What is considered a fixture of the home -- which stays after the sale -- and what is personal property for the seller to take? This often causes a lot of confusion for sellers and buyers alike. It is important to know what will be included in your purchase, especially if you have limited funds once the deal is done and cannot afford to run out and buy new draperies.
Hopefully this clears up this often confusing issue.
The items that stay in the home are legally referred to as fixtures, and this includes anything that is permanently attached to the property. It also includes anything that would ruin or disfigure the lawn, walls, porch, fencing, etc. if removed. Examples of fixtures of the home include:
What goes with the seller is known as personal property, and it includes anything that can be easily disconnected or detached from the home. Never assume you will keep any personal property in the sale, but if something catches your eye, you can certainly try to reach an agreement with the seller and get it in the purchase agreement. Examples of personal property include:
While some items are clear cut, there tends to be a lot of confusion about certain types
of items and some may blur the line between personal property and fixtures. Here are some examples.
What happens if personal property gets converted into a fixture?
Most appliances that simply need to be unplugged are considered personal property. Others that require a water filtration hookup or a gas line hookup may be considered a fixture, however.
In California, courts use the following tests to determine what is a fixture and
what is personal property, and an item does not need to meet every test. This method is called MARIA.
The most important thing to remember is you can always clear up confusion early on by asking your agent if a particular item will stay or go. While the agent may not know, he or she can ask the seller's agent and specify your interest in the purchase agreement.
If there are items you want included with the home, be specific in the purchase agreement, including models, makes and even colors in some cases. Including these specific details will avoid a bait-and-switch or showing up when you get the keys to find something missing.