When you make an offer to purchase a house or condo what appliances or chattels or fixtures or other things might be included in the purchase price.
In other words, what comes with the home and what do you have to budget for purchasing yourself after you take ownership?
In real estate terms there are two categories you need to be aware of.
One is called chattels and the other is called fixtures.
Chattels are items that are not physically built into the walls or permanently attached to the home.
So chattels include appliances like fridge, stove, washer and dryer,.
Now, light fixtures, although technically attached to the home, can be considered chattels by some people.
I have taken buyers to see houses and when they have liked a house, one of the things they remember fondly after we leave is the spectacular chandelier in the foyer or dining room.
Fixtures, on the other hand can be things like the alarm system.
Sometimes there are even discrepancies about the flat screen TV on the wall.
Although often what happens with regards to the wall-mounted TVs are the sellers take the TV but the wall bracket which is installed on the wall permanently is off and left behind to avoid leaving gaping holes in the wall for the new buyers.
I must admit in all the years I have been working in real estate I have seen a lot of crazy things happen.
I have seen sellers rip out hardwired alarm systems, 70 inch TV brackets which ultimately left huge holes in the walls, and other things like that.
And I’ve seen buyers expect things that really should not be expected or included in the sale.
So, because I always do my best to ensure the best experience possible for my clients, whenever I’m dealing with an offer to purchase.
Whether it’s for my buyer clients and I am preparing the offer, or I am working for the seller and we receive an offer to purchase our listing, I always make sure that all chattels and fixtures included in the deal are specified in the purchase and sale agreement.
Likewise, if anything is excluded from the sale and the seller is taking the dining room chandelier for example, or taking the alarm system as another example, then I make sure that is written into the agreement as being excluded from the sale.
The bottom line or best advice I can give is that you should never assume anything.
And you should always make sure that everything is negotiated and specified in writing so that there is never any confusion or misunderstandings for you or the other party.
In fact, in higher priced properties where appliances can be very high end and run several thousands of dollars, I even go so far as to add the word “existing” before each chattel item.￼￼
I also take the time to itemize the specific make and model of each appliance and or chattel that did exist when the property was shown to buyers on the market and we visited the property because that was how it was being presented.
That way if the MLS listing simply says that a fridge, stove, washer and dryer are included in the sale, then the seller can’t just pull a fast switcheroo after we make a deal but before the sale is completed, thereby replacing the high end appliance for example with a lower priced appliance prior to closing date.
Not that it happens regularly, but I always like to illuminate any possibility of unpleasant surprises for my clients.
Sometimes I have had buyer clients simply love the curtains in the second or third bedroom.
Although most MLS listings usually indicate that window coverings are included in a sale, when I’ve made offers for my clients like that, I’ve specified under the chattels section that are included are the existing green and blue hanging curtains in the second bedroom on the top floor.
Another problem that I have not experienced myself but some people have told me that they have encountered with other Realtors is when their Realtor prepared an offer to purchase for them and used short forms in the descriptions.
For example, on the MLS system we are limited in how many character spaces we can use for our property descriptions.
One abbreviation that is commonly used is E.L.F’s which refers to electric light fixtures.
Or G.D.O. which refers to garage door opener’s.
That is fine for the MLS listing but when I prepare a purchase offer I never take the lazy route. I take the time to spell out the words… Electric light fixtures, or garage door opener‘s with the remotes.
And the reason for this is because if something were to be included in the sale for my buyers and the sellers might for example have removed the items before they moved out, if it ever went to court then a judge might not know what those abbreviations mean.
So because this is a legal contract and I want to protect my clients if it is spelled out in full literal terms there can be no discrepancies in the future.