By Keith Loria


Believe it or not after months of searching for the perfect home agreeing to a price and going forward with the deal a sale can fall apart over a disagreement about something as simple and trivial as curtains.

If you're in the process of getting your home ready for sale it's important that you are very clear from the start about what you are taking with you and what you are leaving behind. The general rule is that if something is attached to the structure or the ground it is real property and stays with the house. In other words if removing the item would ruin or disfigure the walls-or if you need a tool to remove it-it stays.

Legally these items are known as fixtures and typically include everything permanently attached to the property such as a fence built-in appliances ceiling fans flowerbeds and shrubs.

Conversely if you can disconnect unhook or detach an item from the home with bare hands it's free to leave when you do. Items that fall into this category include furniture potted plants free-standing appliances and even an outdoor grill. These items should never be assumed to be part of the sale.

In order to avoid any possible confusion about what is and isn't part of the sale a good rule of thumb is to remove any fixtures you plan on taking with you before showing the home. Replacing these items is an even better option as they can provide a bargaining chip when negotiating price since you would be willing to let them stay with the house.

While every real estate agent has a story about a deal falling through because of an argument about what a buyer thought was staying it's important to take the time to walk through each room in your home with your agent and make a list of everything you'll be taking with you.

If you decide to leave an item such as the curtains or chandeliers or you're open to leaving behind some of the outdoor furniture it may just help with a sale. People like the notion of getting something for free and a savvy agent will hint to a perspective buyer that they may be able to get the seller to throw in that great wall unit knowing full well it would be more of a headache for you to take it out.

It's also common for perspective buyers to see a piece of furniture billiards table or antique lamp that they really want and many will go as far as asking that the item be part of the sale. Unless the item is really important to you don't let something insignificant like this stop a sale in its tracks. Instead use it to get the price you want and then buy a new one when the sale is complete.

Be sure to put down in writing all the things that are staying and going and take care of these issues in the beginning so that there's no miscommunication come closing day.

For more information about getting your home ready for sale contact our office today.