Real Estate & Mortgage Insights

Real Property vs. Personal Property

When selling or buying a home, you need to think ahead about what you are actually selling along with the property and the house.

The general rule is, "if it attached to the structure or the ground, it is real property and stays with the house."

This confuses some people, especially when selling their first house.

For example, as a renter you may have been used to removing your curtains and taking them with you when you move. Since they are probably "attached" to the wall in some manner, the buyer may assume all window coverings are staying with the house.

This can cause a disagreement. Disagreements in real estate spread like viruses, moving from minor issues to more major issues. Emotions rule and logic melts away like a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a black asphalt playground in August. It can become an ugly sticky mess.

Disagreements have the potential to become "problems" -- except that in real estate, problems don't exist. We have "challenges" instead.

If your Realtor refers to something as a "challenge" -- you may have a problem.

So if you want to take your curtains with you, put it in the contract. Don't "assume" anything...

...because buyers and sellers can argue about the silliest things.

Believe it or not, there is a story about how a deal fell apart because the buyer wanted the sellers to leave the welcome mat. It must have been a really nice welcome mat. Normally, sellers are free to take their welcome mat with them when they move.

Another incident involved the gas logs in the fireplace. The sellers wanted to take them and the buyers wanted them left with the house. Normally, gas logs stay with the fireplace. Real wooden logs you are free to take with you when you move.

Chandeliers are another common argument point.

The point is that you need to think about these things in advance. If you have to unscrew a screw, claw out a nail, detach anything from the interior or exterior structure, or uproot anything from the ground -- and you want to take it with you when you move -- put it in the contract. That way there are no possible misunderstandings later.

It doesn't hurt to go through the house "room by room" with your agent so that all possible challenges are handled in advance.

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