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Fixtures important in many home purchases

People in Pennsylvania involved in real estate sales are understandably primarily concerned with the size and price of the home that they are buying or selling. When it comes to closing the transaction, however, it is important to make sure that it is clearly understood what items of property on the premises are regarded as fixtures that go with the building, and what can be removed by the seller while moving out.

Having an experienced real estate attorney can help a great deal in this area. A good real estate contract will specify which items of personal property on the premises are part of the sale. Ceiling fans, appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners or microwaves, and many other items can become contentious at the real estate closing if they are not specified in the contract.

In some instances, when a buyer and a seller handle a real estate contract without attorneys, such issues have not been specified in the document. This can end up with a canceled sale or a big surprise once the buyer moves and finds items gone they thought came with the property. Some things are more permanently built into the property, such as a built-in microwave or a water heater. These are usually regarded as fixtures. Other things are not, such as a countertop microwave. The two parties in the home contract, though, are free to negotiate and can include or exclude specific items in the sale.

In some instances, of course, the buyer and seller may agree to include certain items, such as furniture or art work in the sale. This may be particularly important for specially-make items like bookcases or cabinets that were specially designed to fit a particular space.

New York Times, "How fights over fixtures can derail a closing" Robin Finn, Aug. 23, 2013

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