As a result of improvements in home-technology, it is increasingly important for purchasers and sellers in residential real estate transactions to clearly define what articles should be included or excluded in their contract of sale.
Personal Property is all property which is moveable in nature and whose removal will not cause damage to the real estate to which it is attached. Unless otherwise indicated in the contract, personal property is excluded from sale.
Conversely, a fixture is permanently attached to the real estate. Fixtures become part of the realty and are conveyed with the real estate upon its sale. The classic example of a fixture is a chandelier/lighting fixture which, if not excluded from the contract, will be conveyed with the real estate upon its sale.
Traditionally, televisions were considered items of personal property and were not included in the sale. However, as technology improves, and individuals continue affixing flat screen TV’s to their walls, or incorporating speakers into their ceilings, a question arises as to whether the ceiling speakers, and flat screen TV’s, constitute “fixtures.” If considered a fixture, the flat screen TV is included in the sale.
Instead of walking a tight rope around the issue of whether a flat screen TV is a fixture, or personal property, parties should contract around this issue and specifically include or exclude articles of property from the contract. Therefore, parties should always be clear and inform their attorney and broker what articles of property should be included or excluded in the contract of sale.