What Items Can My Partner and I Expect to Remain in The Home We Are Considering Purchasing?

What Items Can My Partner and I Expect to Remain in The Home We Are Considering Purchasing?

There are many gray areas when it comes to determining exactly what should stay with the home and what may be removed by the sellers. In general, items that are fixed to the real estate must stay. Sellers may take any personal property that is not affixed to the property unless you have stipulated that it stays in a purchase agreement that both the seller and you and your partner, the purchasers, have signed.


The law of fixtures states that items are considered affixed to a property if it is attached by roots, imbedded, or permanently attached to an item that is permanent by methods including cement, plaster, nails, bolts, screws, glue or other means. Toilets, sinks, cabinets, flooring, and landscaping, fencing and other improvements are considered fixtures. On the other hand, if you and your partner purchase a farm and crops have already been planted, the fruit of those crops are not generally included in the sale unless the seller specifically intends them to be by including them in contract.

Personal Property

Items including stoves, refrigerators and lawn statutes that are not permanently affixed to the home or land are generally considered personal property. Although, in some states, it is normal practice for stoves and refrigerators to stay with the property, it is not a legal requirement since they are not considered fixtures.

How the Courts Determine Fixtures vs. Personal Property

When disputes arise related to a seller removing property from a home after it has been sold, the courts use four tests to determine whether an item is a fixture or is personal property.

1. How was it attached? Although an item may be attached by cement, plaster, nails, bolts, screws, glue or other means, if it can be easily removed without damaging the home, it is probably not a fixture. For example, drapes can be removed by unhooking them.

2. What did the parties agree to? If, for example, a light fixture in the dining room has been attached to the home with the use of wires and bolts, and the buyer and seller did not agree that it would be removed in the contract, the light fixture was included because of the method used to attach it.

3. Has the item been adapted for use with the property? If an item was installed for permanent use with the property, it is a fixture and is included in the sale. For example, solar panels, carpeting, and attic insulation. The final determination of the court in this test can be difficult to anticipate.

4. What did the parties intend? The buyer and seller’s intent will be considered to determine if an item that is personal property has become a permanent fixture.

How to Locate an LGBT Real Estate Agent

You should not assume that everything that you see when viewing a home you would like to purchase will come with the house. If there is a chandelier, built-in dishwasher or other fixture that you would like left in the home, it would be wise to include it in your contract to avoid any misunderstandings. Before submitting a purchase agreement to a seller, buyers should hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent. He or she will help ensure that your contract includes all of the information necessary according to your wishes and will protect your interests through the process of purchasing your new home. The best way to find a reputable agent in your area is to conduct a free search for your locality on GayRealEstate.com.

Rules of Canceling a Real Estate Contract

There are rules that must be followed when dissolving a signed real estate contract. If proper channels are not used, the terminating party (buyer or seller) may be defending themselves in court.

In many states there is a three-day period called the “Attorney review period” after the contract has been signed during which either party may withdraw commitment to the contract. In states where this is not a law or if the three days is long gone, there are other options.

Standard legal contracts for the sale of real estate include a date by which time the buyer is required to have loan approval for the purchase price of the property. If the buyer cannot demonstrate his loan approval by the proper date, the seller can legally withdraw from the contract. If the buyer is the one wanting out, he must show that the loan was denied.


The contract will also have dates by which the home inspection and a real estate appraisal must be done.

After considering the inspection report, the buyer may legally withdraw from the contract without a reason if the condition reflected in the report is unacceptable, or if he does not want to negotiate with seller for repairs. If the seller is reconsidering the sale and wants to terminate the contract, he may refuse to do any repairs in the hope that the buyer will cancel the sale. If the appraisal values the property at a lower dollar amount than the sale price in the contract, the buyer has a legal right to consider terminating the sale.


Either party may build contingencies into the contract.

These are stipulations both buyer and seller agree to beforehand that if not satisfied are grounds for termination. For example, a seller might have his agent put in a contingency stating that the sale is dependent upon his finding another property to move to with a signed contract by a certain date. If that doesn’t happen, the contract can be terminated. The buyer may make the purchase contingent upon a favorable pest control report, a water report, a septic tank inspection, or new carpet installed by a certain date.

If there are no supporting contingencies and the buyer or seller wants to terminate the sale, the best avenue is negotiation. The buyer may agree to forfeit his earnest money to be released from the contract, and the seller as well may agree to pay the buyer a sum of money to dissolve the contract without buyer’s punitive legal action, that is, a breach of contract lawsuit.

Your real estate agent may or may not be representing your best interests… are they a “buyers agent”, or “seller’s agent” ~ make sure you understand the legal consequences of any contract you sign. If you’re not working with a “buyer’s agent” as a buyer, or a “sellers agent” as a seller, always have your contract reviewed by a real estate attorney.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ The Nation’s Largest Free Directory of Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors offering Free Buyers Representation, Free Sellers Competitive Market Analysis and Free Relocation Kits to Any City, USA.