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Chattel and Fixture Clause

How to Write a Chattel and Fixture Clause

A contract clause that can cause much grief is the chattel and fixture clause. Here is how to make things smooth before you run into problems when for sale by owner.

As with many problems concerning a for sale by owner real estate contract, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to "fix" many problems, is to remove the issue before the clause is even written.

An Example of What the Clause Might Look Like

The wording of a Chattel and Fixture Clause may be quite different from the following but this will give you a good idea: The text in green would be the actual clauses and the black text is an explanation.

(a) All fixtures and equipment attached to the property are to remain and shall be included in the purchase price.

Refer to 3 (c) for leased equipment.

This part of the clause states that any and all fixtures shall remain and be included in the purchase price negotiated by the buyer and seller. If a fixture that is still attached to the property but is to be not included, that should be stated clearly in the agreement. The following could be an example that could be added to the Chattel and Fixture Clause:

The front brass door knocker attached to the property as viewed by the purchaser which includes the seller's name, is not included in the purchase price. The seller shall replace the door knocker with a door knocker of the purchaser's choice and install said door knocker before the closing date in a workmanlike manner. The price of the replacement knocker shall not be more than $20.00 including any taxes. Any cost over the $20.00 shall be paid by the purchaser at the time of closing. 

The above clause states very clearly that the door knocker will be removed, it will be replaced, the purchaser can choose a replacement, the seller will install it correctly and the seller is the one who has the responsibility to pay for the object up to $20.00 whereas the purchaser pays anything above that cost.

(b) The following chattels, as viewed on (date) ____________ are to remain with the property and shall be included in the purchase price and are in good working order free and clear of encumbrances at the time of closing. The buyer acknowledges that there is no express or implied warranties by the seller on the chattels included in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale.





The above clause concerning chattels may include such things as a fridge, stove, washer, dryer, drapery and curtains, a work table (that is free standing) etc. I would also include any items that may cause disagreements at closing. More on that later. The part concerning no warranties by the seller is put there to protect you the seller after the closing, should a problem come up at a later date with one or more of the chattels.

(c) The parties agree to the following disposition of any leased or rented equipment or fixtures located on the property, including but not limited to the hot water tanks or furnace heating systems (Describe if equipment leases are assumed, paid out or equipment removed)





When including rental or leased equipment, include as many details as possible. This might include a monthly lease or rental fee, the term of the agreement, the name of the company that is leasing the equipment etc.

When including rental or leased equipment, include as many details as possible. This might include a monthly lease or rental fee, the term of the agreement, the name of the company that is leasing the equipment etc.

For more information about different contract clauses, select any one of the photo links below.

The main issues that arise with the Chattel and Fixture Clause is simply a misunderstanding between the parties involved.

The first lesson is to never assume that the other party "knows" or "should know" that a certain item is not included in the purchase price.

Let's take it step by step on how to eliminate the Chattel and Fixture Clause problem, in most cases.

chattel and fixture clause

Step #1 -
Chattel and Fixture Clause

The first thing to do before you even place your property up for sale is to remove or replace, any items that you want to keep when you sell your house.


Problem: A special dining room chandelier that has been in the family for 3 generations.

Solution: Remove the item and wrap up carefully. Replace with a suitable fixture.

Issue: A front door knocker with your name engraved.

Solution: Replace the door knocker before you place the property on the market for sale.

Item: Central vacuum canister.

Solution: Take canister and tools to a friend or relative's place. Why? Because if you leave it attached, you are going to say good-bye to that central vacuum canister 9 times out of 10. Been there done that.

Item: Special corner knick knack shelf that your son made as a birthday gift when he was 12.

Solution: Detach, store, patch any holes and repaint area. Make sure you feather in the paint so it doesn't look like two different paint colors. If wallpaper this might be a bit more difficult.

Step #2 - Chattel and Fixture Clause

Make a list of any items that you will be taking with you that you don't want to remove, before the closing date. You then want to put these items on your feature sheets and contract clauses as exclusions.

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Fixture: A special rose bush that was a gift from a dear friend.

Solution: Put on the feature sheet that item is not included. Make sure this item is also written on your for sale by owner purchase and sales contract.

Fixture: A big screen television wall mounting bracket.

Solution: Put the item on feature sheet as an exclusion. Make a note on feature sheet and purchase and sales contract that the item will be removed and the wall will be repaired in a workmanlike manner before closing.

Step #3 -
Chattel and Fixture Clause

Walk through your house and outside house with pen and notepad.

Make a list of all items that may come into question, whether they are included or not included, in the purchase price.

You don't have to go "silly" on this list. Just look for gray areas. You don't have to write down the lawnmower or the furnace! The lawnmower is a chattel and the furnace is a fixture.

If you want a refresher or a peek at the difference between a fixture and a chattel, you can go to Chattel or Fixture?

Once you have your list, you may want another family member or a friend to do another look.

Some of the most common items that cause problems from my own experience, are as follows:

  • Range hoods.

  • Central vacuums and attachments.

  • Curtain and drapery hardware.

  • Window coverings.

  • Fireplace screens and utensils.

  • Pool accessories

  • Corner knick knack shelves or bar glass cabinets etc. These are items that are in many cases personal, yet they are attached to the wall as a fixture. Legally they are part of the property and belong to the buyer. Avoid the problem and remove before they become an issue later. OK?

  • Shelving units in a garage or a tool shed. If attached to the wall, they are fixtures. If free standing they are a chattel. Avoid confusion, state whether they are included or not included with the purchase. Use on feature sheets and the Chattel and Fixture Clause.

  • Mailbox

  • Door knockers or a name plate attached to the house. Remove and/or remove and replace before selling.

  • "Special" plants, shrubs, bushes and trees.

Don't be a Grinch!

A final word on for sale by owner contract clauses concerning chattels and fixtures. PLEASE, don't be a Grinch. Once you have replaced any items that you will be taking with you, don't try to change anything else before closing.

"I would never do that Doug!" Well of course, YOU wouldn't. ;-) But others have. The pre-closing inspection day arrives and as the buyer is doing the final walk-through, they tilt their head to one side and that strange look comes over their face.

Before I continue, make sure you have some for sale by owner real estate contract forms on hand at all times. In my opinion these are the very best place to acquire this paper work.

"I don't remember that light fixture". "The one I remember was much nicer!" Duh! Back to the drawing board and the big messy "he said, she said".

This "changing of the guard" also includes extras such as appliances. As a Realtor, I always wrote down the serial numbers of any appliances included in the purchase price on the purchase and sales contract.

This information was included right in the Chattel and Fixture Clause. You as a seller, or when you purchase your next home, would be wise to do the same thing.

If you have the serial numbers, there is a very short time span before the actual items you purchased are returned. Without the serial numbers inserted in the contract clauses, there could be some heated discussions.

Believe it or not, I have actually run across people that actually lie! Isn't that something!? :)

For More Information about Satisfying Clauses

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