Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Stays with the Property When I Buy a House?

Q:  I just sold my house and we've moved out.  After we got settled into our new place, my son reminded me that we forgot a subwoofer that we accidentally left in the lower left cabinet of the movie room in the basement.  Can we go back and get it?

A:  Maybe.  It depends on a few things.  Is the subwoofer attached?  In Georgia, fixtures stay with the property.  A fixture is anything that is part of the property which is determined by the method of attachment.  If it is screwed, glued or nailed, then it is usually considered real property and would automatically convey with the property upon a sale.

In Georgia, we generally have a Seller fill out a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement which is a questionairre that the Seller fills out prior to selling in order to prompt the Seller to disclose any known defects of the property.  It also has a place that the seller checks off items that stay with the propety and a place to disclose what, if any, fixtures do not remain with the property.  If an item on the checklist is not listed and the Seller forgets to disclose if  said item (like a subwoofer) remains or doesn't, the method of attachment would determine if it's real property (stays) or personal property (goes with the Seller).

One item that frequently trips buyers up is the refrigerator.  The fridge doesn't usually convey.  After all, it's just plugged in like the TV or the alarm clock.  You wouldn't expect an alarm clock to stay with the house, would you?  But maybe the refrigerator is a fancy SubZero built-in refrigerator with custom cabinetry panels on the front.  It stays.  You don't even have to write it in the contract.  But if you want a regular plugged-in refrigerator, or washer and dryer, you would need to write it into the offer that those appliances convey with the property (unless the Seller's disclosure provided states that they remain with the property).

What about bathroom mirrors?  If they are hanging on the wall like a picture, they do not stay.  If they are screwed, glued or nailed in place, you got it.. they stay. 

So what about that subwoofer?  You left it behind by accident.  If it's screwed, so are you.


  1. Remind me never to leave my subwoofer! Essy

  2. Great article and fantastic closing line. :)