Does the Fridge Come With The House?
What comes with a house? Does the fridge stay? What about the washer and dryer? These questions are common during the home buying process. Like many things in real estate, the answer is: it depends! Real Property and personal property are two very different things, but in certain scenarios are easily confused. Real property is the land itself, the structures and anything that is permanently attached to the property. Personal property is the stuff on the property, like clothing, cars, pets, furniture, etc. Usually, personal property (like the cars in the garage) do not come with the house. However, almost everything is negotiable.
Automatically Included Items – Many items, in addition to the house and garage, are automatically included (unless explicitly excluded) in Texas Real Estate Commission’s One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) form. The contract automatically includes the following fixtures: shutters, flooring, ceiling fans, mail boxes, tv mounts and brackets, stove, fireplace screens, curtains and rods, blinds, keys, heating and AC units, chandeliers, light fixtures, kitchen equipment, shrubs, landscaping and more. While this may seem like a kind of ridiculous yet obvious list (and this isn’t even all of it!), there is good reason that it is included in the purchase contract. A purchase contract should list it everything, whether it seems obvious or not. What may seem like a “DUH!” to you, may be questionable to someone else and the contract will literally get both sides on the same page.
Negotiable Items – Personal property is NOT included in the sale—unless agreed upon in writing by both parties. There are two options for including personal property with a sale: a contract addendum or a bill of sale. Everything in a home purchase is negotiable, yes, even personal property (but please don’t ask for a family pet to be included!). The most common personal property to negotiate into a purchase is appliances. Although fridges are often thought to be included, it is not, unless agreed to by both parties. The same is true for washers and dryers.
The takeaway is that permanently installed items are included with the house. For example, if there is a random pile of bricks in the yard, they are not included in the sale. However, once the bricks are turned into a wall or used to make a walkway, they are installed and are included with the house. Along the same vein, if there is a new kitchen faucet in a box in the garage, it does not go with the house; but once it is installed in the kitchen, it becomes part of the house and stays. If you have questions on what stays and what goes, always ask—do not make assumptions about what stays because depending on the item, it can be a bit tricky. Contract negotiation is an excuse to “shop” out of someone’s home, but there are certain circumstances when it is advisable (like a refrigerator that matches all the other built-in appliances). When in doubt, be sure it is clearly spelled out in the contract so nothing is left to chance or assumptions.
Lisa Priest loves a reasonable negotiation and is a Real Estate Broker with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at BuyPalestine.com.