02 August 2021

Whether you’ve lived in your home for 6 months or 6 years, there’s bound to be items you’ve installed that you know you’re not leaving without. Just remember that you can’t take anything that is regarded as a permanent fixture of the home with you when you sell unless the buyer has explicitly agreed to the removal of the item in the sales agreement.

To circumvent any disputes, the sales agreement needs to be as detailed as possible and should include a list of all the items that are either included or excluded in the sale of the property. If you’re unsure about what you can and can’t take with you when you sell, below are a few tips to help clear things up.

What is the buyer entitled to?
When the buyer purchases a home, they’ll receive the land, any permanent physical improvements (such as any buildings erected on the land), along with all items that are permanently attached to any of the buildings on the land. This includes all upgrades along with any fixtures and fittings of a permanent nature. If you want to take these with you when you sell, the buyer will need to agree to this before you can remove these items.

What is regarded as permanent?
If an item has been bolted down, cemented to the ground, sown, or planted and has taken root, it’s regarded as permanent. An ambiguous area that often causes disputes is around structures such as sheds, pergolas, or other similar structures. Issues also arise around items that are not fixed but used in conjunction with a fixture, such as pool cleaners, garage door remotes and batteries for solar power systems. Be sure to state upfront whether these items will stay or go with you when you move.

Create an itemised list before selling
As preparation for selling your home, you need to compile a list itemising exactly what is sold with the house and what will be removed. This list should be incorporated into the mandate to sell so that the agent can point out to potential buyers any items that will be removed by you at a later stage. Alternatively, you could remove the items from the home before listing.

How to determine the nature of an item
There are four aspects to consider when defining whether a fixture or fitting is permanent:

  1. Was the item attached to the land or the structure erected on the land?
  2. Was the intention to serve the land on a permanent nature?
  3. Would removing it cause damage to the structure or land?
  4. Was your intention as the homeowner to attach the item permanently?

Include a clause in the sales agreement
To avoid any disputes down the line, we’d recommend adding a clause regarding the fixtures and fittings. While it may seem tedious, the clause needs to be specific to the transaction to avoid misunderstanding. If all aspects of the agreement aren’t in writing, it’ll be difficult to prove or disprove anything at a later stage.

Reach out to a property professional
The best way to ensure a smooth sale is to have an open channel of communication with the buyer. Therefore, you’d need to make your intentions clear from the start. If you’re ready to sell your home, but you’re feeling uneasy about the process, reach out to a real estate professional who can offer you expert advice.

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