When you are preparing to sell your home there are many details to be considered. One very important but often overlooked item is which fixtures and appliances will be included in the sale. This information is detailed in both the Listing Agreement between a Seller and Broker and more importantly in the Purchase & Sale Agreement when an offer comes in. Missing the details, however, can result in unpleasant surprises just before closing and sometimes Sellers find themselves paying a Buyer for things that, by contract, should not have been removed from the home. This can and should be avoided!
In the St. Johns/Jacksonville real estate market the standard Purchase & Sale Agreement has a comprehensive list of items that are expected to be part of the sale including window treatments and hardware, light fixtures and light bulbs, bathroom mirrors, dishwashers, ovens and audio/visual system wiring. Of course these things can be negotiated but if they aren't the items must remain in the home. It is important for Sellers to carefully review the Listing Agreement and any offers that come in to be sure they are in agreement with the terms of what must stay in the home. If not, the terms should be changed and agreed to in writing before the contract is signed.
So what items are expected to stay? I advise Sellers that I work with to view it this way: if an item is attached to a wall, ceiling or floor anywhere on the property and it would require a tool (screwdriver, wrench, hammer, etc.) to remove it, the item must stay with the home at closing unless the Seller and Buyer have agreed in writing to another arrangement. (One exception to this, of course, is light bulbs which must stay.)
When I am working with Sellers to get their home listed I talk with them about what items are typically included in the sale. Very often a Seller will tell me that they don't want to leave certain things behind, most often a treasured light fixture or chandelier, custom window treatment or mounted television screen. In those cases I strongly encourage the Seller to remove and store those items prior to listing the home for sale so there is no confusion or expectation from a potential Buyer about whether that item is staying. If that is not practical, the MLS listing should clearly indicate what items do not covey. I cannot tell you how often a sale unravels over one item that both a Seller and Buyer insist upon keeping.
There is plenty of stress involved in selling a home; misunderstandings over fixtures and appliances should not contribute to that. Let your Realtor® help you avoid them so you can focus your time and energy on important things.