What causes heartbreak to a new homeowner? Walking in the door an hour after closing and realizing that the seller has taken 1) all the drapes; 2) all the floor lamps and hanging chandeliers; and, 3) the refrigerator.

Legal? Most definitely (the chandeliers are the only items up for debate …).

What’s a fixture? Something attached to the wall, something bolted on. Something you can’t remove without a screwdriver or a wrench.

If you are buying a home, make sure you are specific about what you are expecting to be included in the sale. Otherwise, you may be in for a surprise.

Question: I recently bought a house. The seller and/or his real estate agent took all the three sets of washers and dryers in this large house before I got the keys. I think the washers and dryers are fixtures, not to be removed by the seller or the agent. What can I do about this?

Answer: Any moveable appliance that is not permanently attached to the structure, such as by bolts or built-in like a dishwasher, is not a fixture and remains personal property.

The time to negotiate the items are before you sign the offer. This is for the obvious reasons, but also for this reason: plenty of times, things happen after an offer is signed that cause seller and buyer to get annoyed with each other (read: threaten lawsuits). If you don’t itemize what’s to be included, you may find the seller takes just about everything he or she can, out of spite.

More: Laundry machines gone, buyers want answers – By Bob Bruss, Inman News, by way of Realtor.org

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Updated: 1st Quarter 2018

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