What must I leave when selling my house? Meeting your obligations
By Amanda Scali

3/11/2016 12:00am

What must I leave when selling my house? Meeting your obligations

What must I leave when selling my house boils down to what is classified as fixtures and fittings and what has been either specified or excluded from your sale contract.

It is important to understand these principles now because selling your home and moving to another can be an incredibly busy and somewhat emotional time in your life, and the last thing you want to do is break the law or breach your contract.

While you will, no doubt, be grateful for the help of family members and friends with the sorting and packing, be sure to brief your crew thoroughly on what goes and stays, otherwise, if you don't maintain oversight of the packing, you may end up with more than you’d bargained for sealed in those many moving boxes.

To avoid that eventuality, here is a list of the things you shouldn’t be packing.

What do you have to leave behind when you sell?

When you sell your house you have to leave behind whatever is specified in your sale contract—each contract is different, based on what has been negotiated between the seller and buyer.

Your contract must also specify everything that you are going to take with you, especially if it is something that the new owner could reasonably expect to be left behind.

In general, unless specified otherwise in your contract, all fittings and fixtures must stay with the house.

This includes the following:

  • fixed floor coverings (but not rugs)
  • window coverings that are fixed, such as blinds
  • curtain rods (but not curtains, unless specified in the contract)
  • all wired-in light fittings
  • built-in dishwashers (if freestanding, specify in contract)
  • oven, rangehood and cooktop
  • ceiling fans
  • wired-in air-conditioning and security systems
  • smoke detectors
  • wall- or ceiling-mounted brackets for televisions, speakers etc.
  • built-in bookshelves and benches
  • plumbed-in garden sprinkler systems
  • pool and spa heating and filtration systems (but not unattached equipment).

The rationale for leaving wall brackets behind is that they are regarded as a fixture because removing them would damage to the house, leaving holes in walls or ceilings and necessitating repainting.

You should also leave the instruction booklets and any current warranties for the oven, rangehood, cooktop, air-conditioning and security systems, spa and/or pool filtration system, and automated garage doors and gates.

What can I take with me when I sell?

Unless otherwise specified in your sale contract, you can take anything that is not fixed to the house.

This includes the following:

  • freestanding appliances, such as a refrigerator, freezer, microwave oven, washing machine and clothes drier (if wall-mounted, brackets must remain)
  • outdoor furniture and garden art, unless secured to the ground
  • potted plants.

What must I leave when selling my house? Maybe ask, do I really want to take it with me?

It may be to your advantage at the negotiation stage to offer items that suit your house particularly well to the buyer, as a bargaining point or at an agreed price.

This might include custom-made curtains, a large side-by-side refrigerator that may not fit in your new kitchen, large floor rugs that suit the colour scheme and large potted plants that may be difficult to move.

McGrath Real Estate’s agents have been there and done that when it comes to negotiating what goes and what stays in a sale contract.

We ensure that your contract specifies all the special things you want to take with you from your former home to your new one and that you leave behind everything you are obligated to.