3 simple ways to know what stays in a property when you buy it

We’ve all heard horror stories of people buying property only to realise that some of the things they thought were sold with the property were actually taken out before settlement. 

I recently heard an example of this where a purchaser had bought his dream home which included state of the art cinema equipment, or so he thought.

He arrived on settlement day to discover that all the equipment had been removed…

So what stays?

Anything permanently attached to the property or land is generally included in the sale.

These items are called fixtures.sold

A simple way of identifying a fixture is to ask yourself whether removing the item would ruin or disfigure the property or land.

If the answer is yes then it’s likely to be a fixture.

However, bare in mind that sellers are entitled to remove fixtures if they list in the contract of sale the fixtures that do not form part of the sale.

This highlights the importance of ensuring your lawyer looks over the contract of sale before you make an offer on a property.

Examples of fixtures: floor coverings, light fittings, garden plants.

So what goes?

Basically the reverse is true.

If you can disconnect, unhook or detach the item without much force (and certainly without tools) it will generally be regarded as a ‘fitting’ rather than a ‘fixture’ and therefore it will not be included in the sale.

Examples: Furniture, free-standing appliances, potted plants.

If you’re buying a property, keep in mind the following three pointers to avoid this happening to you.

1.    Make a list: When inspecting a property, ask the agent to tell you which items are included in the sale and which are not.
Then make a list of both.

2.    Check the contract: Double-check the information the agent has given you with the information in the contract of sale.
If the lists don’t match then ask the agent to clarify before making an offer on the property.

Take photos: This is true of any property you intend to buy.

Take pictures so you can remember what was sold with the property, then cross-check those pictures with the contract and then again with the property on settlement day.

There’s often a long period of time between purchasing a property and moving in, so it’s good to have a back up.

Want more of this type of information?

Mira Stammers


Mira is a solicitor and CEO of Legally Yours, has been working as a lawyer since 2007 in both Melbourne and London, and founded Legally Yours with the aim of make the law more accessible and affordable for all Australians. Visit Legally Yours.

'3 simple ways to know what stays in a property when you buy it' have 1 comment

  1. December 19, 2015 @ 4:37 am Joanie Heighes

    Great article. Always Always Always check the contract! :)


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