Before you put your home on the market or start packing up your belongings, it’s good to have a general idea of what items will stay behind and what items you’ll take with you. Not sure what the norm is or what to expect? Read on to learn the rule of thumb for what stays and what goes!
What Stays: Anything Built-in
As a general rule, when you’re selling your home, anything that’s attached or built into the house typically stays behind. For example, if your house has built-in bookshelves, you should leave those shelves for the buyer. The same is true of any fireplaces, bathroom fixtures and kitchen fixtures.
You should also leave behind wall-to-wall carpeting and other flooring, hardware such as doorknobs and drawer pulls, light fixtures and any security systems or alarms, such as carbon monoxide monitors and smoke alarms. Items outside of the home should also be left behind if they are in the ground. For example, unless you specifically state that you are taking these, any bushes, trees and other in-ground plants should be left with the house.
What Can Stay: Certain Appliances and Furnishings
You don’t have to leave behind your refrigerator or other purchased appliances, such as the washer and dryer or dishwasher, but a lot of sellers do. Buyers sometimes anticipate that the appliances will stay, so if you do plan to take your refrigerator or washer and dryer, it’s a good idea to put that in writing before closing so that you and the buyer are on the same page. Not sure what the best move is? Read this for more appliance advice.
Certain furnishings can also be left behind, but they don’t have to be. For example, if you have a swing set outside that your kids have outgrown and a buyer has younger kids, you can offer to sell it with the house. If you’ve mounted a flat-screen TV to the wall, it might be easier to sell the wall mount and television with the home and purchase a new one in your next home. It’s also possible that a buyer might fall in love with a certain item in your home that you were planning to take, such as your couch or a freestanding bookcase in the living area. In that case, you can decide to include those items in the sale of the house if they turn out to be a good negotiating tool.
What Goes: Your Personal Belongings
Unless you negotiate a deal with a buyer, any items that belong to you and aren’t attached to or otherwise part of the house go with you when you sell. Plan to take your furniture, art hanging on the walls, small throw rugs and curtains with you when you move. If you plan to take something that would normally be left behind, such as your prized rose bushes or a light fixture that is a family heirloom, make sure you put that in writing at the start of the selling process so buyers are aware that it will be missing at closing. In that case, it would be a nice gesture to replace whatever item you decide to take with something that the new buyers can enjoy.
Hopefully this post helped you decide what to take and what to leave behind when you list your home for sale!
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