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My advice: list everything

If you’re just getting started in the process to buy a home, you might not have thought about this potential problem.

When you buy a home, you pretty much are buying the physical structure as well as anything nailed down or attached to the property.

A refrigerator is not nailed down.

Neither is a washer. Or a dryer.

Neither are drapes or shades.

You might only realize this after you close on your new purchase, and walk in the door, only to realize that the grand bookcase in the living room is gone, like the wind.

It can happen. And, it does, often. It’s all legal.

During this peak home sales season, when thousands of houses and condominiums will be sold, buyers and sellers need to be aware of what is legally included and excluded from their sale.

Most home buyers and sellers, and even their real estate agents, often do not understand the simple law of fixtures.

A “fixture” is moveable personal property, which, by means of bolts, nails, screws, cement, glue, or other attachment method, has been converted to real property.

Plants and trees growing in the ground are considered to be fixtures because they are permanently attached to the land by roots.

To sum it up, when in doubt, include the items you want the sellers to leave behind, listed one by one.

More: Home for sale: Rose garden not included – By Robert J. Bruss, Inman News, by way of The Boston Globe

2 Responses to My advice: list everything

  • we bought a house in 1996 and the tenants (not the owners,

    tenants in the unit of the multi-family) who had to move out so we could have a place to live took

    the ceiling light fixtures and all the light switches/dimmer switches etc… with them.

    we

    were kind of shocked, because these things ARE nailed down. so to speak.

    we called our

    buyer’s broker who researched it with the seller’s agent. he said that the tenants installed all

    the fixtures while living there, and felt they were their property. the lights BELONGED to them,

    because they bought them and paid for them… AND because we didn’t specify that we wanted to keep

    them in the P&S.

    how they got to review the P&S and discover that we didn’t

    mention we wanted lighting fixtures as the tenants and not the seller is interesting… i think

    they were in cahoots with the seller to find a way to screw us over because they were pissed we

    were making them move out… but they were in the 3bd unit and didn’t want to move into the 2bd

    unit, which we offered to them. We had 2 kids, we needed the 3bd… they were being assy the entire

    time.

    Anyway — by the time we got in there, made this discovery the morning of the walk

    through, pitched a fit and yelled and screamed, the tenants were long gone without a forwarding

    address or location known to the seller. we insisted on money for replacement and the seller

    refused.

    it got ugly. but… lesson learned. we sold that house in 2006 and moved into a new

    one, and everything we wanted (including the woodstove) was mentioned in the p&s.