Fixture is a common real estate term it pays to understand. Bankrate explains it.

What is a fixture?

A fixture is personal property that becomes real property when attached to a structure or building. It is considered part of the house, apartment or building, and therefore cannot be removed if the occupant moves or the property is sold.

Deeper definition

A fixture is part of the house or apartment that is considered permanent, and not personal property. A fixture is sold with the rest of the property. Most fixtures are listed on the deed of sale.

One can determine which elements are considered fixtures by looking at how they are attached or installed in the house. If the item is permanently affixed to the ceiling, floor or wall using screws, cement, pipes, nails or glue, it is considered a fixture.

The flooring cannot be removed and is considered an integral part of the house, which is why it is considered a fixture. A refrigerator is personal property, but if it is built in to fit a particular space, it becomes a fixture. One also has to consider the intention when the item was attached. If it was intended to be permanent, it becomes a fixture.

Should a dispute arise between a landlord and a tenant about fixtures, the tenant is likely to prevail. However, if it is between a seller and a buyer, the buyer will probably win. Fixtures should be listed on the purchase contract.

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Fixture example

Example of fixtures include built-in bookcases, drapery rods and ceiling lights. Plumbing, and awnings are considered fixtures. Even landscaping, or any plants with roots in the ground, is considered a fixture.

When Becky sold her house, she had to leave behind a chandelier that she loved. Because it was attached to the ceiling, it was considered a fixture and she could not take it with her.

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