Real Property and Personal Property

Every residential real estate transaction has real and personal property. It is also possible for real property to become private property and personal property to be real.

Real property is the land and also any improvements built upon it. In most cases it is also anything that would be considered immovable or affixed to the land; this may occur naturally or by man. Here are some examples of what is commonly referred to and considered to be real property: land, houses, trees, streams, wells, window treatments, and light fixtures, to name a few.

Private property is just another thing that is not considered real. For example, plants can be considered good or original, but the ones in the pot are private property. All items in the home that are not considered fixtures are also private and most often not included in the resale purchase agreement. In fact, there are always exceptions to the rules and anything can be negotiated. Several times the negotiations will include some personal items to keep at home at the time of closing escrow, such as furniture.

I advise home owners who are considering listing their home for sale that fixtures such as their prized chandelier hanging over their dinner table will be transferred in the sale, if not otherwise noted in the listing agreement or residential purchase agreement. Everything is negotiable, it is vital to become educated or hire an agent that is well versed in all aspects of residential real estate transactions. A fixture is also something that it is customized to the property in such a way that removing it would be removing a part of the real property.

It is important to note that though the law is very strict about what is personal and real, anything is negotiable. The most important thing a seller and his or her listing agent can do is when in doubt, exclude items for transfer in the applicable real estate contracts. As long as it has been agreed upon by both parties before the close of escrow, there is nothing to worry about.

This is a real estate area that is not always clearly defined to buyers and sellers and can add unnecessary strain between buyers and sellers and add pressure to agents and other third parties involved. It is always advantageous to show examples of real and personal property to buyers and sellers early in the relationship.