The Ultimate Closing War: What Stays, and What Goes After the House is Sold to the Buyer?

Arguments arise when it comes to what stays and what goes in the sale of a house. Fights have broken out over curtain rings, lighting, and appliances. It is important to be armed with this information, because you don’t want to let these things impact whether or not the buyer goes through with purchasing the house.

There are legalities regarding this subject, however, they are very broad and often useless. It generally comes down to the buyer and seller. What the buyer wants, versus what the seller is willing to sacrifice, or part with. So what stays and what goes?images-2


All fixtures inside of the home. By definition, fixtures are anything permanently attached to the property. For example, if removing a specific fixture would mess up with walls, ceiling, or structure, it is considered by law a fixture and must therefore be included in the sale. If it requires tools or a professional to stays.

Some more examples of fixtures might include: built in appliances, any lighting fixtures, any installed fans on the ceiling, flowers, and definitely shutters. Of course, it is up to the sellers personal discretion as to whether or not they choose to leave any of these things. Some sellers are willing to leave certain fixtures if they do not want them or have a use for them.images


The things that go are any personal property. If it is able to be detached or removed from the home without the use of tools, you can take it with you. Again, if the seller is willing to leave some of these things then they may do so. Other times, buyers do not want them and will get angry if you leave them when you move. Do the right thing and remove your personal property from the home.

Examples of personal property include any freestanding appliances. Pots, fountains, photos. While it seems completely obvious that these things be allowed to go during the sale, it isn’t obvious to some buyers. Some sellers have removed fireplace mantles, taken cabinets, shutters, plants, and trees. While it might seem shocking to some people, you’d be amazed at the battles sellers and buyers have gotten into when it comes to what stays and what goes.

Fine lines

There are some items that aren’t so black and white. For example, when personal property is made into a fixture. This means that an item is acquired, but attached to the home or outside. These sorts of things can be confusing. Window treatments are another hot topic as well. Rods, cornices, shutters, and shades. Some window treatments are attached, like valences, while curtains can easily be taken off of the rings. images-1

Accessories are another big issue. Accessories include fixtures such as fireplace tools, fireplace logs (gas), pool chemicals, and other equipment needed to clean it. These are all considered personal property. However, conflict arises when the accessories are a part of a set, or hard to replace.

If you aren’t sure of what should stay, or what should go, you should discuss it with your real estate agent. The agent might not always know either, and that is when they will call the buyers agent and discuss the details with them. Be sure that you include what you want to keep in the sale of the property in the documents.

One tip is to not show the house with any fixtures you plan to take with you. This way, the buyer can’t fall in love with a specific fixture and demand to keep it. However, do replace the fixtures with something else. If you want to take your marble fireplace mantle with you, fine. But add a nice replacement.

2 comments on The Ultimate Closing War: What Stays, and What Goes After the House is Sold to the Buyer?

  1. I’m an agent in California. It is SHOCKING the things that I’ve seen sellers request to take. One seller wanted to actually take the shutters (which by the way were there when SHE purchased the house). Her argument was that they are very expensive. The buyers argument was that they were going to have to pay for new ones too; but she also wanted to know what the heck the seller was going to do with those shutters, as shutters are custom to each home. Sellers can be ruthless.

  2. Yes, they can :). On the other hand, so can buyers. A friend of mine was buying a house and she requested that the pots in the front and back yard stayed. They weren’t even expensive pots. She refused to buy the house unless the owner let them stay. I was embarrassed for her when she told me this story.

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