If you are listing your home for sale with a realtor, you will likely encounter a one-page disclosure that is important yet often neglected. The purpose of the “Inclusions/Exclusions Disclosure and Addendum” is to communicate with the homebuyer what conveys with the house and what you intend to take. If completed as expected, the disclosure can help you avoid a dispute with the buyer after closing.
It is understandable that, after completing a stack of listing documents and disclosures, homesellers want to quickly check the boxes of the obvious items that convey with the sale.
However, in their haste, many sellers overlook or forget about the fixtures they intend to take (or leave) when they move.
Common items that homesellers take include the chandelier (and other lighting fixtures), bathroom mirrors, brand new washer/dryer or the extra freezer.
The current GCAAR Inclusions/Exclusions Disclosure and Addendum helps you decide what fixtures and personal property convey. The first paragraph states: “The property includes the following personal property and fixtures, if existing: built-in heating and central air conditioning equipment, plumbing and lighting fixtures, sump pump, attic and exhaust fans, storm windows, storm doors, screens, installed wall-to-wall carpeting, window shades, blinds, window treatment hardware, mounting brackets for electronics components, smoke and heat detectors, TV antennas, exterior trees and shrubs. Unless otherwise agreed to herein, all surface or wall-mounted electronic components/devices do not convey…”
You will notice that the disclosure specifically mentions wall mounted electronics and mounting brackets. This wording was added because new norms emerged with new technologies that created disputes about what was considered “permanently” attached. As wall-mounted TV’s became commonplace, homebuyers expected plasma TV’s to convey and unsightly wall mounts to be removed.
A more recent technology incorporated into a home that has become commonplace is the solar panel. Do they convey or not?
Many homeowners who install solar panels do not actually own them, and they are leased. Of course, confusion and disputes regarding solar panels have occurred, and are now listed in the Lease Items and Service Contracts section. To help clarify what leased items convey and transfer, the Inclusions/Exclusions Disclosure states: “Leased items/systems or service contracts, including but not limited to: solar panels & systems, appliances, fuel tanks, water treatment systems, lawn contracts, security system and/or monitoring, and satellite contracts do not convey unless disclosed here…”
It is not uncommon for a dispute to arise during the walkthrough because the home seller decides to take a fixture or appliance that is not listed as an exclusion.
Regardless of whether the seller misunderstood or had a last-minute change of heart, the homebuyer may be demanding the return of the item(s), and since the Inclusions/Exclusions Disclosure and Addendum is part of the contract, the buyer may have recourse.
If you are selling your home, take the time to read and complete the disclosures carefully.
When completing the Inclusions/Exclusions Disclosure, do not be afraid to over-communicate your intentions about taking or leaving fixtures and appliances. Make sure you list items you will take as “exclusions.” It also helps to tag these items indicating “Does Not Convey,” so homebuyers are on notice when they visit. Also, don’t forget to identify older appliances or fixtures that are staying, so the buyer does not assume you are removing them, and of course, ask your agent for assistance if you’re unsure if specific items are fixtures and should be listed in the disclosure.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Success in Potomac, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com