The task of home buying is often a mysterious one. Many begin the process months or sometimes even years in advance. They’ve done their homework. They’ve combed the market, investigated various neighborhoods and have a grasp on the differences between one school district over another. Perhaps you can relate. As a prospective homebuyer, you may have seen over a dozen properties with your REALTOR® and you’re pre-qualified (with a mortgage lender) to make your move. You’re getting close.
In the excitement of purchasing a home, you can overlook things which might rub you the wrong way. Make sure to thoroughly review your inspection report, pay attention to your timetable and consult your agent for advice on how to stay grounded throughout the process. It’s not uncommon for the parties to a transaction in haste to mistaken certain items as being included in the sale, which are not part of your purchase.
Don’t get caught under the assumption that these are part of your deal. Keep your radar up and when in doubt, spell it out… in your sales agreement.
Before we go any further, we should clarify one important point with respect to fixtures. In real estate, fixtures are defined as physical property that are permanently fixed to real property, therefore becoming part of the property. Black’s Law Dictionary provides a succinct explanation of what fixtures are: “personal property that is attached to land or a building and that is regarded as an irremovable part of the real property.” For furtherer clarification, click here.
Here are six items some buyers wished were included in their home purchase that aren’t:
Flat-screen TVs aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, smart, Internet-ready televisions are presently part of the American dream. Netflix, Hulu and the like, in some ways, have elevated the home entertainment experience. Part of the experience includes things like responsive LED backlighting and wall-mounts for your TV. Unlike the backlighting, these mounts can create problems for buyers and sellers alike. Does the mount constitute a fixture or not? Taking the TV-mount off the wall almost certainly creates damage to the property that would need to be amended prior to the final walk-through. It’s definitely a source of debate between both parties.
You’ve fallen in love with that strange shower curtain in a home you’re attempting to buy. I get it, the curtain feels like the perfect fit and it’s already in place. Usually they’re in need of replacing and may have met their match with mildew over the months/years. But if you must have it, don’t hesitate to ask the seller and go from there.
Believe it or not, I’ve come across transactions over the years where sellers wanted to take the lighting fixtures with them. Perhaps a chandelier was a family heirloom or an antique that couldn’t be replaced and the homeowner never had any intentions of selling it with the home. Regardless of the reason for wanting to remove it, the seller must spell this out ahead of time to avoid fire and fury. Sandy Gadow has a good post regarding this issue. Of course, I think the best advice for any owner who plans to keep a lighting fixture is to remove and replace it with something appropriate prior to the home being placed on the market.
It’s no secret, we brought this news story to your attention last summer – millennials love their pets. With millennials now constituting over one-third of the homebuyers in the national market, I believe we’ll witness even more situations where sellers and buyers want pets included with the home purchase. Do you want Sadie or Duke to live in the only home they’ve ever known even after you move? It wouldn’t be the first time that request has been made.
Yes, even the hot tub can become a source of trepidation between the parties to a real estate transaction. As a buyer, you don’t want to assume it stays only to complete your pre-settlement walk-through or worst yet, move into your new home to discover the hot tub is missing from the property. Hot tubs and spas come in all different shapes and sizes. There are so many variations to tub design and how they are hooked up to a property that what truly constitutes a fixture in these situations can be quite complicated.
If staged right, many homes, especially in the luxury market can inspire home shoppers to act. They can even feel compelled to want everything included in the sale of the home. At times such as these, it’s important for homeowners and buyers to negotiate the terms of their agreement. Furniture isn’t usually included, but there are instances where a homebuyer will desire particular pieces of furniture as part of the sale. Antique furniture is more closely associated with the real property, but even in those cases, clarification is needed.
The moral of the story is this: Be as detailed as possible when creating the terms to your agreement of sale for real estate. Sellers need to give some hard thought to items they intend to take with them when they move. Homebuyers need to likewise never assume an item, which may or may not be considered a fixture will be left behind for their use. The easiest way to avoid anger and confusion is by writing it out in the agreement.