BuyersHomeownersSellers February 17, 2024

What Is A Fixture In Real Estate, And How Is It Determined?

If you’re moving into or out of a house, you might be wondering what items in the house stay and which ones go when ownership of the property changes hands. Should that fridge stay in the kitchen or get loaded onto the moving truck?
In order to understand what items move with the seller and which stay with the house, you’ll need to understand what a fixture is. A real estate fixture is any object permanently attached to a property by way of bolts, screws, nails, glue, cement or other means.
Some common examples are:
* Chandeliers
* Ceiling fans
* Built-in bookshelves
* Landscaping, plants and trees
* Light fixtures
* Curtain rods
* Window blinds
* Towel racks
* Built-in appliances
* Some other appliances, such as washers and dryers
* Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Now that you know what a fixture is, let’s talk about how to identify one as there can sometimes be gray areas when deciding if something is or isn’t a permanent fixture in a home. How do we decide what has to stay in a home and what doesn’t?
One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is by employing the help of MARIA. ⤵️
Since identifying fixtures isn’t always straightforward, partially due to different state and local rules on what constitutes a fixture, MARIA exists as a process to help clear up the confusion.
Let’s go over what each letter in “MARIA” stands for.
The “M” in MARIA stands for “method of attachment.”
The “A” stands for “adaptability.” If an item has “adapted” to a purpose in the home or has become an integral piece of the house as a whole, it’s also a fixture.
The “R” stands for “relationship of the parties.” Sometimes, who’s who in a fixture dispute can change the way some items are evaluated.
The “I” stands for “intention.” The reason that an item was installed or attached can also dictate whether it is a true fixture.
Finally, the second “A” stands for “agreement.” The best way to know exactly what is and isn’t going to be included in a home sale is to consult the purchase agreement or purchase contract.
The Bottom Line: Usually, anything permanently attached to a property is a fixture and will stay with a home when it’s sold. However, there are gray areas, so it’s always important to ask the seller or consult the purchase agreement as drawn up by your realtor if you’re unsure of something.