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Does that stay with the house?

"Does that stay with the house?"

This is a question home buyers often ask when they wish a particular item would stay. For instance, a porch swing, a pool table, or even a riding lawn mower.

Unless the item is named in the listing, the agent should say "I don't know, but if you want it you can request it."

Generally speaking, anything that is permanently affixed to the property is considered to be a part of the real property and should stay. That includes lighting fixtures, drapery rods, and towel bars. It should also include cabinetry that is affixed to the walls. A rule of thumb is that if removal would do damage to the house, it's supposed to stay.

Custom also comes into play. It may be customary for the seller to leave a free-standing kitchen range while removing the refrigerator; to leave both; or to take both. Here in the RGV, sellers leave the stove but take the washer/dryer and the refrigerator. That isn't a hard and fast rule. Buyers and sellers are free to negotiate over these items.

The question should be resolved through the offer and acceptance – and through agents having frank conversations with their clients about the nature of real property.

A different problem arises when sellers leave things that buyers expected to be removed.

Some sellers think they're doing the buyers a favor, but buyers don't always see it that way. That heavy old non-working chest freezer in the garage may be a great place to store things, but it's taking up space they wanted to use in a different manner. And… they have their own couch. They don't want that olive green and gold monstrosity the sellers left in the family room.

Sure – the buyers can have these things removed. A charity might take some things. But other items will need to be hauled to a landfill. Should the buyer be stuck with that labor and/or expense? Most buyers don't think so.

Finding unwanted items left behind at the final walk-through can delay a closing and play havoc with everyone's schedules. So if you're selling your home and there are things you don't want to take along to your new home, ASK if the buyer wants them. If the answer is no, have a yard sale, arrange for a charity pick-up, or cause those items to be deposited in the landfill prior to the final walk-through.

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