What Stays And What Goes When You Sell Your Home?

When you are selling your home in Flower Mound, you should make a list of all the items that you are going to take with you, or exclude from the real estate transaction. This list should be discussed thoroughly and given to your Realtor, who can then list the exclusion, or exclusions on the MLS data sheet.  

The “Rule Of Thumb” that we go by is that anything that is attached to the house goes with the house when it is sold. But just the word, “attached” is left up to the interpretations of each person and what you consider NOT attached a buyer may consider attached. The courts are mixed on this as well so it is better to take care of all of this before you even put your house up for sale. You don’t want to go down the court road! 

Make sure you read the MLS report that is submitted by your agent to see that everything is properly listed. If there is something in the MLS report that you are taking with you but your agent is advertising you need to remove that from the MLS right away. Your agent should also add your exclusions in the MLS so that there is further evidence in trying to be upfront about what is going and what is staying.  

One court in Washington D.C in 1982 ruled that, ” … when determining whether an article is a fixture, the court may consider three factors: 

  1. Actual annexation according to the nature and use of the article
  2. Its adaptation to the use for which it is annexed and
  3. The intention that it should a permanent accession to the realty.  

Example: You have a nice chandelier in your dining room that is attached to the ceiling above the dining room table. You certainly can take that chandelier with you so long as you replace it with a substitute. You also, in this case, have to make sure that you reinstall a substitution safely with no loose wires and no damage to the ceiling.  

My suggestion is this: If you have something that you want to exclude from the transaction, it is SO much easier just to remove the item and do the substitution before you put your home up for sale. I see so many arguments over things such as lighting fixtures and, furniture items, and it really is a stressful time when you are selling your house, it really is not worth the hassle, so why not eliminate the argument in the first place?

Artwork is another area of contention and misunderstandings. Of course, nice artwork in your house helps to sell your house so making it known up front in writing that you are keeping your artwork is the easiest way to eliminate misunderstandings. Some sellers will even put little Post-It notes around the artwork that says, “Stays with the house” and “does NOT stay with the house”. Same can be said for Grandma’s hutch or dining room table that has been in the family for generations. I have been the victim of a buyer that latched onto such an item that the entire transaction went south! Both buyer and seller drew a line in the sand that neither would cross, and had the item been excluded up front, maybe the buyer would not have honed in on the table so much.

Be aware as well that you do need to fill, patch and smooth-in any holes your artwork, mirrors or pictures being removed had left behind.  

Built in shelves in closets are considered to be attached to your property. This is yet another area of contention. Please make sure the buyers know when they tour your house that you are taking the closet shelves if that is what you are planning to do. I’ve seen arguments over bedroom shelving, so if you don’t want arguments, remove these items!   

Seems silly as well, but I suggest that if you have a car that is parked in the garage, especially a classic or a restore project, make sure that it is properly labeled in order to alleviate any misunderstanding from ever surfacing in the first place. 

Remember that many times these things don’t even come up until you are in the middle of negotiations when tensions are high. I’ve seen offers go sour very quickly over misunderstandings about what is staying with the house and what is not. 

Making it clear from the get-go about the transfer of personal belongings with the sale of your property will alleviate many, many headaches that you may experience later. Keep in mind as well that just because personal items are listed as exclusions that a buyer for your home won’t ask to keep them.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (214) 609-7123 or email jtrump@kw.com






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