Mounted TV

When you are looking at buying a home, it is hard for some people to look past the owners’ personal belongings, and some blur the lines between fixtures (items attached to the home) and chattels (personal property to leave the home with the owners).  When listing a home for sale, it is imperative to be specific about what things are to be included and excluded from the purchase.  The same thing goes for buying a home, and making sure all the items thought to be included, stay in the home.

Fixture vs. Chattel

The simple explanation and difference between these two is as follows.  If you were able to pick up the home, and turn it over, everything that falls out would be a chattel (personal item) and anything that stayed attached is a fixture.  When you purchase a home, all the lighting fixtures, faucets, mounted cabinets, built in items should stay.  Stools, appliances (not attached), furniture, tables etc. will move with their owners.  To be specific on these things, as a buyer, always be clear with things you expect to stay in the home as part of the negotiations.  Even though the dishwasher is attached, include it with the other appliances, just to be 100% sure both parties know it is included.

Grey Areas

Central Vacuum and all the attachments.  The canister itself is attached to the home, and even though to you it may make sense the attachments would stay, maybe the owner is purchasing a home that has central vacuum that is roughed in, and is planning on installing it, and wants to save money on the attachments.

Pool equipment is another thing that needs to be clear.  All the chemicals and equipment needed to maintain the pool (covers, skimmer, chlorine) should be clarified as well.

The wall mounted television.  The TV itself isn’t attached to the wall, it’s attached to the mounting bracket, and the bracket is attached to the wall.  You could move in and expect a new TV for you there, and find a) TV mounted to wall b) the bracket hanging on the wall c) TV and bracket gone, holes in wall d) TV and bracket gone, holes fixed.  Be clear on what stays, what goes, and what it is supposed to look like.  If the sellers state they are taking the TV and bracket, make sure it is clear who is to fix the holes, or if some compensation will be made to fix it.

Mirrors can be tricky as well.  Typically we see mirrors in bathrooms stay, don’t expect the rest of the mirrors in the home to stay, unless you specify that they will.

Extra house materials like paint and flooring.  It is nice to have some touch up paints, or the codes to go and get the touch up paint in case you don’t plan on painting right away.  It is also nice to have the extra flooring pieces in case of repair, or for colour matching when remodeling.  Some buyers will want it, some want it gone.  Be clear on it.

Garden/Yard items.  Do the garden gnomes stay?  Does the swing set?  How about the bird bath?  If you expect them to stay, make sure you know if they do, or if they are not going to be there.

Light Fixtures.  Even though they are called fixtures, sometimes we see them disappear before closing date.  As a seller, make sure the antique chandelier you are taking with you is written in as an exclusion in the deal.  Make sure the buyer knows it will not be staying.

Sellers Clarity

As a seller, if there is anything you want to go with you on your move, make sure ALL potential buyers know it will be leaving.  Better yet, if it going with you, make sure buyers don’t see it at all.  If you are going to take the antique chandelier anyway, have it taken down and stored, and replace it with a fixture that suits the design of the room.  The simpler we can make it for everyone, the better.  A very easy transaction can become very nasty and problematic over a minor little thing.  As a real estate professional it is easier to keep our emotions in check, as a buyer or seller it becomes personal very quickly.