What do I have to leave when I sell my house?
When selling your home, it can be difficult to know what you should and shouldn’t leave behind. For instance, do curtain rods stay with the house – or would a buyer expect you to take them with you? Fortunately, to avoid confusion either side of the sale, we’ve outlined the process you should go through ahead of vacating your property.
Read on to discover what stays with a house when you sell it, what is considered a fixture when selling a house, and our top tips for a seamless handover.
What stays with a house when you sell it?
There is actually no law in the UK that dictates what stays with a house when you sell it, which can lead to some contention from your buyer. Everyone has different expectations about what should be left by a previous owner, and what can reasonably be taken away.
However, while there’s no obligation to leave any furniture or homeware behind, it’s considered standard practice and polite to clarify how you intend to leave your property following completion.
The most common way of letting your buyer know what you plan to leave is to include a fixtures and fittings inventory within the sale contract (an inventory is just another term for list). Having, and agreeing, your intentions in writing avoids conflict that may otherwise have arisen later down the line, as a result of crossed wires or confusion.
What is considered a fixture when selling a house?
When writing your inventory, it can be helpful to know what kind of things you could include. But what is considered a fixture when selling a house?
Generally speaking, a fixture is something that is ‘fixed’ to your home (i.e. freestanding furniture), while a fitting is something that is ‘fitted’ (i.e. kitchen cabinets). But what other elements should you be considering when drawing up your inventory – and what might you want to take with you?
What could be considered a fixture?
As touched upon above, a fixture is often thought of as something that cannot be easily removed, because it is fixed, bolted, or screwed to a wall or floor. We’ve outlined some common examples of household fixtures, to give you an idea of what this category includes:
- Main/central lights (not including freestanding lamps)
- Central heating boiler
- Wall-mounted radiators
- Sinks, baths, showers, toilets (anything that requires plumbing)
- Plug sockets
- Kitchen units and cabinetry
- Built-in bedroom or dressing room wardrobes
What could be considered a fitting?
As opposed to fixtures, a fitting is generally thought to be anything that is freestanding and can easily be moved or rearranged. Common household fittings include:
- Paintings, prints, and mirrors
- Freestanding furniture (i.e. beds, sofas, tables, and chairs)
- Freestanding kitchen/utility appliances (i.e. ovens, fridges, washing machines)
- TV and attached accessories and boxes
Naturally, there is a grey area, when determining whether some things are fixtures or fittings. For instance, you may have carpets within your home. While carpets can quite easily be taken up, and could technically fall into the fittings bracket, buyers often expect them to be left in the property as a fixture.
Do curtain rods stay with the house?
A couple of household features that should also be clarified in your inventory are your curtains and curtain poles. The chances are, you quite like your curtains, so would rather take them along with your to your next home; this is widely accepted, and your buyer will more-than-likely understand completely.
However, moving etiquette usually compels you to leave your curtain rods or poles in the property. That said, there is no hard and fast rule around what you can and can’t take, so, if you’re particularly fond of your poles, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving them off your inventory.
Tips for leaving fixtures and fittings
What stays with a house when you sell it will be outlined clearly within your inventory. But, sometimes, a situation requires a human element – especially if there’s a disagreement. We’ve outlined our top three tips for leaving fixtures and fittings.
1. Leaving fittings can quicken your house sale
If it’s a quick house sale you’re after, you might be better off throwing in your fittings to sweeten the deal. You might not have initially included your fridge, oven, and washing machine on your inventory, but it might be worthwhile offering them to your prospective buyer if they appear to be teetering. Who knows, it may sway them to agree to a deal sooner.
2. Put everything in writing
Before committing to a sale, make sure everything you’re leaving behind is agreed in writing. This makes the sale process smoother, and means you won’t have an angry buyer who thought they were getting more for their money.
3. Be friendly and approachable
When selling your home, you may want to take all of your furniture and a selection of fittings with you, which might require some strong negotiating. With this in mind, even if your buyer is being difficult, always try to stay friendly and receptive to their points of view.
Ultimately, a buyer is less likely to be obstructive, and accept an unfurnished home, if they recognise that you are open to negotiation yourself. Also, importantly, you don’t want to risk your buyer pulling out over something so trivial as a few household fixtures.
Selling your home can be stressful, especially if you’re looking to buy a new home at the same time, so being able to speed up the process by establishing expectations early on can be helpful. For even more property advice, head over to our blog.