Real Estate Fixture: What is It? Here’s The Full Definition and Explanation

What is a fixture in real estate? Before discussing this, of course you should know that when there is an exchange of home ownership, there are several transactions that must be entered such as the building itself and also its structural elements which include doors, walls, roofs, and even the secondary structure, namely the garage.

Actually, those things are the concept of fixtures. So when you sell a house, you need to know to avoid ownership conflicts with the new homeowner. In a house sale and purchase agreement, this will usually be included in the agreement.

So What are Fixtures? Here are The Fixtures Definition that You Must Understand

Here we will discuss about fixture definition. In the field of real estate, all the equipment in the house is called a feature, item, or object that is permanently attached to a property, the house or the yard.

Fixture is equipment that becomes an inseparable part of the land or house. So these fixtures are included in the property value and also included in the property tax calculation. Therefore, fixture are also included in the sale of property or houses. Of course, this is after the house fixtures are transferred to rights and changes in ownership.

In determining whether a fixture is included in the property or not, it is sometimes a bit difficult. This is what ultimately becomes a conflict. But take it easy, because now there are guidelines that can be used to determine ownership of equipment in the property to minimize the risk of conflict in the future.

  • The first guiding principle is whether something is an item in a property is if the object is permanently attached or attached to the property. Examples are bolts, screws, nails, glue, cement, walls, floors, roofs, or other parts of the house that are permanently attached to them.
  • Another example of equipment in a property is windows and curtains. Therefore usually the curtains must also remain there when the house is sold. This is because the curtain is an object that sticks to the window or house.
  • Unlike curtains, curtains are considered personal property. While the curtain rod is included as property equipment because it is considered attached to the house.

To better understand the fixture and whether a piece of equipment is said to be attached to a house or property, we give you the meaning of this in more depth. Therefore here we will give you an example to better understand it.

For example, when someone has just bought a house, then he buys a garbage disposal, then the object becomes his personal property. After that, he installed the object in the house, then the object is now attached to the house and becomes real equipment in the house.

Real estate is real property. This makes it different from private ownership. Real property means all the equipment and buildings that are in it and all of them are permanently installed there. So television does not include fixtures because the television cable can still be removed from the socket, so it is not permanently attached to the property.

The opposite of home fixtures is luggage or non-fixtures. These items are not permanently attached to the property or house. Well here what usually makes it difficult is if the item is not clear whether it is actually attached to the property or not. So indeed to determine it is not as easy as you think.

You might think if the item is attached then it is called a real property item. Though there are some gray areas that make it complicated. For example, the oven is considered a real property equipment but the refrigerator is not a real property equipment.

To Clarify Regarding The House Fixtures List, Then There is A Method To Determine Whether An Item is Considered A Fixture or Not

To make it easier for real estate agents, homeowners, or prospective home buyers in determining the house fixtures list, the California Court uses a method called M.A.R.I.A. This method is used to test whether an item or object can be considered as a piece of equipment or not. Therefore, this method is considered as a guide or general guideline where the seller and buyer can still negotiate in their sale and purchase agreement.

So what is the MARIA method? Here we describe the method, in which there are 5 testing processes to determine the characteristics of the fixtures house.

  • Method of Attachment: This first testing process aims to determine how the item is attached to the house. If the object is screwed, nailed, glued, or permanently fixed to a wall, floor, roof or ceiling with nails, cement, pipe, or screws it is called a fixture.
  • Adaptability: Property fixtures can also be adjusted as desired because they become an integrated part of the house or property. That means the equipment is specifically made for use on the property. Therefore, if you really want to bring equipment when moving, then make sure to replace the item with a new one first.
  • Relationship of The Parties: If there is a conflict in terms of ownership of equipment in a property, the court will certainly tend to favor one of the parties. If the conflict occurs between the buyer and the seller, it is most likely that the buyer will benefit. If a conflict occurs between the tenant and the owner, then the tenant will win.
  • Intention of The Party: In this case, if the seller wants to make an item as part of the house permanently, when the item is first installed, it can be considered as fixtures. Examples of these items include built-in bookshelves, mailboxes, or bushes which are examples of house fixtures that become physical properties inherent in the house.
  • Agreement between The Parties: This is the most important test of the MARIA method. This is because this test is very useful to determine whether an item can be said to be a fixture or not by overriding the technical definition of the item. So here all parties involved in the transaction must detail exactly and in detail all the items in the house. This will later become a contract that is agreed by all parties.

One thing you should know is that if the goods in the agreed contract are damaged, the buyer can choose not to buy the house or property. So in the next section, we will discuss what items are included in the house fixtures list or not.

Here’s How to Find Out What Items are Included in Fixtures and Not House Fixtures

Why is it important to determine the house fixture list and non-fixtures? Of course this is because it is related to the law. If the buyer does not have an understanding with you, then later it can be taken to court and will be detrimental to you. Likewise, when you are a buyer and feel that your home equipment is incomplete, you can take it to law.

In addition, the house fixtures must also be included in the contract of sale and purchase of the house or property. Therefore, both you as a seller or a buyer must understand what kind of items are included in the fixture or not. According to Winslow, usually the seller will wait until the offer is accepted to be able to determine the list of equipment in the house or property. If the list does not match, then the buyer has the right to cancel the agreement, terminate the contract, or cancel the payment.

Winslow also advises home or property buyers to look at the entire list of property fixtures before agreeing to the property offer. This is because incomplete equipment can certainly affect the price to be paid. Do not let you pay the cost of a house whose equipment is not complete.

Here we provide some examples of fixtures that include fixtures and those that do not. The following items are examples of common items, so for other items you can customize yourself later or ask a real estate professional who helps you.

  • Fixtures: Washers and dryers, pendant lights, ceiling fans, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, built-in cabinets, landscaping, built-in shelves, air conditioning, wall-mounted beds, built-in mirrors, chandeliers, rods curtains, chimney doors, doorbells, fences, floors, garage door openers, door handles, heating systems, lighting or electrical appliances, home security systems, spray systems, outboard stoves, smoke detectors or fire detectors, washers and dryers, and windows.
  • Non-fixture: Furniture, curtains, refrigerators, plant pots, carpets, grills, and lawn decorations that do not stick or stick to the lawn (can be disassembled).

Meanwhile, there are four general classifications related to the types of fixtures that are home fixtures and not. The four types of classification are agricultural equipment, domestic, decoration, and trade. Here we describe the four types of classification more clearly.

  • Agriculture: These are all items that are used for farming or gardening purposes.
  • Domestic/Decoration: All objects attached by the tenant to the unit or house with the aim of making the house more aesthetic or more livable.
  • Trade: These types of goods are affixed to the rented building so that the tenant can run his business while occupying the house or property.

Meanwhile, there is a gray area which makes it difficult for you to determine whether an item includes fixtures or not. Therefore, here we also provide guidance to you regarding how to determine the gray area. Because if you don’t immediately find clarity about the type of item, it will become a problem or a source of conflict.

  • For example, suppose you plant plants in your yard. You plan to move the plant to your new home. Can you do that? Maybe some people will say that you can move it, but some people will also say that you can’t move it because the plant is already part of the house.
  • So what if you are a buyer who likes the plant? Are you willing if the plant is moved from the house you bought it? So how to avoid conflict from such cases?
  • So to minimize the risk of conflict from the case, the seller and the buyer must have a discussion with a real estate agent who helps them to determine the terms of what items are included in the house fixtures or not. You as the initial home owner must also explain it in detail in the contract when you first make the house contract. So it’s important that you outline your personal equipment and not when you first buy a house.

In addition to the tips above, actually the state and local government must have their own rules regarding solving problems related to real estate and equipment. All of that will be included in the real estate sale and purchase contract by the real estate agent. But in general, if you really want to bring equipment from the old house then you have to replace it first with a new one.

Another way you can do if you don’t want to buy or replace the item you want to take, then you can negotiate with a new buyer. This is to avoid conflict. After that, the results of the negotiations must be entered into a contract or in writing and signed by both parties.

If a suitable solution is not found in the end, the buyer can ask for compensation or the seller can also ask for compensation from the buyer if they want to keep the items in the house. In the end, a clear contract will certainly help you avoid problems and conflicts in the future.

FAQ about Home Fixtures

  • What is the difference between a fixture and private property?

Fixtures are items that are permanently attached to the house, while personal items are items that can be moved easily without changing the physical structure of the house.

  • How to maintain property fixtures?

When you first meet a real estate agent, make sure you ask what items are in your house or what items you want to bring. However, if you are a buyer, then you must first ask what items are there before accepting an offer. So here you can find out what items are and aren’t there so you can make an offer with the items you want to have in the house or property.

  • What if there is a conflict due to the fixtures problem?

As a seller, you must collect funds from the house closing process to replace the property fixtures. However, there should be no mistakes in communication between the seller, the buyer, and also the real estate agent so there will be no conflict related to this in the future. Therefore the best way is to discuss everything together.

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