Honestly, you don’t need to remember the word “fixture”. But it really made you wonder what I’m talking about right? A fixture is anything attached to the property that stays when you sell the home. These things are usually thought to be personal in nature. Things like your washer and dryer, pictures on the wall, or your grandmother’s drapes in the bedroom don’t count. Obvious things such as the keys to the house, the remote to the garage opener, or the upgraded ceiling fans your installed do count. There are some things people don’t think about, or mention, that do count and you need to know this.
So what is a fixture and how does it affect selling your home?
Let’s say you move into your new house, and you decide you want to add a barn door to your bedroom. The house came with a regular door, the doorway is even geared for a regular door. Heck, you may have even left the regular door in place! So your grandfather takes some wood from the old barn you guys had when you were a kid. He fashions it into a beautiful door, and installs it on the wall and close off the bedroom. While you are at it, you realize that the stone above the fireplace will hold a HDTV mount perfectly. You drill some holes, find a high end adjustable mount, and fix it to the fireplace. So, does this stuff have to stay?
Typically, yes. While you can keep the TV, the mount has now become a functional built in component of the home. As for that really nice door you want to keep because it was made out the barn you played tag in as a kid? You can’t keep it, it has to stay. Now, it’s important to note that a contract to buy or sell a home is written by you. So you absolutely can put in the contract that the door goes with you. But you need to keep in mind that when people are viewing your home, they are imagining living in the house with that amazing door there. So when you pop it on them that you want to keep it, you may loose your buyer.
So now what?
Well you’ve identified if it stays or if it goes. What should you do about it? If you want to keep it, then you need to take it down before it’s time to list. If you love that barn door from grandpa’s farm, you need to take it down first. Don’t go hiring someone to sell your home and then decide you want to keep it. And don’t forget to put the wall back to a state where the house can sell. Fill in the holes in the wall, repair any marks where the door had been sliding, and put a door back up in it’s place. If all else fails and you can’t do that, you could always find a barn door to put in it’s place. Something with less sentimental value.
This stands true with just about anything. Ask yourself if this thing is permanently attached as a functional part of the home. Was it made for the property (as in sized and adapted for use in that home)? Is the obvious intent of installing the item for it to be a part of the home? Normally I would never have people even think about knowing real estate buzz words or jargon. But in this case, it can help you out quite a bit, and save you some money and heartache in the long run.