Hey! That's Comin' With Me!

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

In the world of real estate there are many laws and practices that need to be totally understood in order to effectively buy and sell real estate for a living.  Obviously these laws and practices are covered in the first few days of studying to earn your real estate license.

Having worked in the real estate industry for several years there is a lot of confusion about some of the differences between what is considered real property and what is considered personal property, what is a permanent fixture and what is a movable fixture.

Simply put, real property is anything that is physically attached to the land or the property.  This includes permanent fixtures that are obviously meant to stay with the property or are not easily removed.  Personal property is anything that is easily moveable and not intended for permanent attachment to the property.

I have went to many listing appointments where the potential client doesn’t even mention something they plan to take with them not knowing that it is considered a permanent fixture and is included as real property rather than personal property, and technically needs to stay with the home and convey to the buyer.  It was my job to educate them on these laws and practices and make sure they understood the difference.  There is nothing worse then discovering these discrepancies while sitting at a closing table.

I have also seen situations arise from the buyers perspective.  For example, a buyer tours a home and loves the home.  One of the reasons they love the home so much is that it has these amazing light fixtures.  The buyer is assuming that those fixtures are part of the house and the seller unknowingly figured they would be coming with them.

The truth of the matter is that some things are considered permanent fixtures and therefore a part of the conveyance of real property, while others are considered movable fixtures and may be removed by the seller upon sale of the home. An example of something considered a permanent fixture may be the backyard playground you just built and cemented the poles into the ground.  An example of something considered a movable fixture would be a outdoor plant that is potted and easily transported.

So if you are a buyer that is touring a home and interested in making an offer, make sure that you inquire about certain items that may or may not be a part of the real property so as not to feel deceived later on.

If you are a seller, make sure that your Realtor is clear on your intentions and that he clearly explains the do’s and don’t with these types of issues.

Just another reason why using a real estate professional is imperative to a smooth and comfortable transaction.

Tim Brown
Owner/Broker, Realtor®, ABR,CRS,CDPE®
Auctioneer NCAL#8560
Hines & Associates Realty
Direct Line: 704-619-1008
Client Care Line: 704-815-3208


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Linda Jamail Marshall 07/04/2011 04:48 AM
  2. Gene Riemenschneider 07/05/2011 07:13 AM
Home Selling
charlotte nc real estate
personal property
real property

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Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

That is a awesome light fixture I would have wanted to take it too!

Jul 03, 2011 07:35 AM #30
Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL
SaraMana Properties - QuickFreeMLS.com - Bradenton, FL
QuickFreeMLS.com - Listings In Paradise

A scenario that happens again and again. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Jul 03, 2011 08:37 AM #31
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Our contract forms are pretty specific about naming fixtures and personal property. That helps with the problem, but doesn't solve it completely, as many have noted.

Jul 04, 2011 03:38 AM #33
Linda Jamail Marshall
Linda Marshall,Houston Texas, Linda Marshall, Realtors® - Houston, TX
Broker, ABR,QSC,RECS,ACRE - Innerloop Houston, Tex

Here in Texas we have to include a Non Realty Item Addendum to detail things that are not generally included.

Also our volumonous contracts have specific details of what is actually 'attached" and lines for exclusions or exceptions to that huge paragraph.  Fortunately these contracts are pretty idiot proof for all concerned.

Great POST!!!

Jul 04, 2011 04:45 AM #34
Jerry Gray
Wilkinson ERA Real Estate - Winston-Salem, NC
Serving the Triad Since 1980

Tim...Excellent points, but often not mentioned in talks with the sellers.



Jerry Gray CRB,CRS,GRI,SFR / Allen Tate Realtors / Winston Salem, NC / 336-918-2433

Jul 04, 2011 05:05 AM #35
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

You have to ask - I do this on every listing presentation. Tell me what you want to take with & then we go from there.  Strip out the house is just wrong.  I feel all lighting fixtures stay with the home.

Jul 04, 2011 05:26 AM #36
Marshall Brown
Mid America Inspection Services, LLC - Fargo, ND

Misunderstandings in this area can result in some very disgruntled transaction participants and some stressed out Realtors trying keep things moving forward.

Jul 04, 2011 05:26 AM #37
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Tim:

I read and re-read your post to see if I was missing something, and perhaps I still am.

The example you with light fixtures the answer is clear, they convey with the house unless the seller has expressly excluded them and the replacement is acceptable to the buyer i.e. no bare wires hanging down from the ceiling, etc.

Sellers who plan to take anything out of a home after it was presented to the market with specific items should make it painstakingly clear what they plan to take. Brass wall switch plates are very stylish and they are attached, they stay. I once had a seller who wanted to take a special memorial tree planted to celebrate his daughter’s birth. It was only six months old so removal was not a huge issue. We clearly and expressly named that item and the buyer was perfectly OK with because it was agreed up front.

Jul 04, 2011 05:34 AM #38
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Tim,  Sellers should remove all items they wish to take with them or put some kind of colored tag on it.  Much easier to identify which items do not convey than to fight about it later !!!   Hope your 4th is the best !

Jul 04, 2011 05:48 AM #39
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

When I was an agent I always told sellers that if there was a "permanent fixture" that they didn't intend to leave, to take it out before we began showing the house. For instance - Grandma's chandelier. Replace those items with fixtures that will stay, so the buyer can see what they're getting.

I saw a transaction blow up once because the seller refused to leave a medicine cabinet and a wooden gate that her late father had built.

Jul 04, 2011 05:55 AM #40
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick

You can never assume that buyers and sellers will do or know something.  I once had a seller remove the toilet paper rolls, toilet seats, and towel racks.................

Jul 04, 2011 05:59 AM #41
Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty

I am currently dealing with an attorney to sell an estate property.  We have a contract and are waiting for court approval. Our contract has an ammendment that allows the seller to remove or leave any items of personal property inside or outside of the house.

The attorney handling the transaction, allowed a man to cut the grass and clean the yard in exchange for some tomato cages left in the overgrown garden spot.

The buyer had a fit, even though I pointed out that he had signed teh agreement allowing any items to be removed.  He claims the cages were attached because they were istuck n the ground.

Jul 04, 2011 07:43 AM #42
Deb Espinoza
Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate - Ramona, CA
GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE

I have to agree with Kristy #5- have the seller take it out and replace it before it goes on the market; because like the toast that always falls face down on the ground, the buyer will come in and want the house ONLY if the house comes with that one item the seller absolutely won't part with. Mr Murphy at work again!

Jul 04, 2011 02:03 PM #43
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

I ask up front but still get surprises occasionally. Part of the deal. Always go thru it on the offer. Contracts are pretty specific these days... 

Jul 04, 2011 04:10 PM #44
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

I recently had a situation with this representing the buyer...the seller decided he was going to take many of the permanent fixutres.  I think it's a great idea to have this discussion prior to listing a home because as you said, dealing with it at the closing table isn't going to be fun for anyone!

Jul 04, 2011 06:32 PM #45
Ed Aus, Jr
Taylor Properties - Westminster, MD

Out of sight out of mind generally works best. Much better than having to say that this does not convey.

Jul 05, 2011 12:51 AM #46
Kunni Biener

I have spend years of my life as a settlement attorney discussing chandaliers and basketball hoops.  Thanks for the reminder. I once even had a garage opener and an attic fan NOT properly installed so that the sellers could take them with them. What were they thinking?

Jul 05, 2011 02:56 AM #47
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

If you want to take it with you take it down/off/out before you even put the home on the market.  That generally takes care of most of the problem.  If it is an appliance make it clear on the MLS.

Jul 05, 2011 07:05 AM #48
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

If the sellers want it they should disclose or remove it before it gets shown. That is a question/ statement that the listing agent should cover with the seller.

Jul 05, 2011 04:17 PM #49
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

It's a bummer to get to the walk through to find out mirros and fixtures, etc. gone that you expected to be there.  Our Idaho contract specifically states what is considered included items that are fixtures, but I still think it is good for buyers to note anything in the contract that they want to make sure stays, and likewise the seller needs to specifically note anything that they intend to take. 

Jul 06, 2011 05:39 PM #50
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