Who does it belong to?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Abacus Properties Inc.

Some buyers closed escrow and as they entered their new home, to their surprise all of the mirrors in the bathrooms had been removed.  Only bare paint remained in their place.  The buyers were frustrated and felt cheated.

Did they have reason to feel this way?  And how can we avoid situations like these from occurring in the future?

Let's take a brief look fixtures and their definitions.  A fixture begins as personal property but becomes a fixture once it is fixed (or annexed) to the home.  This is usually done by the application of plaster, cement, screws, nuts, bolts, or nails.

There are a few tests the courts use to determine whether something is personal property or a fixture.

1.) Annexation-this is the most basic test used, how securely was the item fixed to the property?

2.) Adaptation-this refers to whether the item is vital and adapted to the use of the property.  Is the item a custom piece made for the home or is it a standardized piece that can be easily moved and put into another property?

3.) Intention-did the owner install the piece to increase the value of the home?  Usually the rules of annexation and adaptation, show the intention of the owner.

Your best bet is to ask lots of questions when buying a home.  And when selling your home, be sure to disclose items you'd like to remove when you sell.  Your highest advantage is having an agent that can walk you through these challenges, and perhaps avoid this difficult situation all together!

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