What's the Deal with Chattel Property?

The Art of Negotiation  

In real estate, most everything is negotiable – to an extent. If you have ever bought or sold a home, then you now that sentiment certainly applies to the price of the home. Regardless if you are a buyer or seller, you want to get the best price you can. And to do that, you likely need to negotiate. Back and forth, back and forth, until you and the other party hopefully arrive at happy terms. 

But there’s more to negotiation than simply the price. What else can you use in bargaining a home sale? Sometimes, it comes down to the little details. 

Those Little Details  

When you need bargaining power, you have to look around at what you can use to negotiate. There’s a common saying: it doesn’t hurt to ask, and that too can apply to real estate. After all, you cannot get what you want if you don’t ask. But also remember that simply asking doesn’t guarantee you will get it. Maybe it is that stainless steel oven. Perhaps leaving the swing set behind. Or maybe requesting that the roof be repaired. However you slice it, those little items can make the difference completing that sale and having it slip sadly through your fingers. 

But do you know what to ask for? Specifically, what should be considered part of the house? Enter the laws about chattels and fixtures. 

About Chattels and Fixtures  

Definition: Chattel is an item in a house that is either not attached to a home or can easily be removed. Think the fridge, artwork, or toaster oven. 

Definition: Fixtures are items that are attached to the house, and typically require some sort of tool to remove the item. Think built-in closet organizers and curtain rods. 

What you need to understand is this: a standard housing agreement requires that all fixtures stay with the property unless the seller says otherwise. The seller keeps all chattels, unless the buyer requests to have them. In general, a buyer will ask that the chattels and fixtures, such as the heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems, be in good working order when the transaction closes. 

Of course, once you get into the nitty gritty of every item, knowing what is chattel and what is a fixture can get murky. To avoid any issues about chattel and fixtures, you need to be as explicit as possible, regardless of whether you are the buyer or seller. State – in writing – what you want to remain in the house and what will be removed from the house. You can use these items during home negotiating to sweeten the pot. 

Out with the Old, In with the New 

Even though details about chattels and fixtures were supposed to be listed on contracts, often times they were not. The Federal Housing Administration is now enforcing this rule more vigorously. For example, personal property should be appraised or else be excluded from the contract. Built-in appliances are not considered chattel. Real estate agents should not determine the value of chattel. 

Therefore, any chattel need to be appraised, and that value should be deducted from the price in the sales contract. Also, the contract also needs to indicate which items will stay or which ones will go. 

You can look at the rule about chattel and fixtures in HUD 4000.1, Chapter Two, Section A. It indicates that any personal property that the seller gives to the buyer to seal the deal must be consummate the subtracted from the mortgage amount. 

Add Shamrock Home Loans to Your Equation  

When you need guidance for finding the best house at the best price with the best details, Shamrock Home Loans can show you the way. Our business focuses on mortgages and nothing else. And with several decades under our belt, we have seen every situation and can appreciate every detail. Tell us your ideas, and let’s work together to make home ownership a certainty. 

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