You’ve fallen in love with a house largely thanks to home fixtures like high-end appliances in the newly renovated kitchen. But can you really count on keeping that Viking range after you’ve closed? Before you make an offer, you’d better find out what’s yours when you buy a house—and what’s going to take some negotiation to keep.
As a general rule, the buyer keeps anything permanently attached to the home. But when it comes to appliances and custom-built pieces, it may depend on your market, and whatever deals you make with the seller prior to close. Always ask your real estate agent, rather than assume something’s included. “People usually put riders in the contract to lay out who gets what, and a buyer should make sure their attorney helps with this negotiation so there aren’t any surprises,” says real estate agent Allison Pennell of Brown Harris Stevens in Brooklyn, NY.
However, there are some common house fixtures that stay with the house when you buy a home.
What fixtures come with the house
Built-ins and major custom pieces: Cabinets, bookshelves, window seats, and any other elements created specifically for the home and attached to it are yours to keep. A general rule of thumb? If you’d have to hire a contractor to remove it, it stays with you. Other major custom pieces like plantation shutters or specially made drapes will typically stay as well, but be sure to confirm this.
Hardware: All those drawer pulls, doorknobs, and handles you saw during the open house should still be there when the home becomes yours. Sometimes sellers will swap out pricey hardware with something cheaper. It’s bad form, but at the very least there should be some hardware there. You shouldn’t be moving into a house with no doorknobs.
Some kitchen appliances: Many mortgage lenders require that the home have a working oven in the kitchen. Does it have to be the same one you saw during the open house? If the home’s listing mentioned “recently upgraded kitchen” with “professional-grade appliances” as selling points, you should expect to keep those appliances. Washers and dryers typically go with the seller unless otherwise specified.
Landscaping: The trees, the shrubs, and yes, even those tulip bulbs are yours to keep. Don’t count every flower and every blade of grass. But you shouldn’t encounter any mysterious holes in the garden you didn’t see before.
Light fixtures: You should expect to have some overhead light fixtures in the house. Sellers will usually take high-end or antique fixtures with them, though. Lamps, of course, go with the seller.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: In most cases, sellers are not only required to leave these behind, but your mortgage lender may require them to be in good working order.
How to negotiate the rest
Rugs, patio furniture, easily removed custom pieces (like spice racks), special light fixtures, and garden equipment usually leave with the former owner. But you can make an offer on these items through your real estate agent. What happens if a seller plans on taking their dining table with them, but you’ve fallen in love with the thing? “Just figure out the fair market value and work out an offer at closing, or an exchange of some kind,” says Pennell.
Some home security systems are designed to be easily moved, while others are permanently installed. If the latter is the case, make sure the service is canceled. You can always keep that system with a new account under your name. Otherwise, expect the owner to take their alarm system with them.
When in doubt, ask the sellers if they are willing to leave anything with the home. You may be pleasantly surprised at what they’re eager to unload, and at what price.
The post 6 Fixtures to Keep When You Buy a Home (and How to Negotiate the Rest) appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.
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