What’s A Fixture In A Real Estate Home Sale?

horses winter in maine photo

A fixture in a house sale in Maine. what qualifies for one?

Don’t be horse-ing around when it time to talk turkey about fixtures, personal property when selling a Maine home. Does it stay, can it go and what is considered a fixture in a real estate home sale anyway?horses winter in maine photo

The intent with which it was installed, put into place is a big part of the decision on what has to stay or is allowed to go down the road with the seller.

If it is bolted down, permanently attached comes into the discussion too.

Many use these two simple tests above to prove what is or is not a fixture in a real estate home sale.

In my real estate practices class thirty six years ago, the basic definition of a fixture was considered part of the land itself and not a separate piece of property. Whatever was not attached to the property was chattel.

Personal property debates happen if the expectations are not clearly spelled out in a real estate property listing sale. Often the buyer hopes the lawnmower, free standing patio furniture and grill stay.

To be dug up flowers, shrubs, removal of a loved ones remains, we have seen it all.

Including the provision that a future burial of a still alive relative of the present owner can be interned at the family burial plot. Spell it out is the three word command.

Don’t leave anything to chance. Up for debate or to become a bone of contention.

If it is Maine farm property being listed, marketed and sold, spell out who gets to harvest the planted crop this fall, the late summer hay after the listing is sold.

Any loose ends, like retained possession of a property for a set time after the closing. It should all be in the paperwork of the property sale transaction. What equipment is included if any and what is for sale, for how much is not to be kept in the dark. Or out of the real estate conversation.

Here is more on the subject of what is a fixture under common property law.

The term fixture comes up a lot in a home sale.loons in maine photo

Because the buyers and sellers do not enter into sales on a daily basis.

But real estate professionals do and set the pathway to avoid confusion.

Navigating from listing to property closing. 

Kept simple, a fixture is something that is permanently attached to the real property (say a house). Things such as ceiling fans, antique wall sconce lights or chandeliers, towel racks, built in shelves, carpet etc all are considered fixtures.

A house furnace, windows are pretty critical to running a home. You need them and to be operational, not switched out with duds to make the house work properly and to get a mortgage loan.

Like tires on a car, to operate one, you need them. The same thinking with fixtures in a home sale.

But despite the legal definition and what the law says in a decision, avoid that expensive clarification that eats up lots of billable hours and spell out what is not staying right up front.

So the home buyer does not think the property listing is being stripped, items sold off or retained they assumed were part of the trade.

Fixtures are always included in the sale of a home. I have had sales where the antique light in the formal dining room of a Victorian home for sale in Maine was not to be conveyed. balloon ride in maine photo

But we talked about what might be removed prior to the property sale, during the listing period.

So a replacement could be installed or a dollar allowance could be issued to the new Miane home buyer.

To go ahead and to pick out their favorite replacement light.

Giving them a check or a line item credit on the HUD 1 property settlement statement.

The best idea is change out the light or whatever fixture before the marketing for a Maine home buyer is underway or a purchaser is located.

Don’t have to introduce the buyer to something that is going to be yanked out. Maybe with no replacement and just a gaping hole where it used to be.

Like the cook as a button antique wood cook stove on the brick hearth that is not needed to be the primary heat source but sure does help make the place toasty warm.

Change it out now. The problem disappears because what is swapped already was done before the open house, the video property listing tours happen. Get broadcast out over the many marketing, social media channel  airwaves.

On the purchase and sale agreement based on what the listing said was staying or what is negotiated in the final house transaction, it is good to always put down in black and white what if left behind.

What is going with the seller. The appliances by law in Maine in a home sale do not have to stay. I know I know other states where a buyer is from may have different lawys. But Toto, you are in Maine now. birds nest in maine photo

Items like pro-rating the firewood or oil in the cellar tank need to be addressed too.

But the built-in stereo system, electric garage door opener, wall-to-wall carpet, built-in microwave oven, water heater, dishwasher, built-in stove and curtain rods screwed into the wall are here to stay in the nest for sale with the real estate sign out front.

Unless spelled out otherwise, how do you make sure everyone involved in the property listing home sale in Maine knows for certain?

Are the drapes, refrigerator, washer and dryer and free standing cook stove included in the Maine home real estate property sale? Avoiding confusion upfront is the best policy.

If the items are listed for sale at this purchase price, and an offer comes in for one dollar or more less, none of the personal property has to be included.

It was to stay if the purchase price was left alone.

But if blah blah blah dickered with, than everything changes. When the property home price drops and the heated back and forth discussions start up in the let’s wheel and deal.

Building materials that are stored in a garage can be a topic that raises its ugly head as the Maine home buyer hopes, expects them to stay behind. Not make the move with the seller. But loose lumber in or beside the garage does not mean it has to stay. eagle in maine home nest photo

If made into a fence attached to posts in the ground or steps with railings, then it is attached to the property.

Needed to enjoy the property like the inground pool that has to be surrounded by the gate fencing to get homeowner’s property insurance or to pass local ordinances in a community.

Fixtures, raise your hand and ask if nothing if spelled out about what stays or goes in a Maine real estate home sale. No excuses for not knowing. Keep no one in the dark.

In a business like a repair garage or the inventory of a small mom and pop grocery store, it is even more crucial to put down for all to see what to expect to remain after the property listing sale.

Nothing is left to chance and the addendums added to purchase and sale agreements are needed if not enough space on the contract to do the job adequately with the lines you have.

Just like dates, times, deadlines, dollar amounts for deposits and property purchase prices, and all the contact information. Who is the bank, who is the attorney and what are the numbers, emails, addresses to track buyers and sellers down and to keep them in the loop for constant communication?

Put it in writing so no calls about how come the mirrors glued to the wall in the Maine home work out room disappeared with the exercise equipment?

Especially if there is damage in the removal or ugly holes, paint that does not match or missing flooring where somethat that was at the property suddenly disappears in the Maine home sale.

Pre-closing house inspections, property listing walk throughs are a very good idea before signing on the dotted line.

The pressure before a Maine home sale property closing is greater than after the checks are cut, the house keys are passed across the conference room table to the new buyer.

Look for lots of debris left behind like old dried out paint cans, tires, dead electric water heaters or furnaces. That you the house buyer do not want to have to load up into a dumpster at your expense for the tipping fees in your new home in Maine.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 | info@mooersrealty.com

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton ME 04730

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