Moving out of a home can be an emotional experience. When a seller develops a fondness for certain things defined as real estate fixtures, things can get sticky. Maybe they love the special features like the glass kitchen cabinet doors, custom lighting fixtures, high tech thermostats or even a favorite miniature Japanese Maple tree. Traditionally, these items remain in the home for the next owner to appreciate. However, some sellers have a deeper attachment to certain items, going as far as removing them prior to closing.

Talk to agents and stories will flow; the seller who was determined to take his outdoor plants after selling. The seller that removed the rain shower heads from all of the bathrooms in the home. The seller that took the high-tech, imported toilet seat from their master bedroom. Even seemingly essential items like interior doorknobs have been removed by sellers, some even pulling specialty light bulbs.

Real Estate Fixtures

In most states including Georgia, anything defined as a fixture is to remain with the home. The seller’s disclosure allows for the seller to remove and replace fixtures with advanced notice to the buyer. Typically, the removed item is replaced by one of similar function and utility. The seller’s disclosure is a key part of the contract and it’s critical to review and understand. Stipulations on specific items can also be written into a contract to address specific concerns. In most cases, the best option for sellers is to remove the items they wish to take and replace them. This removes the chance of any misunderstandings by the parties involved.  

Georgia dedicates an entire page of the seller's disclosure to fixtures and what transfers with a home. This checklist is fairly extensive and allows the seller to elaborate; multiple items in different areas can be identified. Those items in need of repair or any other conditions that exist can be explained as well. Buyers are expected to understand all of this, any further clarity is best addressed using specific stipulations in the contract.

Georgia is a buyer beware state, it is critical to understand what stays and what goes when purchasing a home. Disclosures can change, many last-minute headaches will be avoided with a well written contract and clear understanding. Experienced real estate agents are key to facilitating a smooth transaction. Failure to take care of the small details can lead to big issues at the closing table.

Forms are ALWAYS changing, be certain that all parties are using and fully understand the CURRENT one.

Posted by Hank Miller on


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