Picture this: You’re touring your first home in Fort Worth, Texas, and you’re loving what you’re seeing. You’re mesmerized by gorgeous curtains hanging in the kitchen and a breathtaking chandelier dangling over the dining room table. You’re imagining your family settling into this house beautifully, picturing all the dinners under that chandelier and sunny mornings where sunlight dances around those curtains. You sign on the dotted line, excited to make this home your own.
Move-in day arrives, and you notice something shocking: Those curtains have vanished, and your favorite chandelier is gone! What happened? Weren’t those part of the home? We understand that this trips people up, so we thought we’d shed some light on this subject. In this instance, the seller would most likely be in breach, because the curtains and chandelier stay with the house—unless specially reserved.
In Texas, there are certain distinctions that determine which items are included in a sale, versus which items are considered personal and can be taken by the previous owner. In fact, items like the fridge, stove top, washer and dryer, chandelier, and window dressings aren’t as simple as you might think.
Wait, Don’t I Get a Fridge?
While a home buyer may assume that appliances are included in a sale, the contract may tell a different story. This is why it’s SO important to know what is and isn’t included. We’ve heard so many horror stories of new homeowners excitedly opening the doors to their new homes… only to find themselves without an item they were expecting.
Here are a few examples: Unless specifically excluded, lighting fixtures stay after the sale. Stoves do, too. A fridge may or may not be included in a sale—it depends on whether it is built into the house, or if it can be unplugged and rolled away.
Navigating these rules is crucial for a seamless sale process, which is why we encourage all prospective buyers to do two things. First, familiarize yourself with the contract. See for yourself what is and isn’t included. Second, work with a real estate agent who prioritizes serving you. They’ll navigate this issue with you, collaborate with you, and help you reserve items you want to keep.
Five Things to Consider Before Buying
For most buyers, it comes down to understanding a few crucial distinctions. Once you do, everything else is pretty common sense. To save you the emotional turmoil of losing your favorite curtains or chandelier, here are five things to consider before buying that home.
Plants and Landscaping
All plants are buried into the property, meaning they’re attached to the property. So, they transfer to the new homeowner. No matter how much time the previous homeowner spent on their garden or landscaping, if you just bought the house, all those lilies, hydrangeas, and shrubs now belong to you. However, plants and decorations in a pot can be considered personal property.
Chandeliers and Lighting Fixtures
Once the home is contracted, any light fixtures must stay in the house unless specifically stated otherwise on the contract. If you see a chandelier or other lighting fixture you love before the sale, make sure that there is no language in the contract permitting the seller to remove it. This is also something to communicate with your agent about so that you’re met with no surprises!
Window Rods, Blinds, and Curtains
Rods and blinds, even expensive ones, are considered part of the property and should go to the new owner since they are usually attached. The same goes for curtains (even bathroom curtains). One might assume they are personal property because they can be removed more easily, but according to the standard Texas real estate contract, they stay unless specifically excluded from the sale.
In our decades of serving the Fort Worth community, we’ve heard some stories of buyers excitedly entering their new home… only to find missing doorknobs, kitchen cabinet pulls, and bath fixtures. Let us be clear: This goes against the contract. If something like this happens to you, contact your agent.
There’s No Overarching Rule—So Work with an Agent
Reading this, you may notice a pattern. It seems like things attached to the home stay, and things that aren’t attached go. After all, hardware, plants, and lighting fixtures are attached, but appliances are not. The truth is more nuanced than one broad rule, however. It’s difficult to lay out one absolute rule about what stays and goes. This further underlines the risks a buyer takes by going it alone rather than consulting with an experienced agent.
With all that said, don’t let the home buying process overwhelm you. Once you learn the rules and communicate with your agent, you can be confident about what is included in the sale. The sooner you get this down, the sooner you’ll get to settle into that beautiful dining room or snooze in your new favorite master bedroom!
Whatever your need, your LEAGUE agent is #ReadytoServe you at every step in the process. If you have more questions about the home buying process, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll connect you with the right agent to help guide you and answer any questions you have.