If you’re like most people selling a home, there are some parts of it that you love – but can you take them with you when you go? This guide explains home fixtures and what has to stay behind when you sell your house.
Fixtures: What Do You Have to Leave Behind When You Sell Your Home?
First things first: If you take something that you didn’t agree with the buyer to take, you could find your sale in trouble. Buyers may decide to walk away from a deal at the last minute, costing you a sale and forcing you to list your home all over again. But it may even be worse than that – you could find yourself in legal hot water.
If you’re not sure what you’re allowed to take with you when you move, talk to your REALTOR® – and if there’s something you really, really want to take, make sure you let your real estate agent know that it won’t be staying with the property when you move. For example, if you’re madly in love with your foyer chandelier and want to take it to your new home, you have to let your agent know that you want to take it; otherwise, buyers will expect it to be there during their final walk-through on closing day.
Related: Common closing costs for cash buyers
Here’s the scoop on what stays and what you can take with you:
- Your personal property, such as your furniture, goes with you. The exception is when it’s permanently attached to your home, such as a built-in bench under the stairs or a motorized lift affixed to the wall beside your stairs.
- If anything is nailed down, mounted or bolted in place, it most likely stays behind. Immovable fixtures such as fences, storage sheds, and built-in furnishings typically belong to the new homeowner.
- If the house has been modified for a feature, the feature most likely stays with the house. For example, if a hole has been cut in a wall for an air conditioner, the air conditioner is property that belongs to the new owner – not you.
- Landscaping, unless otherwise negotiated, stays put. You can’t dig up a tree in your front yard and move it to your new home without a pre-made agreement with your buyer.
- Anchored outdoor items, like basketball hoops poured into concrete and tennis nets stuck in the ground, generally stay put. However, a freestanding basketball hoop is yours to take with you when you go.
- Light fixtures. They’re attached to the house, so if you really want to keep one, you’ll have to let your REALTOR know to put it in your contract. Even better, you should take out the things you don’t want to sell with your home before you even list the house – problem solved.
- Window treatments usually stay with the house. Even if you spent a pretty penny on the blinds, they’re part of the house. Drapes, not so much – they slide off, and you can typically take them with you when you go. The rods may have to stay, though; talk to your real estate agent about the specifics.
- Mirrors that are attached to the wall because they’re bolted to studs stay, but if they’re hung like a picture would be, they’re generally considered personal property.
- Related: Why “days on market” matters in a home listing
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