When either buying or selling it’s important you know the difference between chattels and fixtures.
Ensuring you’re clear about what is a fixture versus a chattel, and of the latter which are staying or going, will help your property transactions go smoothly.
The simple definitions are as follows:
- A fixture is something that is fixed to the property and forms part of the property.
- A chattel is something that is movable and does not form part of the property.
Fixtures are passed to the buyer regardless of whether or not they are specified in the agreement for sale and purchase of real estate, but chattels on the other hand will only be part of the deal if they are noted in the agreement, otherwise they will go with the seller.
To avoid what could be a costly and long battle, sellers and buyers should ensure they are clear about the fixtures and chattels as early as possible in the process, particularly given the potential for arguments around ‘grey areas’ likes telephones and light shades.
Sellers would be wise to ensure that when listing their property with a Sales Consultant they record the fixtures and chattels before their home goes on the market. Further, sellers should specify the chattels they want to take and which are included in the sale. Later they should check only the latter are included in the relevant section of any subsequent agreement for sale and purchase.
Buyers meanwhile need to ensure when inspecting a property that they find out from the Sales Consultant what are listed as fixtures and what the status of the chattels is. It is risky to assume, plus if a buyer really wants a particular chattel to stay the vendor may be negotiable. The final step for a buyer is to check the chattels that in their understanding are staying are indeed listed on any subsequent agreement.