What is a Fixture? Real Estate Term of the Week

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Simply put, a fixture is something that is permanently attached to real property (a house). Things such as ceiling fans, chandeliers, towel racks, built in shelves, carpet etc.  Fixtures are always included in the sale of a home. The owner of a home can’t unbolt everything connected to a home before you take possession.

Granted, a ceiling fan isn’t really “permanent”. It could be uninstalled. But it IS an integral part of the home (unlike say, a piece of furniture) and is included in the sale of a home.

If you want to keep Grandma’s chandelier, you need to either remove it before the home is listed, or have your agent be VERY SPECIFIC in listing the home and their conversations with buyer’s agents that the chandelier does not convey with the sale. (It’d be best to remove it and replace it with another light fixture to avoid any possible hassles. People HAVE lost Grandma’s chandelier when they sold their home!)

What is and isn’t a fixture confuses a lot of people.  One of the biggest questions that comes up frequently is window coverings. Here’s the scoop…. Curtains are not considered fixtures. Curtain rods however, are.  Mini-blinds are fixtures. Screens (and screen doors) are fixtures.

The best way to remember what a fixture is is this: If it’s attached (via screws, nails, glue, etc) to the walls, floors or ceilings, it’s a fixture.  When in doubt, ask your agent. Hopefully you have a good one! If not, you know who to call! :-)

Here’s a very detailed explanation of fixtures from one of my favorite web resources,  Wikipedia.org.

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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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  1. Sara says:

    "If it’s attached (via screws, nails, glue, etc) to the walls, floors or ceilings, it’s a fixture."

    What if it's attached with velcro? (LOL I am being serious!!!)

    Sara

  2. The AZ Real Estate G says:

    Sara –

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    And I thought I'd heard all the questions!!

    My take is that something attached with velcro would not be considered a "permanent attachment" so it would not be considered a fixture. Velcro is, by it's nature, temporary.

    As silly as this sounds, the part of the velcro that's stuck to the wall would be a fixture. Believe it or not if you put a nail in the wall to hang a picture, the picture itself is not a fixture, but the nail IS…

    Jay

  3. One fixture that you might consider adding to your home when selling is an electric blind system, such systems are actually not that expensive to have installed and when seen by a potential buyer can work wonders when selling your home. At the flick of a switch your home can become bright and breezy, most potential buyers would easily fall in love with such a system and for a minimum investemnt you could speed up the sale of your home.

    **Jane´s last blog post..Remote Control Conservatory Blinds</abbr></abbr>

  4. When buying any blind system it is vital you do not purchase from the first salesman that visits you, no matter what incentive he or she may offer you will almost certainly get a better deal if you wait. You may be offered a 5% discount but the next company may offer 7%, remember we are in a recession and the buyer is king.

  5. Tatiana says:

    We recently signed a contract to buy a property with horse facilities. The fencing around the stables has disappeared and the seller says he will take more fencing (corral) because these were built with "portable" fencing.

    1) Is a horse corral built with "portable" fencing considered a fixture?

    2) Are the fences (built with "portable" fencing as well) surrounding the stables to keep the horses from wondering considered a fixture.

    Tatiana

  6. Jay Thompson says:

    Tatiana – I'm not a horse person, and I've never heard the term "portable fencing". Without being able to see the fences, there's no way for me to know if it would be considered a fixture or not. It's probably safe to assume if the fence posts are set into the ground, then it would be considered a fixture. What does your agent say?

  7. andyhughes73 says:

    Hi, interesting article. Do people really worry about whether something is classed as a fixture or not?How about what we do (Conservatory Blinds and Window Shutters) would they be seen as fixtures? I guess in the UK when we sell a property there is a fixtures and fittings form you fill in when deciding what you'll leave behind or take. Must be a fixture then.So what's the difference between a fixture and a fitting? :-) Interesting article nevertheless.Andy <a href="http://www.prestigeconservatoryblinds.co.uk” target=”_blank”>www.prestigeconservatoryblinds.co.uk

  8. andyhughes73 says:

    Hi, interesting article. Do people really worry about whether something is classed as a fixture or not?

    How about what we do (Conservatory Blinds and Window Shutters) would they be seen as fixtures? I guess in the UK when we sell a property there is a fixtures and fittings form you fill in when deciding what you'll leave behind or take. Must be a fixture then.

    So what's the difference between a fixture and a fitting? :-)

    Interesting article nevertheless.

    Andy
    http://www.prestigeconservatoryblinds.co.uk

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