Based on the boilerplate wording in our standard real estate contracts, “fixtures” stay with the property when it sells but the seller gets to take all of their personal property. A “fixture” is something attached to the property and intended to be a fixture. So, your HVAC system is obviously a fixture, as are the built-in appliances. There have always been some “gray-area” items that are good to clarify if they are included or not, like an above-ground spa, a fountain, shed, etc. But with the proliferation of home automation products, the list of “gray-area” items is even larger and more troublesome. When you are selling your home, it’s wise to go through and take inventory of what you plan to take or leave and then document that with the buyer. Don’t just assume that the buyer knows you are taking something.
Our standard contract was updated a few years ago to clarify that audio/visual components (including TVs and speakers) are not included unless THEY THEMSELVES are attached to the property. If they are attached via a bracket, the component can leave but the bracket is to stay. It also says that integrated phone and home automation systems stay with the property (although there is a check box to make it easy to state that these items don’t stay). If you have a fancy programmable thermostat (like NEST), that would normally stay. The contract says that security systems and alarms are to stay (which probably means an unmonitored camera system is to stay).
My advice is to be super-clear in writing with the buyer of your property for what stays or goes. This is ESPECIALLY true if your agent mentioned any of these items in the marketing of your home. I’ve made long lists before in a counter-offer that state which items stay, don’t stay, or are optional for seller to take or leave.
If you have questions about real estate, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). Voted “Best of Brentwood” multiple times. To search the MLS for free, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty. #01245186