Marcy, a first-time homebuyer, was over-the-moon excited about finally moving into her new home.
The day arrived, the movers were actually on time and, for the first time since the final walk-through, she opened the door to her home.
Since she had a case of water bottles with her, she headed straight for the refrigerator to ensure they were kept cool for her hard-working crew.
But there was no refrigerator – just an empty space where it stood just weeks earlier during the walk-through. Marcy panicked. The stove was there and the built-in microwave above it. The dishwasher was there.
She then ran to the laundry room, only to find empty spaces where that gorgeous washer and dryer once stood. Marcy grabbed her phone to call her real estate agent who told her that those appliances weren’t included in the sale.
“If you wanted them, you should have said something and we could’ve negotiated with the seller.”
Marcy was, again, a first-time homebuyer. She had no idea that appliances were something that needed to be “negotiated.” After all, as a tenant, they were always in the homes she rented.
The tragic fact is that Marcy, like many new homeowners, spent all of her savings on the down payment and closing costs with nothing left to pay for appliances. Thankfully, her parents stepped up with an offer of a loan.
It’s the buyer’s agent’s job to educate his or her clients about a process they may find completely foreign. To have neglected to do so, and then blame Marcy for his shortcomings, is beyond belief.
Why aren’t appliances included in the purchase price?
Sometimes they are. Many times, they are not, and here’s why: if they aren’t built-in, they are considered “personal property.”
When you buy a home, you are buying “real property,” which is the land, the home and anything else permanently affixed to both.
A rose bush planted in the backyard is considered a “fixture,” because it is affixed to the land.
A rose bush planted in a pot on the patio, on the other hand, isn’t a fixture, it is personal property and may or may not be included in the sale of the home.
Other examples of fixtures include:
- Chandeliers that are attached to the ceiling
- An outbuilding, such as a shed
- Wall-to-wall carpeting (but not the Persian throw rug that isn’t glued to the floor)
- Garage door opener
If the item is glued, nailed, bolted or otherwise attached to the home, it is typically considered a fixture and must be included in the sale of the home. But, there’s a “butt.”
The seller can exclude items from the sale by mentioning it in the listing agreement or the purchase agreement. It turns out that the washer, dryer and refrigerator in Marcy’s new home, were excluded in the purchase agreement.
Marcy isn’t a lawyer and was depending on her real estate agent to decipher what she was reading before she signed it.
Yes, you can ask that personal property be included in the sale
Many a real estate agent get-together includes conversations about the crazy things some homebuyers have asked sellers to leave behind.
From wanting the seller’s family dog to requesting that the entire contents of a home (even soap and toilet paper) be included in the sale, everything is negotiable.
The sellers are under no obligation to include any personal property and, depending on the type of market and how motivated they are, they may hold firm during negotiations. But, there’s no harm in asking, right?
Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of selling your home. If you want to hang on to your great-grandmother’s chandelier (or anything affixed to the home), remove it and replace it with something else before the home goes on the market.