DESPITE a year of rapid interest rate rises, Australians’ enthusiasm for owning property remains strong, with a reported 730,000 sale settlements recorded nationally in 2022 and keen buyers continuing to find gems in 2023.
With so many sets of house keys changing hands, it’s worth reminding property sellers about what they are legally entitled to take with them when they pack up and move, and what they need to leave behind – from curtain rods to internet connection equipment.
Barry Plant’s Indianna Allen explains that unless a sales contract specifically says otherwise, a property is to be left “in the same condition as when it was sold”.
This, she says, means handing over the property in a clean and tidy condition, while ensuring you’re leaving behind any fixed items – anything physically attached to the building that can’t easily be taken away without damaging the property.
“Secure floor coverings, blinds, curtains, wired-in light fittings, ceiling fans, built-in bookshelves and plumbed-in sprinkler systems all typically fall within this category. As do most kitchen appliances, including the stovetop, range hood and ceiling fans,” Allen says.
Some household items do create confusion among buyers and sellers alike.
A dishwasher can be a grey area because although it appears to be fixed, it is often a free-standing unit under the kitchen bench.
Items that need to be negotiated are things that look as though they would remain with the property, for example, a wall unit that may appear to be built in but is actually free-standing.
With the ever-increasing popularity of outdoor kitchen and entertaining areas it would be wise for both buyers and sellers to clearly set out what goes and what stays put.
A buyer might expect to see all items remain, while a seller could be expecting to take the barbecue and bar fridge.
It’s not uncommon for vendors to want to take specific items with them when they leave, but for those hoping to dig up a particular tree from the garden or dismantle a favourite chandelier, all exclusions must be clearly outlined in the contract of sale.
Some things can be negotiated after the sale takes place once the positions of both buyer and seller are better understood.
This may include larger articles that require further packing up or dissembling – trampolines, swing sets or basketball rings, which, depending on the buyer and their situation can prove “a win-win for both parties”.
One, perhaps unexpected, item to cause confusion is a property’s national broadband network (NBN) connection box.
The NBN box is something that sometimes gets taken without realising the requirement that it has to stay with the property.