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John Souerbry's Blog

By John Souerbry | Broker in Palo Alto, CA

Home Selling Tip Of The Day: Taking Fixtures With Us

Home Selling Tip Of The Day: Taking Fixtures With UsIn yesterday’s home selling tip we discussed selling personal property with our home, today we’ll discuss taking fixtures with us that we don’t want to sell with it.

The words “installed” and “attached” can be gray areas when it’s time to sell a home.  During our period of ownership we’ll make many different types of upgrades, from chandeliers to bathroom faucets.  Each of these items was chosen based upon our personal style and some may be hard-to-find or one-of-a-kind pieces.  If they were easily installed with a few screws and bolts, it’s easy to take them with us to our new home, and many sellers choose to do just that.

Buyers are often surprised when escrow closes and they enter the home for the first time as owners, only to find that several attached or installed fixtures have been removed.  Sometimes items are missing that were actually major reasons affecting the buyer’s decision to purchase the home.  Items that have frequently either disappeared or were exchanged for cheaper models between when an offer was accepted and when escrow closed include:

· Kitchen and bath faucets

· Shower heads

· Toilets

· Water filtration systems

· Lighting fixtures of all types

· Bookshelves that look like built-ins but are actually just separate units screwed to the wall and perhaps even painted to match

· Mirrored closet doors

· Light switch and power outlet cover plates

· Work benches in workshops and garages

· Small, free-standing storage sheds

· Custom-built doors (interior and exterior)

· Free-standing hot tubs and above-ground pools

If we’re sellers wanting to take any of these or other installed items with us when we sell, what are our options?  There are two:

1.    Remove everything that will be taken and put it in storage before placing the home on the market.

2.    Properly disclose which items will be removed.

Digital photography makes it simple and inexpensive to create a “photo catalog” of a home’s interior and exterior.  As primarily a listing broker, I take 200 - 300 photos of a property at the time I sign a listing contract.  In addition to featured pictures that will appear in the MLS and marketing materials, I also take photos of identification plates and serial numbers on all appliances and close-up photos of all electrical, plumbing, and other fixtures and features of the home and grounds.  The purpose is to document the existence and condition of these items in the event that they become an issue in the future.  From this “master catalog” it’s very easy to create a second catalog of the items that will not be staying with the home.  That catalog will be an attachment to the seller’s Transfer Disclosure Statement so that buyers will be forewarned IN WRITING of the seller’s plans.  I also recommend that these fixtures are labeled during open houses and lock box viewing hours.

One last thing about removing fixtures prior to sale – make sure not to leave any damage when removing the items.  Walls, floors and other connecting points should be repaired to match the surrounding area.  If an item, such as a kitchen faucet, will be taken and not replaced, that should be disclosed to the buyer.

Check back daily for more useful tips for profitable home selling.

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John A. Souerbry & Associates     (DRE 01370983)

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