Everything but the kitchen sink

Having an inventory drawn up is a good idea for seller and buyer

Having an inventory drawn up is a good idea for seller and buyer - Credit: Archant

When you sell your home how do you decide what to leave behind – and what can you expect to be in place when you open your new front door? Su Snaith of estate agency Harrison Murray gives a guide to the minefield of fixtures and fittings

There’s no doubt that the issue of fixtures and fittings can be a very contentious one, particularly so since there is no law that outlines what should be left in or removed from a house once it has been sold.

Legally, the seller isn’t obliged to leave any fixtures or fittings – and some have been known to unscrew all the light bulbs and even dig up plants from the garden prior to their departure. While this may not be illegal, it could cause upset to the buyers if they were unaware that this was going to happen.

It is really a case of common sense. We advise sellers to draw up an inventory stating what is included in the price of the home and what they intend to take. Ideally, this should be done early on in the sale process. Without an inventory, it is assumed that fixtures will be left but fittings removed unless previously included in the agent’s details.

Conflict between seller and buyer can be avoided by creating an inventory that states exactly what is included in the sale price and what will be removed.

Tips to keep both the seller and buyer happy

Think about which fixtures and fittings you actually need. There is no point in arguing to keep a particular curtain rail if you are just going to get rid of it later on.

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Ensure you have everything in writing and agreed. Be friendly. The other parties are much more likely to accommodate your wishes if they like you!

The general rule of thumb is that a fixture is understood to be any item that is permanently fixed to the structure of the building and a fitting is an item that is free standing or hung by a nail or a hook.

A guide to fixtures

Light fittings

Central heating boilers and radiators

Kitchen units

Bathroom suites



Built-in wardrobes and cupboards

And fittings


Curtains and curtain rails

Free standing ovens, fridges and washing machines


Beds, sofas and other free-standing items of furniture

Television aerials and satellite dishes

Paintings or mirrors that are hung or screwed (not bolted) to a wall

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