What stays and what goes when buying or selling a house?

April 3, 2016

One of the biggest sources of misunderstanding in the sale of a home is what stays in the home and what goes with the seller. At the time of sale, fixtures transfer to the new owner with the property unless they are specifically excluded in the purchase contract.

light fixtureSo what is a fixture in real estate? It is personal property permanently attached to the structure or land. For example, a dining room chandelier new in the box is personal property, but once it is installed and wired into the ceiling it becomes a fixture. A pile of lumber in the backyard is personal property, but once it is used to build a deck attached to the house it becomes a fixture.

Generally, though, the basic rule is this: if it’s nailed down, it stays. If it’s not, it goes—unless otherwise negotiated. Always best to clarify everything in writing in the “Offer to Purchase”, to avoid misunderstandings.

Here’s a primer on the basics of what stays in the house for the new owner and what goes with the seller: What stays…what goes