If you’re like most people, you know that when you sell your home, some things - like the light fixtures and other features that are attached to the house - stay for the buyers.
But what exactly is a “fixture,” and what can you take with you when you go?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Can You - and Can't You - Take When You Sell Your Home?
First things first: If you take something with you that you haven’t negotiated to keep, the buyer can come back on you in court. (At the very least, the buyer could refuse to complete the sale, leaving you in the lurch.)
Here are a few guidelines that should help you figure out what you can and can’t keep when you move out:
If it’s attached to the house, it probably has to stay.
Landscaping usually comes with the house.
Outdoor features stuck in the ground should stay stuck.
Light fixtures are… well, fixtures.
Window treatments should treat the windows they were intended for.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
#1. If it’s attached to the house, it probably has to stay.
Immovable elements of a home, like built-in furniture (a Murphy bed, for example), fences and anything that you had to modify the house for typically needs to stay with the home. For example, if you put an air conditioner in the window, it’s personal property and goes with you when you move - but if you cut a hole in the wall to mount it, it’s more likely a fixture.
#2. Landscaping usually comes with the house.
You can’t dig up a tree or a bunch of plants without addressing it in your purchase contract first. For example, if you’re bringing your mother-in-law’s rosebush with you when you go, you need to let the buyers know that ahead of time. Otherwise, landscaping plants are part of the property.
#3. Outdoor features stuck in the ground should stay stuck.
You wouldn’t try to move an in-ground swimming pool, so carry that thought with you to anything else that’s anchored in the ground. A basketball hoop that’s cemented in, a play space that’s anchored in or anything else that’s actually attached stays with the house. Again, though, if there’s something you want to take - like that costly playground set - make sure it’s addressed in your purchase contract.
#4. Light fixtures are… well, fixtures.
The light fixtures in your home stay unless you’ve hashed out the details with the buyer. If you don’t mention it in the contract but you try to take it anyway, the buyer can come back on you. (An alternative is replacing all the light fixtures before you even list your home - if buyers never see your gorgeous chandelier, they can’t want it to come with the home.)
#5. Window treatments should treat the windows they were intended for.
Usually, blinds and curtain rods stay put when you sell your home. However, the curtains themselves - because they just come right off the rods - can go with you. If you’re not sure about your window treatments, talk to your real estate agent about it before you list your house.
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