Real Estate Agent and Trainer, Robert Rico, explains the difference between Real Property and Personal Property, and also stresses the importance of putting everything in the contract Do you want to see more video blogs? Subscribe here!
As real estate agents, our job is to sell real property – not personal property, which includes the items inside the home (like couches, tables, and chairs). What is the difference, you might ask?
In a nutshell, real property is anything that’s immovable and attached to the house – walls, windows, blinds, light fixtures, doors, and (most) appliances. Personal property is anything that can be moved or taken from the house – furniture, artwork, above-ground hot tubs, and more. Of course though, there are exceptions – which is why we made a blog calling attention to some of the common mistakes made by agents during real property transactions.
When a buyer makes an offer on a property, all real property is by default included – but this includes some things that are expected to be taken, and excludes some things that are expected to be left behind. Therefore, when in doubt, write it out! Most people would assume a refrigerator comes with the house (especially most first time homebuyers, who have probably been renting homes with refrigerators), but a refrigerator is actually movable personal property, so it isn’t technically included unless it’s a built-in fridge, or unless it’s written in the contract.
Some items straddle the boundaries between personal and real property when they are affixed to the house – for example, a custom chandelier that is attached and wired in the dining room. The sellers might have an emotional attachment to the chandelier and want to take it with them to their next home, but the buyers might also fall in love with it and want it to stay. This is where our mantra comes in — when in doubt, write it out!
Your job as an agent is to make this distinction clear to your buyers or sellers, because most homeowners are not real estate professionals. If you’re representing the buyers and they want a piece of personal property, it’s your job to talk to the seller’s agent and come up with terms for the exchange of that property as well. If you’re representing the sellers and they want to keep a specific piece of property after they leave (especially if it’s attached to the house), it’s your job to be clear about that to any potential buyers as it could affect the deal.
When in doubt, write it out!