Many of you have said I should write a book about all of my real estate stories, and 14 years later, they are really starting to pile up. But this week’s story I just had to share. This week I accompanied my buyers on a walk-through of their new home only to discover that the Seller had taken the master bathroom toilet with him when he moved out! Hard to imagine, I am sure. No, it wasn’t handed down from great-grandma causing an emotional attachment, but it was a $1500 Toto toilet. And so the question of fixtures comes into play.
When you sell a home, you sell with it everything that is “affixed” to the home. Affixed items include any item that is attached with a nail, screw, bolt or is wired in. Mirrors handing on a hook can be detached and moved with you. Mirrors attached be a screw must stay. Shelving that is affixed to the wall must stay – free-standing units that are not screwed in any way to the wall can move with you. Lighting fixtures stay – they are hardwired into the house (although free standing lamps can move with you). It’s a reasonably obvious standard, but before you list your home for sale, its critical that you walk through the home and assess what is attached. If any of the attached items are things you want to take with you, it’s best to replace them before a buyer ever sees your home. Believe it or not, sellers have lost deals over chandeliers that buyers just had to have and they couldn’t leave behind. If the seller had removed the chandelier to begin with, it would not have become and issue and the sale may have gone through. If there are items you plan to take and you absolutely cannot remove them in advance, then you must list them in the sales contract as exclusions.
Buyers, when you decide to buy a home, it is reasonable to assume that certain things will stay behind. Yes, vanities, dishwashers, garbage disposals – all of those type items should be obvious to all. But if there are specific things you want, be sure to have your agent include them in the agreement of sale. Things like curtains, refrigerators, wine refrigerators, washers, dryers, ceiling fan remotes, mirrors on hooks all need to be specifically included or they wont be there when you close. But don’t worry – the Toto toilet will be there, or will be replaced by the seller in advance of closing – it’s a fixture and it must stay!