by Housesimple on 21st May 2018
A property sale normally involves your land, walls and roof – but there’s often more to it than that. As a seller, you need to be clear about the other items you're leaving behind for the future owner, while your buyer might have a few extras they’re looking to bring into the mix. With everything to play for, it’s time to think about how you can satisfy your buyer while still making the most of your sale.
Fixtures and fittings
Every contract refers to ‘fixtures and fittings’ or ‘fixtures and chattels.’ Fixtures are items that form part of the land or building. These could be fences and gates or indoor items like a fireplace or boiler.
Fittings are mainly removable furnishings. There’s no set legal definition. Buyers might ask you to leave some of these fittings, like curtains and lampshades, but you have no legal obligation to do so.
In Scotland, ‘Scottish standard clauses’ require central heating and other appliances to be in working order when a property is sold. Elsewhere in the UK, there is no legal requirement to include anything in the sale.
However, the onus is on the seller to make it clear when they’re taking fixtures with them that buyers would reasonably expect to be left behind. This tends to include items like the boiler, fireplaces, doors, light fittings, radiators and bathroom suites.
To avoid uncertainty, your solicitor should provide you with a questionnaire to find out what items you’re leaving for the buyer. Make sure you answer these clearly and honestly, because a buyer may be able to claim for costs of any items you leave ‘in working order’ that they subsequently discover to be damaged. They can also demand you remove any unlisted items that are left behind.
Similarly, if you damage the building or any included items before contracts are exchanged, you must inform the buyer. This also might mean you’ll have an extra repair bill to shoulder before moving out.
When you’re negotiating with a buyer, they may ask to keep specific items. White goods like fridges and freezers or furnishings such as curtains, carpets, rugs and lamp shades are often in the mix.
If you’re not keen on selling them, you could switch items for simpler alternatives before you start viewings. If you’re open to the idea of selling them, use them as a bargaining chip to swing a sale or increase the value of your home.
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