What Stays with a Home when Purchased?
When You Buy or Sell A Home, What Stays and What Goes?
It is always nice to know what you are buying. In the case of a home, what stays with the home vs goes with the seller can make a big difference in how the buyer & seller perceive the sale. There are some general rules that apply to the physical house & garage, anything attached to the house in a 'permanent' manner and anything else. However, the 2 most important rules to live by are: (a) make sure everything that stays and everything that goes is in writing as part of the contract and (b) everything is negotiable.
As a General Rule, the following items remain with the house:
- The house, garage and obvious improvements: slab or foundation, walls, doors, windows, roof and roofing material, patios or decks, wall to wall carpeting or other flooring, heating & A/C equipment, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, wiring or electrical, etc
- Fixtures that are attached to the house: kitchen & bathroom cabinets, built in book shelves, shutters, screens, awnings, ceiling fans, TV antennas or satellite dishes, security & fire detection equipment, garage door openers, chandeliers, wall-mounted mirrors, mailboxes, water softeners, etc
- Appliances that are attached to the house: dishwashers, built-in microwaves, ovens, stoves or ranges, built-in wine coolers, etc
- Landscaping & exterior fixtures: lawn, shrubbery, flowers, mulch, rocks or stones, inground sprinkler system, inground or above ground pools or spas, pool or spa equipment, attached outdoor cooking equipment, etc
- Accessories to the house: window A/C units, fireplace screens, curtains & rods, blinds, window shades, draperies & rods, artificial fireplace logs, controls for satellite or antenna or garage door openers, mailbox & door keys, etc
As a General Rule, the following items go with the seller:
- Appliances that are NOT attached to the house: refrigerators, washers, dryers, countertop microwaves, etc
- Personal property: furniture, clothing, detached book shelves or other storage, linens, throw rugs, pictures, etc
Exceptions to the General Rules:
- A seller can identify an item, say a special curtain set or chandelier, that they want to keep & not sell with the house. This item would have to be clearly identified in the contract in the Exclusions to property section, the Special Provisions or in an Addendum. It would need to be agreed upon by both buyer and seller, in the contract, for the seller to legally remove the item.
- A buyer can identify an item, say a refrigerator or piece of furniture, that they want to remain with the house. This item would have to be clearly identified in the contract in the Special Provisions or in an Addendum. It would need to be agreed upon by both buyer and seller, in the contract, for the seller to legally be required to leave the item.
The 2 Most Important Rules to Live By Are:
- Get everything in writing. The contract and/or addenda should clearly identify what stays with the house and what goes with the seller.
- Everything is negotiable. If the seller wants to keep something that normally stays with the home or if the buyer wants to have something remain with the home that normally goes with the seller...negotiate it in & document the agreement in the contract.