This edition focuses on some tips in identifying between "fixtures" and "chattels".
August Market Update
Fixtures vs. Chattels
When buying and selling property, you're usually not just conveying the rights to land, but also the transfer of improvements on the land. And while you would think that it would be easy to identify the difference between Fixtures and Chattels, the distinction is often blurry, and the consequences of ambiguity can be high.
Fixtures are items that 'run with the land', and are considered as a part of any real estate transaction. Chattels are items that are considered 'personal property', and can be removed from the real estate without consequence to the seller. The general rule is that items that are bound to the land only by their own weight are considered chattels, while items that are affixed to the property are considered fixtures.
Common sense often plays a strong role in determining whether an item is a fixture or a chattel, but, sometimes, grey areas appear.
Televisions have historically been considered chattels, and most people consider them as such; however, new flat-screen TVs are often mounted to the wall, which technically makes them fixtures. Blinds are often considered fixtures, while drapes and curtains are usually chattels. Storage sheds that are only affixed to the ground by their own weight are chattel, but if they have a concrete foundation, they're fixtures. Built-in appliances are fixtures while stand-alone appliances are chattel.
Standard contracts generally protect both sides by outlining that:
The Purchase Price includes any buildings, improvements, fixtures, appurtenances and attachments thereto, and all blinds, awnings, screen doors and windows, curtain rods, tracks and valances, fixed mirrors, fixed carpeting, electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning fixtures and all appurtenances and attachments thereto as viewed by the Buyer at the date of inspection.
In order to further protect yourself as a buyer or seller, it is important to write down, in the greatest detail possible, all of the items that you wish to either keep or remove from the subject property. Otherwise, disputes can and will arise.
Please email or phone me if you have any question.