What’s Included in the Sale?
When you purchase a property, you tend to fall in love with the overall picture – the home, it’s garden, the location and often, feature items such as an ornate Chandelier. We’re generally paying a premium price and we expect that what we’ve agreed to purchase is what we get. This includes what we call ‘fixtures and fittings’ such as interior and exterior window furnishings, carpets, fixed light fittings, built-in wardrobes, integrated appliances etc. It also includes garden items such as pergolas, built-in BBQs, in-ground trees and plants. What is not included is commonly called ‘chattels’ and covers more personal items such as clothes, furniture, table lamps, refrigerator, washing machine, outdoor furniture etc. To arrive as the owner with your keys and find that chandelier gone can be a rude and unwelcome shock.
Every vendor is different and so too their properties. Some vendors are happy to include items that may be difficult to transport. Fridges can be tricky, with time spent in storage or on removal trucks playing havoc with the internal cooling gas and owners find that when installing the fridge in their new home, it doesn’t work. Removal insurance will cover transported fridges for damage, but not for simply failing to work when turned on at their destination. It’s often easier to include them in the sale, especially if they fit a custom-designed space. Alternatively, vendors often elect to sell them prior to moving. Conversely, a buyer interested in an item can ask if the vendor will include it. While likely to consider the request, the vendor is not obliged to agree to it.
When a vendor is particularly attached to an item that would normally be considered a fixture such as an in-ground tree – I had a friend who purchased a property from a vendor who requested to dig up and retain a lemon tree given to her by her now deceased mother – it should be included in the Contract of Sale as an ‘Exclusion’. That way the buyer knows from the outset if any items they’d ordinarily expect to buy aren’t included.
Before I list a property, I take time to sit with the vendor and go through all aspects of the Contract of Sale. I ask them to think about whether there are any special ‘fixed’ items they’d like to retain and if so, I request they have their legal representative identify them clearly and specifically under ‘Exclusions’. When showing the property, I also make mention of any such items to the prospective buyer so there is full disclosure from the outset. Buyers should also be aware that it is their responsibility to read and understand the Contract of Sale to avoid any nasty surprises. Buyers are also instructed by their legal representatives to conduct a pre-settlement inspection to ensure the property hasn’t been damaged and contains everything in accordance with the Contract of Sale. Any items the vendor has excluded should be removed from the property before settlement. And of course, if in doubt….. ask your agent to clarify with the vendor any questions you might have.