5 Items Sellers Must Leave Behind

5 Items Sellers Must Leave Behind

The real estate business gets pretty interesting from time to time.  Especially when sellers remove the most unusual items from the home.  Door knobs, shrubbery, and toilet paper holders are just a few of the most unusual things some sellers have elected to take with them upon the sale of their homes.  This leaves buyers irritated and realtors confused.  

The completion of a successful real estate transaction is often contingent upon whether or not the proper items have been left behind. Closings have fallen through because sellers removed items such as permanent fixtures.

The Aitken Home Team presents a list of five things sellers must leave for their buyers:

Items which are attached to the home:

There is a general rule in most, if not all, of the fifty states which states that if something is nailed down, bolted or mounted, it’s there to stay.  One buyer, in particular, recently noticed the shed on the property on which she had just purchased had magically disappeared.  She later learned that the seller elected to sell the shed the evening before closing.  Meanwhile, another buyer noticed all the wall mounts were removed from her home and the list goes on.  Appliances that were written into the purchase agreement have been removed, doors, bathroom medicine cabinets, and items far more bizarre than these.  If you are selling a home, check with your realtor to better learn what you may and may not take with you.  


The most recent fad is for sellers to take their symbolic trees planted in the loving memory of those who have passed away.  Here’s the deal: if it’s in the ground, it stays.  You must have your agent specifically write into your listing that you intend to take your tree, rose bush, or boxwoods in order to legally take these items with you.  

Yard Items:

Generally, anything in the yard or on the exterior of the property that is anchored into the ground must stay.  There is, however, a lot of gray area in this statement.  For example, free-standing basketball hoops may be taken.  If the basketball hoop is cemented into the group, it needs to stay in the house.  It is always best to specifically mention exterior items in your listing and whether you intend to take them or leave them.  This will avoid a great deal of confusion upon closing.  


Perhaps you’ve just installed brand new light fixtures throughout the home and you have every intention of removing them and taking them to your new residence.  Don’t forget: they are attached to the home and you may not remove such items.  In addition, you may not REPLACE the fixtures in order to take the current ones with you.  The buyer must receive the property and contents thereof exactly as the property was viewed and purchased by the buyer.  Replacing items in order that you may take them with you is illegal.  

Window Treatments:

Custom blinds, rods, and affixed tie-backs that are attached to the wall are considered fixtures and may not be removed from the home by the seller.  If mirrors are attached to the wall, they must also be left behind.  If they are simply hung like artwork, they may be taken by the seller as they are considered to be personal property.  

It is always best to check with your realtor before removing any questionable items from the home so as not to frustrate the seller and risk the sale of your home.

Related: “4 Factors for a Quick Sale”

For more information, contact The Aitken Home Team today!


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Phil Aitken, Owner/Broker
Phil Aitken is the Owner/Broker with Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team and has over 13 years of Real Estate experience. Phil’s faith and desire for his family’s continued security fuel his business growth and leadership. The Phil Aitken Home Team continues to profoundly impact the people of Jacksonville via supporting several faith-based organizations. Phil gives back a portion of every real estate transaction to The Tim Tebow Foundation and Rethreaded. Find Phil's full story here.