This is a question we hear frequently and the answer is: it depends.
On whether or not the appliance is considered personal property or a fixture.
What’s the difference between personal property and a fixtures?
The former includes anything that is not permanently affixed to the home and can be removed without damaging the structure. Examples of personal property include:
- Most refrigerators, washers and dryers
- A range that isn’t built in to the cabinetry
- Outdoor potted plants
- Curtains and draperies
A fixture, on the other hand, is anything that is permanently attached to the property or structures on the property and to remove them would cause damage to the home. Fixtures include:
- A built-in microwave, dishwasher or range.
- Chandelier that is hardwired into the ceiling
- In-ground plants
- Ceiling fan
- Plantation shutters and blinds on the windows
What is and what is not a fixture confuses many homebuyers and sellers. There are several “tests” you can perform to separate personal property from fixtures.
- How is the item attached to the home? “Use of nails, bolts, cement or glue indicates permanent attachment,” according to Robert J. Bruss at com.
- The item was installed explicitly for the property. Wall-to-wall carpet is an example.
If in doubt about anything, however, ask your listing agent.
There is a way to get around this
You and the buyer can agree to include or exclude a fixture from the sale as long as the wishes are stated in the agreement and agreed to by both parties.
For instance, the seller wants to remove the dining room chandelier, as it belonged to his grandmother and he has a sentimental attachment to it. He can either remove and replace it before the home goes on the market (the smartest move) or try to get the buyer to agree to exclude it from his or her purchase of the home.
As mentioned earlier, the best course of action is to remove and replace any fixtures you want to take with you when you move.
Before you put your home on the market, take a tour of the interior and the exterior and remove anything that you don’t want to sell with the home that might be considered a fixture.
It is important to do this before buyers visit the home.
Consider each fixture carefully and, should you decide to take it with you, consider the cost to replace and install another. For example, expensive ceiling fans are often removed and replaced with another.
Another common fixture that sellers remove are certain landscape plants that they value. Since they’re fixtures when planted in the ground, get them dug up and into a pot before showing the home to buyers.
Again, removing and replacing items must be done before showing the home to potential buyers. If you have any doubts as to whether or not an item is a fixture, please ask. We’re happy to help.