What is Included in a Home Purchase?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

For Sale SignWhat is Included in a Home Purchase? 

There can often be confusion on the part of buyers as to which items come with a property and which do not.  This is particularly true if the listing broker has left the items vague in the listing.  It is crucial to spell things out, but if they have not been, there are some general rules to follow. 

Real Property vs. Personal Property  

For the purpose of a real estate transaction, Real Property is the land and everything attached to it, including the ground to the core of the Earth and up to the sky. This would encompass the building, landscaping trees and anything that is appurtenant to the land or which is considered to be immovable by law.  

The way that most Realtors® think of this is through the term, "fixtures." Items which are attached to the property will most likely be staying with it.  Examples of fixtures are: 

  • Wall-to-wall carpeting
  • Attached lighting
  • Built-in stoves and ovens
  • Built-in microwaves
  • Ceiling fans 

These items include, but are not limited to, the furnace as well as the kitchen sink. 

If an attached item like a family favorite chandelier is not going to be left behind the listing broker needs to list this as an "exclusion."  Some people are also quite fond of certain bushes in their yard.  If they plan on taking any of them they need to be itemized on the listing. 

Personal Property is that which is not attached, such as: 

  • Refrigerators
  • Scatter rugs
  • Free-standing lamps
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • A Grand Piano 

Window Treatments can often be points of negotiation since they are sometimes custom made for the area and, really, of little value to the seller. You may be surprised at the cost of some custom window treatments.  They can actually run into thousands of dollars.  So, if you like the drapes - you may want to ask for them. 

Most importantly, all of these items need to be completely spelled out in the offer.  If you are asking for anything that could be considered a personal property, like the refrigerator, put it in writing.  

When in doubt - be specific.  

On closing day, you will be happy that you were.


Copyright 2010 "What is Included in a Home Purchase?"

Written by

Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230

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Comments (6)

Stacey Smith
Keller Williams Realty - Aliso Viejo, CA
Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor

Always good reminders, especially for short sale home buyers... You might want to leave those granite countertops behind dude along with the shower head, ceiling fans, and toliets!

Sep 10, 2010 10:19 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Good advice Claudette, the words "I thought that was staying" is a deals kiss of death, much better to put it in the contract. I go one step further so as not to change the appraisers job of assigning value, by suggesting the items to remain are being left for the sake of convenience and are of no monetary value to the sale.

Sep 10, 2010 10:30 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Your short sellers take the granite countertops, shower heads and toilets?  Say it isn't so.


Yes, "I thought that was staying" can also mean that we open our checkbook... 

That is a good thought but if you don't specify that they are staying, might not the seller "accidentally" taken them?

Sep 10, 2010 01:24 PM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Claudette, great points for buyers and sellers to know.  Our purchase contracts now spell most of that out, but it's still good practice to include what ever the buyer wants in the addendum.

Sep 10, 2010 04:04 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Hi, Nick:

I had an incident last summer when my buyers thought the washer and dryer should have stayed with the house. It was actually stated in the purchase and sale agreement erroneously by the seller's attorney. Since it had not been the original intention, the sellers had taken them. This made for some up-happiness at the closing table.

I like to have all of this spelled out - correctly.


Sep 10, 2010 04:11 PM
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Claudette - Nice list. Our area is starting to label the fridge. We are also stating the fridge with model numbers. Sometimes you think your getting the stainless fridge in the kitchen and in the end you get the pale beige one that had been in the garage. The seller says "here is the fridge". So specifics is required.

Then today I showed a multi million dollar home that was staged. The buyer asks "are the window coverings included" The other agent and I looked at each other and said "everything is negotiable, just put in the offer".

Sep 10, 2010 04:30 PM