Escrow Trust Advisors | Differentiating Between Personal and Real Property
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Differentiating Between Personal and Real Property

Differentiating Between Personal and Real Property

‘Lectric Law Library defines Real Property as “Land and all the things that are attached to it.  Anything that is not Real Property is Personal Property:  anything that isn’t nailed down, dug into or built onto the land.”  That should prevent any misinterpretations, right?

Not necessarily. While furniture and appliances are typically considered “personal” property, individual jurisdictions may have their own interpretations of “real” vs. “personal” property, leaving parties with substantial “grey” areas.  Take that chandelier in the entryway…  It may not have been meant to be moved once it was installed, but its value – whether in dollars or in sentiment – could change when it comes time to selling the property.  That changing priority can, on occasion, lead to confusion and/or dispute between buyers and sellers.

The best thing to do?  Identify items that are staying and going at the outset.  If you’re selling a home and know the appliances are staying or the drapes are going, mention it to potential buyers.  When drawing up the purchase agreement, be sure any items like this are clearly identified.  Built-in bookshelves, window air conditioners, and radiators are examples of other items that could cause dispute.  The list of property items should be included in escrow docs so it’s clear to all parties what items stay and what items go.