STRUCTURAL OR MOVEABLE
Over the years we have experienced some crazy situations that warrant taking a second look at what is considered real property and what is considered personal. We have seen door knobs and fans switched out for closings, mirrors removed from bathroom walls, and appliances switched to different or lesser quality brands.
Here is what you need to know as a Seller:
What you show in your home on the MLS and during the showing is what you are selling. Personal objects are those items that are not attached structurally to the home. Doorknobs, fans, built-in appliances are part of the sale as these are structurally part of the home you are selling. But those are special antique knobs? Remove them before showing/selling or clearly mark and label that these items will not convey on the MLS and in the home. Mirrors get tricky because most people assume that bathroom mirrors or large hallway mirrors are attached - they are actually hung, so be specific on which ones will stay and which ones will go. Glued mirrors obviously are part of the home.
Let's talk appliances in South Carolina: refrigerators, washers, and dryers do not convey with the property. These items need to be specifically noted as to whether they will be part of the deal or not. All other appliances do not need to be mentioned unless it is like a microwave on the top of a counter standing alone. Light fixtures are just that, FIXTURES, meaning they are part of the house. If you have a favorite chandelier or lighting fixture, change it out before the showings as the Buyers are sure to want it the minute it is not available. A lesser solution is to make sure it is stated in the MLS and on the chandelier that it does not convey. Window treatments? Again, this is an item that is often confused. The shades are normally a fixture and the curtains are personal; be specific and label anything that might be misconstrued. Attached televisions? If you remove the TV from the wall, the wall needs to be repaired to look like new, so most attached televisions often convey, but be specific if you are leaving or not leaving the TV.
Here is what you need to know as the Buyer:
In South Carolina, the refrigerators, washer and dryer do not automatically convey. This must be stated in the contract if the Buyer wants these items. The law states that anything which is part of the land or attached to the house and is immovable, or can’t be removed without damage, or anything which is incidental or appurtenant to the land is real property. Personal property are the possessions you take with you when you move. Free-standing appliances are usually personal property. If removing the item requires pulling nails and repairing the wall, it’s probably real property. If it can be unscrewed and removed without leaving any damage, think about including it on the offer.
Be sure to ask for a detailed lists of any items to be included in the sale before closing. As a seller, make a list of items to be included in the sale and those you do not want included for your agent to specify in the sales contract.
Everything is negotiable, but furniture and other personal items cannot be part of the contract if a lender is involved. These are items that need to be negotiated outside of the sale contract after the contract is ratified (agreed by all). Sellers may often decide that it is easier to leave items than to move them or to even sell them by Bill of Sale after ratification. Be sure that there is approval to leave certain items in the home. Have your agent provide photos of the appliances, fans, knobs, or any other structure that could be switched out or missing at the walk-through. All you need to do is provide those photos at the closing table for reimbursement of funds to replace those items or if you know enough in advance, have them returned to the home before closing.