When you've finally found the home of your dreams it’s perfect to you. You’ve found the right price with a wonderful neighborhood and a house with some really beautiful appliances. When you go for your final walk through you may be shocked to see that those beautiful appliances have been removed.

When a home is on the market and being shown to potential buyers, it is often occupied. Occupied homes will usually have a lot of items inside that won’t go with the house when it is sold. You should not assume that a piano or a couch would come with the property because they’re pieces of private property to the owner. Appurtenance means that an item belongs to the house. Therefore, the item is not yours or the new owner’s, but instead it sort of travels with the property. A great example of an appurtenant would be both the in-ground pool and the pool house. These items would clearly go with the property until they’re destroyed.

How do you know when they stay or go?

A pool is one thing, but when is comes to items in the house such as the stove or light fixture there are different circumstances. Make sure that you always check the listing carefully to find what is meant to stay with the house and what will be kept by the current owner. However, if you can't seem to find what you’re looking for use the litmus test to help you understand more clearly what belongs. There are many questions you can ask yourself when trying to decipher if an item will stay with the house. Ask yourself, “Was this item designed to be permanently attached to the house, and if so, will it cause permanent damage if removed?” The item has to be designed to be permanently attached to the house and cause cosmetic or structural damage if removed from the house to be appurtenant.

There are several different people out searching for houses and because they all have different ideas of what permanent damage means can make it harder to understand the concept. Another great example would consist of the seller taking the TV but in turn leaving the brackets in the wall so that you could replace the old TV with a new one of your own. The television itself wasn’t actually considered permanent, however the brackets were.

A few Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is it plugged in? There are some expectations to this rule, but for the most part if something in your house is plugged into the wall, it’s not appurtenant. Although garbage disposals do break this rule.
  • Is the item required to make the property function? This question can be seen as odd, unless you’re already thinking about your house as one giant thing made up of lots of little systems. All those little systems have to be in balance to make it work, from the gutters to the soffit vents. Gutters, for example, are not permanently fixed to the house, but they are a part of the gutter system, which is required to keep water from running under your house and into the basement. Those downspouts could be argued to be appurtenant since they’re part of a necessary system.

We hope that this information will save you the bit of shock some home buyers receive when they realize those amazing appliances are gone.