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Tony Wilson & Christine Marquis

Chattels vs. Fixtures

April 14, 2010

In a typical real estate transaction the fixtures of the home stay with the home and chattels (personal property) can be removed by the Seller.  Having said this, how do you know what is considered a fixture?  Think of it this way…if I was to take your home, turn it upside down and give it a shake, anything that stays attached is a fixture.  Anything that falls to the ground is a chattel or your personal property and can be removed.


Now, let’s look at some common areas of contention regarding chattels and fixtures.

What about the central vacuum system?  The pipes are definitely fixtures but the vacuum unit itself can be easily removed from its mounting; therefore a chattel and the hose, well that’s a chattel too.

What about window coverings?  Typically the rods, blinds and shutters would be considered fixtures because of the degree of attachment, but the draperies themselves are chattels.

Mirrors are interesting.  Some are attached to the wall (fixture) while others are simply hung from a nail (chattel).


Fixtures that will not be left with the home on closing day must be specifically excluded in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  Things like that antique dining room chandelier, those custom curtain rods etc. that the homeowner wants to take to his new house.


Chattels must be itemized if they are to be included.


A clearly itemized list of chattels to be included and fixtures to be excluded will eliminate any confusion and potentially, avoid a lawsuit.


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