a transparent process so you and your buyer are satisfied. Having an experienced property practitioner in your court can make the process easier. They can help you draw up your agreement of sale and walk you through fixtures that you might consider keeping or leaving behind. Seeff is the team you need for a successful sale. Contact us today to get started.

    Author: Seeff Property Group
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