What exactly is a fixture in Real Estate?

There are certain criteria that you can look at to help you determine whether or not personal property should be classified as a fixture:

How the item is attached?

For starters, identify how the item is fastened to the property. If it’s permanently attached to the wall, floor, or ceiling with nails, screws, glue, cement, or anything else along these lines, it’s likely a fixture, regardless of whether or not you can easily remove it. Examples include light fixtures, ceiling fans, wall sconces, TV mounts, shelving units, and so forth.

Adaptability of the item to be used with the property.

f the item was specifically built and permanently installed in the home to be used with the property, it’s a fixture. It’s a part of the property and should generally not be removed by the seller. Examples include built-in electronics, wall-to-wall carpeting, or laminate floor planks. Items like these are part of the property, and are therefore considered fixtures.

Agreement between the buyer and seller

Ideally, the purchase agreement will specifically detail what is defined as a fixture and therefore included in the sale, and what is not. This is the most important criteria that will lower the odds of any disagreements and subsequent disputes. As long as everyone is in agreement about what can be taken and what will be left behind, there should be no issues.

Always Make Sure Your Contract is Detailed About Specific Fixtures

Even though real estate law clearly defines what is and is not a fixture, it’s still critical to make sure that the contract specifies which items will be staying with the property and which ones will be taken with the seller. This is particularly important if there is even a shadow of a doubt about the fixtures. Items that are commonly detailed in real estate contracts include appliances, shelving units, and portable water fountains. Items such as these – as well as many others – should be classified in the purchase agreement as either being included or excluded in the sale.

There’s nothing wrong with being overly detailed, especially if there is even the slightest possibility that one party may be confused about what constitutes a fixture or not. Your real estate agent will have in-depth knowledge about fixtures and the law that surrounds them. Be sure to tap into the knowledge of your real estate professional if you have any questions about which items should stay, and which can go.