What Are Fixtures In Real Estate? The Meaning.

When you buy or sell a property, you may wonder what items are included in the transaction and what items are not.

For example, do you get to keep the curtains, the dishwasher, or the chandelier?

 

What Are Fixtures In Real Estate?
 Fixtures In Real Estate?| Rocket Mortgage

The answer depends on whether these items are considered fixtures or personal property.

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Fixture Defined

A fixture is any item that is permanently attached or affixed to the property by some means, such as bolts, screws, nails, glue, or cement.

Fixtures are usually intended to stay with the property and enhance its value or function.

Examples of fixtures include:

  • Built-in appliances, such as stoves, ovens, dishwashers, etc.
  • Ceiling fans, light fixtures, and chandeliers
  • Window treatments, such as blinds, shades, and curtains
  • Plumbing fixtures, such as faucets, sinks, toilets, etc.
  • Heating and cooling systems, such as furnaces, air conditioners, etc.
  • Security systems, such as alarms, cameras, etc.
  • Landscaping elements, such as trees, plants, fountains, etc.

Personal Property Defined

Personal property, also known as chattel, is any item that is not permanently attached to the property and can be easily moved or removed.

Personal property is usually owned by the seller and does not transfer to the buyer unless otherwise agreed upon.

Examples of personal property include:

  • Furniture, such as sofas, chairs, tables, etc.
  • Appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.
  • Electronics, such as TVs, computers, speakers, etc.
  • Artwork, such as paintings, sculptures, etc.
  • Clothing, jewelry, and other personal belongings

How To Determine If An Item Is A Fixture Or Personal Property

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if an item is a fixture or personal property, especially if it is not clearly attached to the property or if it can be easily detached.

To avoid confusion and disputes, it is helpful to use the following criteria to determine the status of an item:

  • Method of attachment

How is the item attached to the property? Is it fixed by screws, nails, glue, or cement?

Or is it simply plugged in, hung, or placed?

Generally, the more permanent the attachment, the more likely the item is a fixture.

  • Adaptability

How well does the item fit or match the property? Is it customized or tailored for a specific purpose or location?

Or is it generic or standard for any property? Generally, the more adaptable the item, the more likely it is a fixture.

  • Relationship of the parties

What is the status of the parties involved in the transaction? Are they the owner, the tenant, the buyer, or the seller?

Generally, the owner has more rights to claim an item as a fixture than the tenant, and the buyer has more rights to claim an item as a fixture than the seller.

  • Intention

What was the intention of the person who installed or placed the item?

Did they intend to make it a permanent part of the property or a temporary addition?

Generally, the more evident the intention, the more likely the item is a fixture.

  • Agreement

What is the agreement between the buyer and the seller regarding the item?

Is it explicitly stated in the contract or verbally agreed upon?

Generally, the more clear the agreement, the more likely the item is a fixture or personal property.

Why It Matters

Knowing the difference between fixtures and personal property is important for both buyers and sellers, as it can affect the value, appeal, and negotiation of the property.

For buyers, fixtures are part of the property and are included in the purchase price, while personal property is not.

Therefore, buyers should inspect the property carefully and identify the items they want to keep or exclude from the transaction.

For sellers, fixtures are expected to stay with the property and cannot be removed without the buyer’s consent, while personal property can be taken away or sold separately.

Therefore, sellers should disclose the items they want to keep or include in the transaction.

To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, buyers and sellers should always communicate clearly and document their agreements regarding fixtures and personal property in writing.

They should also consult a real estate agent or a lawyer if they have any questions or concerns about the status of an item.

Conclusion

Fixtures are items that are permanently attached or affixed to the property and are usually included in the sale, while personal property are items that are not permanently attached or affixed to the property and are usually excluded from the sale.

To determine if an item is a fixture or personal property, buyers and sellers should use the criteria of method of attachment, adaptability, relationship of the parties, intention, and agreement.

By knowing the difference between fixtures and personal property, buyers and sellers can avoid confusion and disputes and ensure a smooth and fair transaction.

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