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Jay Thomas

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Sales Contract Provides Final Word on What Stays, Goes

February 12th, 2020


When a property changes hands, what goes with it? Unless otherwise stated in the sales contract, you won’t find a comfy couch and huge flat-panel TV waiting for you when you move in. But how about curtains, carpets, or mirrors?

The question of what conveys, or is included, with a property can be more complicated than you think. It’s important that by the time you, whether a buyer or seller, reach the closing table, you know exactly which items go on the moving truck and which ones stay behind. Here’s how to know what’s included or excluded in a sale.

A property includes anything permanently attached to the house or anything that would cause significant damage to remove. That definition leaves some room for interpretation, so the Texas Real Estate Commission’s One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale), used in most transactions involving the resale of residential property, dedicates a section to this topic.

Paragraph 2 of this contract covers the improvements, attachments and accessories that stay with the property. It also deals specifically with exclusions – items usually included with the sale that are excluded from a particular transaction.

Some online listings mention specific improvements like “Gorgeous kitchen upgrades with stainless steel appliances.” That doesn’t necessarily mean those stainless steel appliances come with the house. Certain built-in appliances may convey, but don’t assume anything – and don’t trust the information online. The final word on what stays or goes is the sales contract.

It’s all negotiable

So what’s attached to the home and what isn’t? The contract language says that the brackets for wall-mounted flat-screen TVs stay with the house, but the TV does not. Any permanently installed or built-in appliance stays; that usually includes the oven or stove but may not include the refrigerator. There’s a long list of items in the contract that usually convey with the house, but everything is negotiable – that’s why there’s a section for exclusions.

Find out before you close

If you’re selling, be certain you know what you’re responsible for leaving behind and what you can take with you. Your Realtor can make sure your contract reflects your wishes.

And if you’re a potential buyer, ask what comes with a house before you make an offer. You can always have your Realtor negotiate for something to be included in the sale, like the TV in the bedroom or the washer and dryer. Just be sure you’re not derailing the purchase of your $250,000 dream home over a $500 set of drapes.

For information about buying and selling property, and an extensive listing of properties across the state of Texas, please visit HAR.com.


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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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