Moving Home – The Fixtures and Fittings
Buying or selling a home can involve much more than the bricks and mortar, and there are very few rules and regulations about how to proceed with the costings of fixtures and fittings.
By fixtures we mean anything that is firmly attached to a wall or ceiling, such as a light switch, plug socket, bathroom suite or kitchen cupboards. Fittings is a term applied to more free-standing objects such as white goods, carpets, curtains and other décor.
Arguing over these things may sound somewhat trivial, but it is important to both the buyer and the seller. To the buyer, there may be certain custom-items that will be necessary when they move in, and they also need to be aware if essential items such as carpets, switches and sockets are not going to be present when they move in as they will need replacing quickly, and this will incur a cost that will need to be budgeted for. The outlay for white goods, carpets and other items adds up very quickly so this needs to be factored in with the overall cost of buying the house in the first place.
To the seller certain items may be personal and/or sentimental, and there will be a reluctance to leave certain things behind. As the seller you are within your rights to take whatever fixtures and fittings you want from the property, as long as the buyer is made aware before the sale is completed.
So how do we come to an agreement?
It all starts with the creation of an inventory, put together by the Solicitors and is fully agreed upon as part of the sales contract. This means that everything is confirmed and in place before the contracts are exchanged, meaning there are no surprises for either party. The inventory starts with the seller – they are asked to fill out a form room by room with exactly what will be left, and if it is not going to be left behind, whether it can be purchased for an additional price. This inventory is then passed to the buyers to look over and comment on, making any offers or counter-offers if they deem it necessary.
As a buyer, be realistic in your wants and the way you go about things. Always remember the seller is under absolutely no obligation to leave you anything at all, so they hold the majority of the cards. Being reasonable at this stage can help the sale proceed quickly and smoothly, while being overly-aggressive or demanding can weaken your position.
As a buyer you need to remember what the seller wants, and in the majority of cases this is a peaceful and swift completion. Derogatory offers for their possessions or continual back-and-forth will add complications that they simply do not need, so if negotiating for certain items remember to keep it swift, reasonable and well-intended. Be true to yourself however – if there are items you simply cannot afford to replace such as the carpets then be honest about this. The majority of sellers will leave switches and floor coverings, but it is not always the case; so be prepared to haggle and with a smile on your face!
The seller also has a duty to help the sale proceed smoothly, so just remember unless you desperately need certain items then it might be less hassle for you and the buyer simply to leave them. Do you really need to spend the time taking off every light switch and getting up all the carpets? Think about whether you really need them and whether they will actually serve a purpose. If not, offer them out to the buyers, even if that is at a price.