One of the best parts of owning a home is getting to customize it the way that you want.  This includes adding items such as pools, hot tubs, light fixtures, new appliances, wall mounted TV’s, landscaping, basketballs goals, barns, dog houses, fences, and many other items that are purchased after you establish residence in a property.  But do you know which of these items should stay with the property when you go to sell it?  Are there any items that you will leave when you decide to sell?  These are important questions that your real estate agent should ask before putting your home on the market.   Furthermore, it is important for the client to understand which items are expected to stay.  We call these items either real or personal property.

“Real Property” can be defined as land or any improvements thereto, or subsequent fixtures that are permanently secured to the property.  But… this can be interpreted in many ways.  With a little patience, a ceiling fan can be removed from the fixture in the drywall of the ceiling of your living room.  So it shouldn’t be considered “real property” right?  Well, not necessarily.

Items that are screwed into the wall, ceiling, drywall or any fixture within the home should be considered “permanent”.  By removing an item of this nature, chances are you would be leaving the property with something missing.  Some examples of these items are:  faucets, ceiling fans, TV wall mounts, cemented in the ground basketball goals, barns or sheds that have posts cemented in the ground, even curtain rods that are screwed into the drywall, and landscaping.  Even items that you would have to unscrew such as a gas stove, dishwasher, security cameras, or a doorbell with camera may be considered real property.  As a Seller, if you intend to take any of these items with you it needs to be disclosed on the Sellers Disclosure form and you should notify your real estate agent before the property is listed as such.

On the other hand, “Personal Property” in terms of real estate can be defined as anything that is mobile or easily moved and not affixed to the property in any way.  If you were to remove any of these items then the property would still be in acceptable condition and would not be missing anything significant that would not easily be replaced with the new homeowners own property.  Examples of these items include:  couches, hot tubs, electric stove, refrigerator, patio furniture, above ground pools, bird baths, mobile outdoor swings, etc.

This is not to say that a Seller is not legally allowed to take any of the real property with them.  There are obvious drawbacks to doing so.  You wouldn’t want to take the toilet out of the bathroom with you and leave the new Buyer without one.  You can also leave your personal property with the sale of the home if you wish.  If you don’t want the hassle of moving that hot tub, you can leave it in hopes of enticing the Buyer with the thought of having one included.  At the end of the day the Seller and listing agent need to communicate thoroughly on what items should be included in the property sale, and which items will be leaving with the Seller.  Don’t risk a delayed closing of your property when the Buyer performs a final walk-through and sees that something they thought would be staying, is missing.