What stays and what goes?


During a property transaction there are often cases when more than just the land and building are being transferred into new ownership. Things can get pretty heated when there are misunderstandings between buyers and sellers on what is staying and what is going… To determine what stays and what goes we need to look at 3 different terms: Real property, Personal Property and Fixtures.

Lets take a closer look.

1.      Real Property is the defined as the land and all the building and structures affixed to that land. Basically all the things that are immovable including all landscaping and tree.

This is the primary property which is transferred in a real estate transaction.

Personal Property is movable. These are the kinds of things you an expect a seller to take with them when they move. Examples include, pots, furniture, tools, cars, tv’s etc…


Fittings such as curtains are also regarded as personal property.


3.      Fixtures are attached to the property in a permanent way. Fixtures is where disputes arise because “permanent” can be a little grey. If the item is bolted to a wall, floor cabinet or counter is effectively a fixture. However often sellers intend to take these with them when they move. This is where the problem starts. Examples include: wall mounted shelves, ceiling fans, blinds and built in stoves or microwaves.


A good way to find out if something is a fixture is to think; if you turned the property upside down and shook , whatever falls, goes and whatever doesn’t, stays. Personal property goes and fixtures stay.

Built in appliances such as stoves are fixtures but something like refrigerator can be unplugged and moved and thus personal property. If you were to remove something from a wall (or floor or cabinet or counter) and it leaves a hole which needs to be patched up, this is a fixture. However if there is an item of value to the seller which they intend to remove, this item must be clearly indicated to the buyer that it not going to stay with the property. The seller would then remove the item when the property is sold and will have to repair any wall damage.

Any items which are unclear to be fixtures or personal property should be clarified with the seller whether or not they intend to take it with them. These items they do not intend to take with them should be clearly stated in the sales agreement.

After transfer any property left on the real property including personal property which the seller forgot to take with them, no longer belongs to the seller. Fixtures are a part of the real property and the personal property is regarded as abandoned.

Always clarify what what are fixtures and what are fittings with your agent and make sure you and the buyer/seller agree on what stays and what goes. Saves yourselves the headaches and agree in writing from the start for a smooth transfer.