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It’s Time to Move: What Stays in the Home?
By Pam Evans – May 25, 2016 – Click here for full article and credits
When preparing to sell your home, having an understanding of what you’re expected to leave will help you develop a proper sales strategy.
When it comes to selling your home, it’s easy to assume that if you paid for it, it should go with you when you leave. However, while things like bushes, doors, and windows clearly stay with the home (even if you paid to have them installed), there are other items that tend to be a bit more questionable—i.e. your washer and dryer, the hall chandelier, and those floor-to-ceiling drapes.
For the most part, the general rule states that, “If it’s nailed down, it stays,” but, as with most things in real estate, this principle may be up for negotiation. At the end of the day, it’s important to speak with your Realtor about the specifics of your home and what your buyers actually want or expect; however, as a starting point, consider the following basics:
APPLIANCES – Seeing as how most appliances are moveable objects that, while heavy, are not secured or fastened to the home, they tend to be considered personal items. Sure, most buyers would prefer that things like the refrigerator and stove be included with their purchase, but you’re certainly not entitled to leave them. Clearly, this presents an opportunity for a discussion about price, especially in regards to the refrigerator, which is the most common appliance to be included in the negation process. If you’re on the fence, take some time to discuss all the available options with your Realtor and plan your strategy in advance.
LANDSCAPING – Although you may have paid a pretty penny for your landscaping, you simply cannot uproot your plants, shrubs, or trees in the hopes of transplanting them to your new home. Seeing as how they are well established on your property, they are considered part of the home. However, all backyard items—to include lawn mowers, trimmers, and any furniture or grilling equipment—is rightfully yours and can be taken with you unless stated otherwise in your contract.
Swing sets, on the other hand, may present a bit of a challenge since buyers can argue that they are attached to the ground. In this case, work closely with your Realtor to find a suitable compromise.
LIGHT FIXTURES – Unless explicitly stated by the seller that a certain fixture is NOT included in the home, the expectation is that light fixtures, lamps, and chandeliers will be left behind, especially if removing them will cause damage to the walls or ceiling.
If a particular fixture is a family heirloom or holds a particular emotional value, make sure to be upfront with any potential buyers about your intention to remove it, but emphasize the fact that you will do so without causing any unnecessary damage to the home. Again, honest, upfront negotiation is important, so make sure your Realtor is kept abreast of everything you want to keep upon vacating the home.
THE REST – Things like wall-mounted TVs have been drawn into the conversation over the last few years, so make sure you have an idea of whether you’re willing to part with certain items in advance. Although you may love the curtains in your bedroom or the 50” TV downstairs, are they worth risking a sale if the buyer asks you to leave them behind?
As with anything else, flexibility is key, so take some time to think about what you’re willing to part with and what items represent a deal-breaker. From there, keep the lines of communication open with your Realtor so they can negotiate accordingly.