Many people don’t realize that there’s a difference between what they own personally and what their home owns, and when it comes time to sell, the confusion can cause a lot of problems. Take the period chandelier in your entryway, for example. It’s the perfect example of personal versus real property. So, who does it belong to?

When a buyer purchases a home, they are entering into a contract on real property, or anything that is part of the land or attached to it. But real property can also be something that is considered immovable by law, while personal property, by contrast, is any item that is movable and can be taken from the property. Of course, this can lead to confusion and disputes when the seller considers the chandelier personal property, but the buyer believes it should come along with the house.

Fortunately, there is criteria in place for determining whether something is real or personal property. The law takes into consideration how the item in question (i.e. the chandelier) is attached to the property. Of course, there is still room for interpretation, so it’s important for sellers to list personal property items in the purchase agreement that are to remain with them and give it to the closing agent. Similarly, if there are items they intend to keep with the property, those should be included on a Bill of Sale, which will transfer ownership to the new owners.

Other items that you should consider when selling your home are radiators, appliances, and built-in bookshelves. Because removing these items could cause damage when removed, they are often considered real property. Window treatments also fall within a grey area, so it’s important to clarify whether they will stay with the home or go.

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