What is included with a home when it's sold in California?
What comes with a house when it's sold, and maybe more importantly what are the sellers allowed to take with them when they sell their home? Luckily for Californians, the home purchase contract makes most of this crystal clear and even though there are still a few grey areas, they can be cleared up quickly with the correct wording when making an offer on a home. This episode goes over what the purchase contract says is included and excluded from a standard sale which is extremely important to know ahead of time before trying to buy OR sell a home.
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Josh Alexander 0:00
So picture this, you're a buyer, you're starting to look for a home, you go to an open house, the first thing you see is an 80 inch TV sitting on the wall, they've got the fire going some gas logs in the fire. You look around the house, there's curtains on some of the windows, you go outside, there's a giant water fountain out there, you head into the garage, there's some storage shelves. Now you might start wondering to yourself, Wait a second, is any of this included with the sale of the house? And on the other side as a seller, you might be starting to think now. Wait a second, am I agreeing to sell this stuff with the house? Well, that's exactly what we're going to talk about on today's episode. Hi, I'm Josh Alexander in your host of Orange County Housing market news, your one stop shop for all things Orange County real estate. So on today's episode, we're going to be going over what is and what isn't included on a standard home sale, and how all of that is specified within the contract. So let's go ahead and get into
Josh Alexander 0:55
it. So one of the main reasons that buyers and sellers get into arbitration or mediation after escrow closes, is because there wasn't a crystal clear understanding on what is coming with the property and what is leaving with the seller when they sell the property. So in order to prevent that confusion car, which is the California Association of Realtors has been refining the purchase contract year after year, and becoming more and more specific on what comes with the property and what doesn't. So today, what we're gonna do is go over what that verbiage says in the contract. So you can have a crystal clear understanding when you're purchasing a home exactly what you're gonna get with the home and on the selling side, you can understand what you need to leave at the property in order to make sure you're not going to run into any legal troubles. So because it's such a long list, I'm gonna go ahead and just read a lot of these things that are coming with the property.
So really, the first thing you need to know is going to give you a very good outline of what's going to come with the property. So in this paragraph in the purchase contract, the first thing is going to state that any fixtures or fittings that are attached to the property are typically going to remain with the property and are included in the sale. So let me go ahead and read some of those now because it gets very specific on exactly what comes with the property. So any existing electrical mechanical lighting, plumbing or heating fixtures will come with the property ceiling fans, fireplace inserts, gas logs and grates solar panel systems built in appliances, or appliances where there's a special opening for that specific appliance all are going to come with the property, any window and door screens, awnings, shutters, window covers, which also includes blinds, curtains, drapery shutters, and all materials that cover any portion of the window are all going to come with the property, any attached for coverings, equipment such as motorized pool cleaners, pool nets, and pool covers are all going to come with the property garage door openers, mailboxes, in ground landscaping, water features and fountains, water softeners, water purifiers, and even light bulbs all come with the property.
So again, it's a pretty exhaustive list that goes all the way down to light bulbs. That gives you a very good understanding of what's going to come with the property. If it's attached to the property. Typically, it's going to come with the house. And then it also continues and talks about any security systems. So video cameras, keypads, all of that will also come with the property, and then any home automation smart features. So if you have that nest thermostat that you installed on your house, you're going to need to leave it at the house, you can't take it off, and then put some analog unit on there and sell it and that way you can transfer it to your new property, you have to leave it because it's attached to your house, you cannot take it with you. So I would say out of this list, the two items that tend to come up most often are going to be any of the window treatments.
So like the curtains, the rods, those type of things a lot of sellers will try to take with them. However, as the contract is written, they need to say what's the property and the second one that's becoming more and more prevalent every single year is going to be those smart home devices that are attached to the actual house like the Nest thermostat, like light switches, and even light bulbs that are smart light bulbs. Those are all included with the sale of the property. So if you spend a bunch of money turning your home into a smart home with all these devices, just know when it comes time to sell that property, a lot of those are going to have to be left behind. So as you can see the way the contract is now written, they've been very specific all the way down to a light bulb in terms of what comes with the sale of the property in California. But that leads to two other questions. Number one, what about some of these big appliances that weren't mentioned like refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, microwaves stoves?
Josh Alexander 4:36
And on top of that, what if you're a buyer and you don't want some of these things? What if someone has a 30 year old washer and you have one of your own that you want to bring you the property that you don't have to worry about trying to get rid of that one when you move in? And on the seller side? What if you want to keep some of those things that were mentioned in the contract that come with the sale? Is there a way to do that? So let's go over that now. Because this brings us to the second section of the contract where you can spend To find all this information, so in this section under contract, this is where you clear up the remaining gray area in terms of what comes and doesn't come with the property.
So you can see here that buyers are allowed to check anything that they want to come with the property, either that's already prefilled out, or they can write in things that may be something that's unique about the property that they wanted to have stay with the property as well. So things like refrigerators, washers and dryers, those don't automatically come with the sale of the property, you have to make sure you include those. Even things like bathroom mirrors, those can be hung up by a nail. And technically, the seller can say they're not attached to the wall and take them, you walk into your brand new house the first day, go into the bathroom and realize there's no bathroom mirrors in there. So this is a good way to specify everything else in the contract that could have been in a gray area in terms of what comes and what doesn't come with the sale of a property in California.
Now on the selling side of things. There's also an area here for exclusions. And if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see this picture of the contract here. And you can see below the items that are included, there's an exclusion section as well. So this is where you'd put in, hey, there's a 500 pound water fountain in the backyard, I don't want that coming with the sale of the property, hey, they have this 30 year old washer and dryer, I don't want that I want the seller to take that with them when they leave the property. So that section enables the buyer to communicate to the seller what they want to come with the property and what they don't want to come with the property. Now on the selling side of things, what if there's items that are typically included in the sale that we just went over, that you don't want to sell with the property.
So you have a very expensive chandelier, you paid 1000s of dollars for that you want to take with you, you have those window treatments, those curtains, you spent a lot of money on that you want to transfer to the new house, the way to do this is you need to issue a counteroffer, when the buyer gives you the purchase contract, and you need to list all of those items that are not going to be included with the sale that we both you and the buyer sign it. And it's crystal clear in writing that those items are going to be going with you once you sell the house. So sellers a quick tip before you place your house up for sale, you and your agent should be walking through your property and identifying anything in the house that you definitely want to take with you. So that way when the time comes to place those counteroffers you already have the list written out, it's ready to go. And you're not trying to scramble through your house and accidentally forget something that's going to cause you a lot of pain later. Because you realize that you can no longer take it because it's not in the contract.
So make sure you take inventory of your house, know what you want to take with you. And that way you and your agent can make sure that gets into the counteroffer and everybody can agree on it. It's crystal clear. And that's going to prevent a lot of lawsuits after escrow closes. And on the buying side of things. You also need to be paying attention as you're walking through a house before you place an offer. So if you see curtains that you love that you included in your offer to make sure that stays with the property because anything that's not already in the contract is going to be taken by the seller. So again, it's just there to prevent disappointment. It's a really good practice to be able to look through the property and make that list before you place the offer on things that you definitely want to come with the property. So again, there's no confusion, and there's no lawsuits after escrow closes. Now if you have purchased or sold a home and have a nightmare story or a good story about what was and wasn't included with the sale of your home and you'd like to share it, please feel free to comment below. So I hope you found this information useful. If you did, please hit that like that heart that subscribe button, I would really appreciate it. If you're watching this on YouTube. Don't forget to hit that bell button as well. That way every week when I release a new episode, you'll be the first to know and if you have any family or friends that might find this content interesting. Please consider sharing it with them as well it would mean the world to me. So until next time, Stay happy, stay healthy, and I'll see you on the next show.