Q: I have a comment on a comment you made in the Real Estate Mail Bag in late August.
You featured a letter from a buyer who said the seller took the ceiling fans and light fixtures out of a home that was sold to him. The buyer thought that was okay because the seller said all of the homes were sold without light fixtures and ceiling fans.
After moving in, the buyer wrote that he learned that all the homes in that same community were originally sold with ceiling fans and light fixtures, and he believes the seller lied.
But, the seller did buy those ceiling fans and light fixtures! The buyers of the other properties in the development also bought theirs. In the standardized purchase agreement used by Realtors in the Cedar Rapids, IA, area is a statement that says fixtures attached to the property are sold with the property.
That statement was probably not in the purchase contract for the subject property. The real problem is that the buyer was half asleep when he signed the purchase offer.
A: Most residential real estate contracts specify that fixtures (items that are “fixed” to the walls or floors of the property) are sold with the property. Examples would be built-in bookcases or desks, light fixtures, and fans.
I do agree that the buyer was probably asleep at the switch, and I have to assume that the buyer didn’t have a real estate attorney or even a real estate agent to point out that typically fixtures are sold with the property.
While in some areas of the country washers, dryers, and even refrigerators are typically not sold with the property, these items are usually listed specifically in the contract.
Which is why it pays to read your contract — and to be aware of what the neighborhood traditions are when it comes to buying and selling homes.