What Stays With the House When You Buy or Sell?

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A beautiful home (Photo: @jerseyjewels via Twenty20)
When you’re buying or selling a home, you need to know what’s included in the sale, and what isn’t. It’s an important question that can greatly impact the sale price.
Read on to find out what is included when you buy a home, and what you need to leave behind when you sell one.

Anything built into the home

Let’s start with the most basic elements. Anything that is built into a house will stay when the house is sold. If you’re selling a house, you can take the sofa that you bought, but you have to leave behind the Murphy bed that’s built into the wall. You can take the portable kitchen island that you purchased, and the mobile shelving units, but don’t go pulling the cabinets off the wall or detaching built-in shelves.
This also goes for elements that have been custom built into the home. A portable air conditioning unit that has been placed in an open window can go with the seller, but not if you’ve cut a whole in the wall to accommodate it, or drilled it to the ceiling.
If it’s part of the home, it stays with the home.

Most of the landscaping

Landscaping is included in a home when it is sold. That doesn’t mean you need to give up decorative plants and lawn ornaments. If you’re selling a house, you can keep your bird feeder and your potted plants. But any plants that are actually part of the landscaping, and planted in the ground, have to stay.
You can’t dig up that rose bush you love, or try and move the apple tree from your old home to your new one. Have a succulent garden you love? Well, time to make a new one when you move.

Anything bolted to the ground outside

When it comes to outdoor structures and amenities, what matters is whether or not the item is attached to the ground. A play structure that’s been mounted in concrete? That stays. A car port that folds up? That goes with the seller.
In general, most of these items are rather intuitive. Obviously a built-in pool is going to be included in the sale, as is a hot tub that a deck is built around. But a large inflatable pool pool can go with the seller.

Wall mounts

Wall mounts are often up for discussion. If the mounts can’t be removed without damaging the home, then they absolutely stay. Otherwise, it can be up for debate or negotiation.

Light fixtures

Light fixtures are considered a part of the home, which means they stay. That doesn’t mean you need to leave your chandelier behind. It just means that if you want to keep it, you have to take it off and replace it before you show your home, otherwise you’re misleading the buyer.
Any light fixtures that are installed when the house is sold will stay, but you can take them out before selling the house.

Appliances

The stove, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer—unless otherwise specified in the purchase and sale agreement, all appliances stay with the home during a sale.

Don’t try to pull a fast one

If you’re selling a house, never try and pull a fast one by removing or replacing items after agreeing to the sale. Not only is this dishonest, but it’s also illegal, and you could get in serious trouble for it. Similarly, if you notice that certain items aren’t the same in the house you bought as they were when you agreed to the price, let your realtor know.
Figuring out what stays with a home when it’s bought or sold is usually rather intuitive. But when in doubt, ask your realtor.