I am starting a new series called ‘That’s a Great Question…’ to help current and future clients have a smoother real estate experience.
As Realtors, our job is to inform and educate our clients throughout the real estate process. A major part of our job is to answer questions and provide accurate responses to help our clients make smart decisions, especially with first time buyers and sellers.
I represent both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions and am often asked ‘What is included in the sale of a house?’ Whether it’s the microwave, refrigerator, curtains/drapes, or washer and dryer, both buyers and sellers are sometimes unsure and need guidance.
For example, buyers want to avoid bad surprises on move in day. This may include missing window treatments leaving the home bare or light fixtures leaving only exposed wires.
This is where Texas real estate contracts come in to remedy such mishaps. They stipulate that the house, fixtures, improvements, and accessories stay with the home.
What does it really mean to the buyer when they see the home staged with furniture, pictures on the wall, and custom drapery? What does it mean to the seller when they have a built-in microwave, built in bookshelves, Moroccan glass and wrought iron chandelier? Typically, that means anything that is permanently installed and built in stays with the home.
The Texas Association of REALTORS®, (TREC), compiled and posted a very informative one-pager on November 14, 2017 that details three factors to determine if something is permanently installed and built-in.
According to TREC, here are the three factors you should keep in mind:
- How is the item attached? Will the property be damaged by its removal?
- Is the item customized or standard for the property?
- Was the installation intended to be permanent or temporary?
With that in mind, each real estate transaction is different and negotiable. It is very important that buyers and sellers work closely with their Realtor to determine clearly and put in writing what stays with the home.
For sellers, we usually advise clients to document their intent upfront to inform buyers of what is excluded from the sale. Likewise, for buyers, we can use an addendum to request items to stay in the home.
For more information, take a look at the one-pager from TREC that gives a wonderful overview and is a handy reference guide to “What’s included in the sale of a house?” Happy closings!