Do you remember that feeling of waking up Christmas morning and seeing presents under the tree?
Now imagine the opposite.
This latter feeling is what you risk if you don’t pay close attention to the contract when buying or selling property, as has been raised recently by respected real estate investment commentator, Michael Yardney.
While this is the season for wishing you a very rewarding and rejuvenating break, perhaps the best gift a conveyancer can offer is a timely, niggling reminder that details are important.

What is included in a house sale, and what is not.

In a recent property update, Michael recounts the story of a man who bought a house and learned the hard way about fixtures, fittings and special clauses in contracts.
The man bought a house that featured top of the line cinema equipment, only to move in on settlement day to discover all the equipment had been legally removed and taken by the vendor.
The lesson he learned is that fixtures, items that would ruin or damage the property or land if removed, are generally included in a sale, whereas fittings, items you can remove without tools and without damage, are generally EXCLUDED from sale.
These are just generalisations because vendors can choose to specify fixtures to be excluded from the sale, hence the eternal importance of focussing on the details in contracts.

How to avoid the ‘bad Santa’ effect

There are some simple things you can do to avoid what I call the ‘bad Santa’ effect where a vendor disappears with fixtures or fittings you had assumed would be waiting for you like presents of Christmas morning.
You must apply yourself (and ensure your trusted advisors like lawyers and conveyancers) dot the I’s and cross the T’s to make sure there is nothing open to question in regards to what the vendor can take from the property and what they should leave.

We have had many situations where the purchaser calls the day of or the day after settlement saying that fixtures have been ripped out of the wall.

Fortunately, if such items are clearly mentioned in the contract it’s in black and white and there should be no argument and that’s the perfect ending we should be aiming for, especially in this season of peace and goodwill.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Eckermann Steinert Conveyancers team.

Photo: Get off my shelf by Mattys Flicks via Flickr