Attached and Unattached Goods
Did you know curtains typically don’t come with a house for sale, but the curtain rod and brackets may? Or that the garage door opener stays put, but the remotes for it aren’t part of the deal?
It’s facts like these that make it important to understand the difference between attached and unattached goods before listing your home for sale, or writing an offer to purchase a property.
So what are attached or unattached goods?
Attached goods are items you cannot remove from the property without causing damage. These include:
- water softener
- curtain rods and brackets
- built-in appliances (i.e. most dishwashers)
- kitchen cabinets
- built-in vacuum canister
- garage door opener
- carpet glued or stretched in
Attached goods stay with the property, unless there is a specific exclusion in the listing agreement or in the buyer’s offer to purchase.
If a seller wants to take an attached good with them or a buyer wants an attached good to not be there when they take possession, they should specifically exclude it in writing in the listing or in the offer.
Unattached goods are movable items. These include:
- wall art
- drapes hooked on curtain rods
- book shelves (not built-in)
- rolling kitchen cart
- movable kitchen island
- appliances that are not built-in (i.e. countertop microwave)
- built-in vacuum power head and attachments
- garage door remote controls
- fireplace screen, tools and remote controls
- area rugs
Sellers usually take unattached goods from the property before the buyer takes possession. If a buyer wants an unattached good included in the purchase of the property, he or she needs to list it as an inclusion in their offer to purchase. The seller would have to agree to such an inclusion as part of their offer acceptance. If the seller plans to take the unattached good, they need to put that in a counter offer to the buyer.
NOTE: In commercial transactions, everything other than the four walls is typically “unattached” (i.e. equipment, hoists) and should be specified in a Purchase Contract.
Issues at possession
If a buyer is worried about inclusions and exclusions as the possession date nears, they can ask their real estate professional to include a term in the offer to purchase where the seller agrees to let them do a walk-through of the property before possession. This would give the buyer an opportunity see the condition of the property and ensure inclusions or exclusions meet the terms of the agreed-upon contract. If they see a problem, they can negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution before possession.
When there is a problem with attached or unattached goods after possession, and the seller does not cooperate, the buyer’s only remedy is legal action. You need to think about the value of the missing goods in relation to the costs of legal action to decide if it’s worth pursuing.
Your real estate professional will help you consider and write exclusions and inclusions when drafting agreements and offers to purchase. If you’re ever in doubt about whether something is attached or unattached, include it in the agreement or contract anyways. When in doubt, write it out.