What's a Fixture?

Many times when I’m walking through homes with clients, they often ask “Does that come with the home?” and point to something that appears to be attached to the wall. Essentially, they are asking if the object is a “fixture” or not.

Typically in real estate transactions, “fixtures” convey with the property. Fixtures are items that are permanently attached to the home. A central air conditioning system, wall to wall carpet, and a built-in oven range would all be considered fixtures. When you write an offer, you will review an Inclusion and Exclusion form that the seller completed. This form will state what they plan on leaving with the house. Usually all fixtures are assumed to be included, unless they are specifically stated as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion form.

There are some gray areas when it comes to decorative items like curtains, drapes, and rods. Additionally, small sheds and yard ornaments usually cause some confusion. The best thing you can do is walk the property and write down all the things you would expect and like to stay (within reason, of course) and then make sure your agent includes those items on the purchase contract. You may negotiate back and forth with the seller some, but at least your request will be clear. The worst scenario would be doing the final walk through and realizing that the curtains you loved in the dining room did not convey with the sale. If it’s agreed to in the contract, it should convey with the property.

One final word of caution: plasma TVs. Because they are wired to the house, plasma TVs are being seen as fixtures. So, if you’re a seller and really want to hold on to your plasma TV, make sure it is specifically called out as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion sheet. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the line.