The home selling and buying process can be confusing. This is especially true when it is a FSBO (for sale by owner) operation. It’s even tougher when neither the seller nor the buyer is in the real estate business. This article sorts through what stays in the house or condo when it’s sold.
Attachments – Literally!
In most states, the term “attached” takes on a unique meaning in real estate. Essentially, it boils down to this, “If it’s attached to the real estate, it’s no longer personal property.” Practically speaking, anything attached to the home stays with it when ownership is transferred. Applying this concept, it’s easy to see why chandeliers, doorknobs and kitchen cabinets stay.
To determine whether something stays or goes, focus on the attachment issue. Plants can often be a confusing item. Generally, it they are planted in the ground, they stay. If they are in planters, they go. With other items, just look to see if they are attached to the property.
I Am Seller – Hear Me Roar!
If you’re a seller, you’ve probably spent a good bit of time and effort on the property. What if you want to take a few attached items with you? Can you legally keep it? What if you’re thinking, “That fixture hanging over the breakfast table has a real Tiffany shade? It was a wedding present from Aunt Elizabeth. I’m keeping it!”
Keep your shirt on. There are a couple of ways that typically work when you want to keep an item or two of this sort. The first is to simply state in your offering “blah, blah, and blah do not convey.” (If it really matters, call an attorney to get the language right) This approach has one drawback. Human nature being acquisitive as it is, your buyer will probably immediately want at least two and the items will become a bone of contention.
There is a better way to deal with this situation. Before putting you home on the market, remove all items that have become attached to the real estate. Buy another hanging lamp, hang it and pack your Tiffany lamp. Do that for all items of this sort. Be sure to replace each with something attractive and do it well enough that it’s not obvious that a change has been made. When prospective buyers look at your home, everything they see will stay with the home. You are happy, they are happy, everyone is happy! Life is good.
Analyze your home for attachments before you put it on the market. You wouldn’t want to make Aunt Elizabeth angry by losing the wedding present she gave you.
Russell J. Montjoy
Exit Deluxe reality
4600 N Park Ave.
Chevy Chase, Md. 20815