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Chattels and Fixtures: What are They?

If you are thinking of selling your home, you may be wondering whether you should take the custom-made window coverings with you, or whether that entertainment unit you had specially made for your family room should be sold with the house.

Undoubtedly, these items may be hard to part with. On the other hand, they will probably make your home much more attractive to potential purchasers if you include them in the sale. In fact, it is quite common for vendors to include some items that would normally be considered as "chattels" - such as drapes and appliances - in the sale of their homes as an extra incentive to buyers.

Simply stated, chattels are things that can be removed from a property because they are not attached to the walls or to the property. Fixtures, on the other hand, are things that are attached to the property - things like light sockets, a hot tub or electric wall heaters.

The law is not always crystal clear about what is considered a fixture but your REALTOR® will help you decide and clarify what you want to include in the sale of your home.

Special Circumstances

There may be special circumstances where something that might ordinarily be considered as a fixture is not to be included in the sale, like the antique crystal chandelier you had imported from France.

Make sure this is clearly stated in the Listing Agreement and, more importantly, in the Offer to Purchase. If you are careful to note things you wish to exclude in the listing, other REALTORS® will be in a better position to point out the various items that are not included in the sale to their prospective purchasers before they even make an offer.

Remove from Sight

If you are absolutely certain you want to keep certain items, you may even want to remove them from your home before you put it up for sale. That way, no potential purchasers will see them, fall in love with them and insist that they be included in the sale.

Some items on the property such as water heaters or water softeners are sometimes provided on a rental basis. If this is the case, you should exclude the items from the purchase price or make sure mention is made of the outstanding contract in the Listing Agreement and Offer to Purchase.

Describe Items to be Included

Items that are to be included should be described along with their location in or on the property.

Remember, if you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to talk to your REALTOR®. He or she is a trained professional who will help guide you smoothly through the selling process.

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.

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