What is included when I sell my house?
Just a quick reminder that I am licensed in Massachusetts, so if you've found this page from another state, your state may have different rules.
When you sell a house, what's included? This sounds like an easy question, but it's not. Let's take a look at some items that many home sellers, (and home buyers!) get tripped up on.
Built in bookcases are included in
the home sale by default.
10) Wall mounted TV's
OK, so which of the above are always automatically included? If you said "just the shrubs", you are right. Everything else on this list is a case-by-case basis. The way it's settled though, by default, is whether the item is "in some way permanently affixed to the home or land". What is permanently affixed? Anything that is nailed, screwed, glued, or in someway attached so that taking it off the property would do damage, it's attached. Shrubs are permanently affixed to the land, so unless they are still in a planter, they are part of what you are selling.
Sheds, too, are almost always considered permanent, but if your shed is on wheels, or if you have a storage container on the property, those are considered temporary, and are not included in the sale.
The rest of the list:
If the blinds are screwed into the wall, they are part of the house. If they have brackets, and the brackets can be open and the blinds can be removed easily, then the brackets must stay and the blinds can go.
As with blinds, often the curtain rod holders are the only physical attachment. As such, the curtains themselves can often be taken. If there is no way to get the curtains off without damaging the walls or the rods, they stay.
Many wall mounted mirrors are screwed in to the wall. They should stay in most cases.
If the shelves are mounted to the wall with screws or nails, they stay.
Just as with shelves, how they are attached to the wall is important. Bookcases that lean against the wall and are not attached are free to be removed.
Many appliances are plugged in, and as such are not required to stay. This is why appliances are almost always mentioned in listings. Microwaves are often permanently mounted and must stay if that is the case, and often refrigerators are technically included by default, if they have ice maker connections.
If the artwork is mounted, it must stay. If it is on a hook, the artwork can go, but the hook must stay!! Do not remove the hooks that any pictures are mounted on. Any hooks removed will require the homeowner to patch the hole left, and repaint.
10) Wall mounted TV's
Many mounted TV's are so built into the house that they should stay, by default.
What should I do if something is in a gray area?
For all of these items, and many others, whether it is obvious or not, it is a good idea for home sellers to EXCLUDE any and all items expressly that you intend to take. You can exclude ANYTHING, including shrubs and even light fixtures, but in most cases for extreme exclusions we will strongly encourage you to buy a replacement item and install it before the house is even shown. It is much less confusing to explain, and if the buyers never saw the item, they are unlikely to desire it. If you are purchasing a property, it is good to make sure anything that is in a gray area (like any of these items) is expressly INCLUDED. Although most people get it right, Including things is your best defense that things are clear, and prevents headaches later.