Real or Personal Property?

The Difference Between Real And Personal Property

Selling your home? Before showing it the first time, take a walking tour through your home, pretending that you are a buyer. Why? While you plan to sell only your home and land, buyers see items of personal property as they inspect your home, and ask you to include them in the sale.

Begin your tour in the yard. Do the swing set and lawn furniture stay with the house? Will you leave the riding lawnmower? What about the gas grill on the patio?

Generally speaking, items permanently attached to your home are considered "real estate" and stay with the property when sold. Items not attached, i.e. the free-standing grill, the swing set, etc., are considered personal property. Regardless, buyers considering the purchase of your home may include them in their offer to purchase.

Continue the tour. In the living area, an attractive set of brass fire tools compliment the fireplace. Will you include them? That's a fine microwave oven on the kitchen counter. No matter that it was a gift from relatives, will you leave it? What about the washer and dryer or the refrigerator? Do you get the idea?

Items of personal property are considered "fair game" by many buyers. To be included in the sale of your home, they must be written into the sale contract, so review all offers carefully for the inclusion of such items.

Better yet, before allowing your home to be shown, remove items which will not be included. If practical, pack the fireplace tools away in the garage or dismantle the swing set. The old adage "out of sight . . . out of mind" applies here.

Items which cannot easily be moved should be addressed in your listing agreement, i.e. "washer & dryer are not negotiable". Finally, take time before marketing your home to decide which personal items you are willing to leave. Deciding in advance may help you negotiate a more favorable agreement of sale for your home.

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